Friday, May 17 2013 09:44 AM

PETE TITTL: Getting to Coseree's Restaurant hard; staying there easy

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Coseree's Restaurant & Catering is a welcome addition to the businesses near Harris Road and west of Gosford Road in southwest Bakersfield

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Coseree Hill, left, owner of Coseree's Restaurant & Catering, and her daughter, Cheryl Ozoral, who is the manager.

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  3. 3 of 6

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    The chipotle chicken omelet at Coseree's Restaurant & Catering is one of the reasons to make the drive to this spot on Swigert Court.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    The chicken panini at Coseree's Restaurant & Catering.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    The Southwestern salad at Coseree's Restaurant & Catering.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Bacon wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus at Coseree's Restaurant & Catering.

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By PETE TITTL, Contributing columnist

Some new restaurants open with all sorts of hype: spotlights scanning the skies outside, long lines, full parking lots, media attention.

Coseree's Restaurant & Catering is not one of those places.

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8700 Swigert Court


Hours: Breakfast 6:30 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Lunch 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Prices: Breakfast, $2 to $8.25; salads, $4.95 to $10.95; soup, $5; paninis and wraps, $6.95 to $7.95; hot and cold sandwiches, $7 to $9.95; crepes, $7 to $8; burgers and nachos, $6 to $9.50.

Payment: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover and ATM cards accepted. Personal checks not accepted.

Dress: Casual

Amenities: Wheelchair accessible; no alcohol served; some vegetarian options.

Food: ***1/2

Atmosphere: ***1/2

Service: ***

Value: ***1/2

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In fact, one of the most valuable points I can share with today's review is how to get to this humble but worthwhile breakfast and lunch spot. Most everyone knows where Sam's Club is on Gosford south of White Lane. As you're driving south on Gosford toward Buffalo Wild Wings, turn right on Harris Road (headed west). Turn right again on Young (going north) and you'll see the Cintas Uniform building on your right. Just across the street (on Swigert Court) is Coseree's, located in a non-descript office complex with an unobtrusive, tasteful sign with small lettering that you just may miss.

It's worth the effort. Coseree's looks to be largely a catering operation, based on my snooping into the kitchen, where two men in kitchen whites were laboring over more food than the four customers in the dining room required that morning. If I had to compare the food to more familiar, established local operations, I'd bring up the Sequoia Sandwich Company or the Riverwalk Cafe, both of which use quality ingredients in captivating combinations to build customer loyalty. I expect that, over time, the same will happen here.

You do need to be aware of the short hours this place has right now, practically the old definition of "banker's hours." When we visited in early May, the hours of operation were from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weekdays only. This place is practically begging for a leisurely Saturday morning meal, and that may come with time.

The restaurant may be small, but the menu, posted on the wall behind the counter, is extensive: nine breakfast platters, five paninis, four crepes and oatmeals, eight wraps and five omelets.

I selected the chipotle chicken omelet ($7.50) while my companion chose the farmers panini ($7). Both were solid choices. I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a chicken omelet, but this one was thick with melted cheddar cheese on top and though it was red with pepper sauce, it was not too spicy. On the side were perfectly cooked new potato chunks fried with the most minutely diced onion, green and yellow peppers. I had considered the fiesta omelet (jalapenos, mushrooms, green onions and Black Forest ham), but I'll get that or the ultimate bacon wrap next time.

My companion's panini was supposed to be made with onions, sliced avocado, apple wood-smoked bacon, spinach, roasted tomatoes and pepper jack cheese on sourdough bread. I used the words "supposed to" because the tomato was pale, sliced and had not been near an oven in its lifetime. Roasted vegetables are one of the hottest trends in food right now, because the process (either open fire or oven-roasted) adds so much flavor. So I was anticipating how great that panini would be and was disappointed by the tomatoes. Maybe they'll fix that glitch next time. One hopeful note: This is a legit panini, with deep, crispy grooves from the press. So many panini cooks are far too polite. Let it have it, I say, and they did!

The restaurant's interior is easy on the eyes, with huge, glazed tiles on the floor, two flat-screen TVs that let you watch the news but without drowning out conversation and an earthy color scheme that is upscale all the way. The coffee was OK, but there was no fresh cream or half and half available to flavor it, just the junky chemical powder "creamer." With aseptic packaging, you needn't worry about the real thing spoiling if you don't have Starbucks-level traffic.

The lunch menu (available after 10 a.m.) has many other temptations, including nine salads, more paninis and wraps, three Angus beef burgers, soups, nachos and hot and cold sandwiches. The most tempting to me are the roasted pork loin on potato bun ($7.95), the three-cheese panini ($7, with smoked Gouda and a sundried tomato pesto dressing) and a blackened salmon salad ($10.95, made with Romaine lettuce and a creamy green onion dressing). You can tell a real effort has been made to make alluring vegetarian options available in all categories.

Coseree's Restaurant & Catering can be recommended for a fine dining experience. It's worth the work to seek it out.

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