REVIEW: K38 Baja Grill – Wilmington
K38 Baja Grill is Tex-Mex restaurant that has been serving Wilmington baja-fresh style food since 1993. I went to the original K 38 Baja Grill located Oleander Drive. I was down there for an engagement party and a bunch of people going to the party met up there beforehand. This gave me the opportunity to get a better feel for the menu because most people at the table ordered something different.
The name K38 comes from a kilometer marker in north of Ensenada, Mexico near one of the most famous surf breaks in Baja Mexico. The owners, who’s motto is “Live. Eat. Surf.”, used to go down to kilometer marker 38 and found a taco shack that served some of the freshest baja fish tacos they had ever had. They decided to bring back the same style and atmosphere that they foun Along with K-38 which has two locations in Wilmington (Oleander Dr & Market St), the Live.Eat.Surf. squad also has two other restaurants, Tower 7 and Cafe del Mar, in Wrightsville Beach.
K38 Baja Grill’s original location does its best to look like somewhat like the taco shack that they used to frequent down in Mexico. There is a Mexican flag out front, a rusty tin roof awning over the front porch and a string of tacky lights illuminating the front. It is a pretty cool spot and not too close but not too far from all the beach traffic which is perfect if you want to get out of all the hubbub that is on Wrightsville Beach during the summer.
A few people in our group ordered the Santa Fe tuna roll which is char-grilled yellow fin tuna, black bean puree, roasted red pepper, spinach, Monterey Jack and a ginger-wasabi sauce rolled into a flour tortilla. It came with a dipping sauce that was some sort of soy sauce concoction. We joked at the table that it was Mexican sushi but it pretty much is. The presentation was beautiful (as you can see) and the rolls are something that you can order as an appetizer for the table or as a meal for one person. They have a couple different version of the rolls like chicken, fish, shrimp, steak or scallops. Sorry vegetarians…no tofu options on the rolls.
Two people ordered the taco salad which is actually called a bowl on the menu. They both went with the traditional which is leaf lettuce, black beans, mixed cheese, salsa fresca, guacomole, sour cream, green onions, & house picante with the choice of steak, chicken or ground beef. I didn’t try this one but both people said it was great. The ingredients all looked extremely fresh and the chicken looked fantastic. The bowls range from $8.95 (vegetarian) to $12.50 (carne asada) which seems like a great deal because of the amount of food that you get in the bowl.
I ordered a baja fish taco which is a Dos Equis beer battered cod filet with Roma tomato, mixed cheeses, shaved red cabbage and yogurt sauce in a flour tortilla. The cod filet was massive and, that, plus the ingredients might have warranted a large tortilla to hold everything. The yogurt sauce was zesty adding to the taste of the whole taco plus it gave the taco a little more depth and kept it from tasting dry. I wasn’t blown away by this taco but I was impressed at the quality of the cod and how well it was fried. The black beans were a little bland and I might go with the Mexican rice next time.
I was impressed with the quality of the whole meal plus the service was fantastic. We had about 18 people at three different tables and we all got our food pretty close to one another. I look forward to giving the Live.Eat.Surf. crews’ other restaurants a try the next time that I visit my friend, Adam, who lives a short bike ride from Tower 7. If you are down in Wilmington, check out K38 Baja Grill at either of their locations. I don’t think you will be disappointed and everything that I hear says that it is the best Tex-Mex or baja place in town.