Mystery Diner took a big step today - dining (technically) inside of a restaurant. I think the second time in a year.
That step was taken at La Marimba, on Washington Street (Route 34) in downtown Oswego. A long and anticipated time coming, La Marimba is next to the railroad tracks by Main Street and has plenty of parking. A bright white building with an equally bright – and colorful - mural welcomes guests inside to natural wood accents and an open space.
My guest and I were invited to seat ourselves, so we chose a barstool-style table on the expansive back patio. We were greeted and welcomed warmly with complimentary chips and salsa while we chose our meal.
We started with an appetizer of beef taquitos, topped with queso fresco, salsa verde and sour cream. A crispy and crunchy shell covers juicy and flavorful beef, with a slight yet present kick of heat, with plenty of tasty cream and salsa on top. With about eight or so taquitos, it was a perfect appetizer for two people, but honestly I could have eaten them all myself and been perfectly fine.
Along with our meals, we ordered a margarita clasica and a mojito, both exquisitely crafted, well-balanced and delicious. I’m going to remember that mojito for a while.
We both found our meals equally delicious, continuing what was totally a trend.
My guest ordered the arrachera tacos: skirt steak tacos with cilantro, onions, and serrano salsa verde. He described them later as “wonderful.” He said that he could have easily eaten more than the three on the plate. He praised the quality of the meat, calling it full of flavor with well-balanced heat.
I turned a different way and ordered the pulpo a la parilla, which if I translated correctly through Google, means grilled octopus. Served on a bed of fried potatoes, onions and peppers, this was a rich and flavorful meal with a sear that enhanced the octopus and topped with a sauce that I want to bottle and use every day.
While it may have been a bit much for a lunch, I don’t regret it at all.
I’ve often said that Oswego is playing catch-up when it comes to independent, nonfranchise eating. But I think that phase officially has come to an end. Between new restaurants 113 Main, La Marimba and what’s coming in the future, I think Oswego is moving forward in a great way – only made better by a local spot such as La Marimba.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.
If You Go:
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Address: 65 W. Washington St., Oswego