Raleigh, N.C. — Welcome to the OC - no, not Orange County. OC is actually a clever play on the OC Bar and Grill's location in the Oberlin Court area near Cameron Village in Raleigh.
Location: Next to Massage Envy and just a few shops down from Gigi's Cupcakes and Zoe's Kitchen. The only issue here is parking. There aren't too many spaces in that shopping/residential area, but there is a parking deck. They have a great patio overlooking Oberlin Road.
Restaurant: They have a great sports bar setup with TVs everywhere! So, just about anywhere you sit you can view a game. Their bar is also extensive and contains coffee machines. The restaurant stays open Thursday through Saturday nights until 4 a.m., so look for it to turn into more of a club in the later hours.
Menu: They boast fresh items made from scratch and they smoke their own meats including barbecue pork and turkey. Their cocktails are also handcrafted from fresh squeezed juices. They offer the typical bar fare with a twist like the OC Grilled Cheese, which contains a mix of Habanero Pepperjack and Colby cheeses. Also on the menu, wings, sandwiches, wraps and entrees.
Kathy: I went to the OC about a month ago to scope things out. I brought along a few family members to try out the various menu items and we were a little disappointed. The server immediately started telling us about the menu items that he/she had gotten complaints about, urging us not to order them. The server had no idea of my job. We ended up getting the barbecued nachos with turkey and found them to be very dry and with not enough cheese. The barbecue sauce was on the side and the entree was basically chips, lettuce and tomatoes. My Buffalo chicken wrap was really spicy and it had just mild sauce. The fried green beans were way too salty and the homemade chips were rocks. The food also took a long time to come out. On the upside, the coffee was outstanding! I got an iced mocha made with Larry's Beans coffee and Videri chocolate. So good.
I didn't have high hopes when the Out and About crew headed there last week, but I was impressed by their improvements. We got the Loaded Tater Tots (an item the previous server told me people didn't like). They were crisp on the outside with a great burst of cheese and bacon on the inside. We also loved the homemade balsamic ketchup that came with it. The tots took a long time so the manager came to the table and comped them.
I got the OC Grilled Cheese, which was more like the OC toasted lightly cheese. The manager was once again great, offering to grill the cheese just a little more for me and even bringing me a fresh plate of warm homemade chips, which were cooked perfectly this time. I liked the sandwich, especially the avocado and mustard on it. I was also pleasantly surprised by the fried green beans Caitlin got. They were not too salty at all!
Overall, their service is amazing. The manager and servers really focused on making our meal the best it could be. It took a while to get our food both times I was there, but I was really impressed by their improvements this most recent time and would definitely head their again.
Jodi: I had the avocado burger with, in a nod to healthy eating, a side of sautéed green beans. The green beans were delicious, but the butter and garlic overwhelmed any virtue the vegetable might have provided. The lunch portions were smaller than you’d get at most places which, since I am working on portion control, is a good thing. I appreciated that the kitchen respected my medium-rare request. The burger was moist, pink and tasty.
The OC seems like a very “atmosphere” place, going for a young gathering, happy hour vibe. They have an excellent location (if you can find a place to park) and a big area for outdoor dining.
Caitlin: My overall impression of The OC Bar & Grill was "not bad." I'd go here again, if I was in the neighborhood, and probably have another good meal. The tater tots were yummy and crispy on the outside, with a gooey mix of cheesy potato on the inside.
I ordered the BLT sandwich - something simple you can make in your own kitchen that The OC put their own spin on to elevate this classic sandwich to the next level. Crispy bourbon bacon, avocado and a fried green tomato on toasted bread topped with chimichurri mayo was really good. Another plus was the sandwich's size. Other restaurants serve sandwiches that you either have to dislocate your jaw to eat or struggle through the experience of sandwich fillings escaping the confines of the bread.
My fried green beans were pretty good as well. Not too salty or greasy, but the breading did seem to have fallen off most of my green beans before I even got around to eating them.
The OC is definitely a place I'd visit again, especially after work, to check out their extensive drink menu (they have a bunch of beers and specialty drinks). While the rest of the menu seems to be standard "bar and grill" fare, based on my lunch, I'd come back to try some more!
Tara: I was so excited when The OC Bar and Grill opened because I absolutely love the location, and when I saw they were building a patio I was even more excited. I really like the layout of the building because there is plenty of room to sit without being on top of other tables and as I said, a great patio. For all the sports lovers, they also have tons of TVs.
For an appetizer we tried the loaded tater tots which were pretty good, but what really kicked them up a notch was the balsamic ketchup. It gave a whole new spin to a traditional bar appetizer.
For my entrée I went with the cheeseburger. I was pleased to see that they had cooked the burger exactly how I asked and overall the burger was not bad. It was a pretty standard burger that was good but nothing to write home about. For my side, I went with the mac and cheese. One of my favorite things about this restaurant is all the sides they have, you can even get their fried green beans as a side. The mac and cheese was good, the only problem was it was very cold when it came out. They bake their mac and cheese and top it with bread crumbles. It was good cold, but would have been much better warm.
The server was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and with my meal coming in around $8 I will be back again to give some of the other menu items a try and bring my dog to hang out on the patio.
Tyler: The OC Grill’s club is a perfectly standard sandwich packed with enough meat to satisfy pretty much anybody. The smoked pulled turkey and bourbon bacon were a great combination of moist and crispy, but it was hard to taste the smoke or bourbon flavor through the rest of the ingredients. The side order of house-cut chips were a perfect accompaniment, crispy but thin enough to taste light – until they’re dunked in ranch.
The bill: Most of the sandwiches came in around $8, which isn't bad for a lunch sandwich.
Service: Like we said, the service is great! Just takes awhile to get the food sometimes.
Verdict: We would like to check out their cocktail menu, spiked coffees and a few more of their food options. We will try this place again in a couple months to see if things have improved.