Saturday Date Night: February 5, 2011 @ 6PM
Bay Leaf is a modest family-owned Soul Food Restaurant in East Oakland.
Bay Leaf's Soul Food is grandma's own recipes from Mississipi. Passed down to her daughter who went to Oakland High and now does the cooking, Bay Leaf was born. Bay Leaf is also a family -run business. And we got this trivia from our very friendly young server who is the granddaughter of granny from Mississipi.
Bay Leaf looked like a social hall. However, it was very neat and clean. The decor was tasteful. The huge brick fireplace added cozyness to the place. The open kitchen is very visible as soon as you walk-in. African-American artwork adorn the walls. R&B was jamming on the background. The setting is complete for down-home food that feeds that soul.
At Bay Leaf, I had the yummiest SWEET TEA. For $2, it was unlimited refill. I wished my bladder was bigger than the size of a lima bean because I could imbibe 5 gallons of this nectar in one seating. Enrique who had his share of sweet teas in the South during his travels cited that the Sweet Tea at Bay Leaf tasted exactly what he had in Alabama, Georgia, etc. So he abandoned his Diet Coke and ordered his own Sweet Tea.
SOUP AND APPETIZER:
*CRAWFISH BISQUE $5: With nice chunks of crawfish floating around, this soup was full of flavors but not salty. It was creamy and delicious served over grits.
*FRIED OKRA $3: I love fried okra but the ones I had in the past were tough and dry that they could chip a tooth. The ones at Bay Leaf were nicely battered, crispy, not dry and the okra was still very moist.
MAINS: (All mains come with a choice of two sides and cornbread.)
*FRIED CHICKEN WITH MACARONI AND POTATO SALAD $15: This was Enrique's order. For someone who does not like fried stuff and has a love-hate relationship with fried chicken, he ordered it, loved it and raved about it. He said that the chicken was nicely battered crisp, not greasy and still very moisty.
*SHRIMP AND CHEESY GRITS WITH YAMS AND COLLARD GREENS $15: 4 big, plump, fresh and deliciously seasoned shrimps over cheesy silky grits. Need I say more? Except "More, please!!!!!!"
Collard greens were flavored with pork(?), delicious and not yummy. And the yams made me go "WOW!" It was sweet and nice. I think it was flavored with honey.
*CORNBREAD $0: Buttery and moist that I saved my little cornbread and ate it later that night as dessert.
*ICE BOX PIE $5: Lemony, sweet, smooth, tangy piece of pie heaven! This completed our divinely satisfying comforting meal.
The Bay Area is teeming with countless places to eat that Enrique and I go to different new ones each week. However, Bay Leaf will be included among our favorite go-to places. The prices and portions are right. The service was genuinely friendly, efficient and unpretentious. The place was low-key and down-to-earth.
Whenever I eat at a Soul Food place, I always ask myself this question, " Did the food fill my tummy and comfort my soul?"
My answer is a resounding, "HECK, YEAH!" Mamas can cook!
TAB: $61.03 including 2 Sweet Teas, 1 Diet Coke, tax and 20% tip.
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: 5.5 Stars
*I just cannot stop dreaming about the food at Bay Leaf even just hours after our dinner!!!
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)