Although this restaurant is very close to home, hadn't gotten around to trying it until a groupon nudged me along. The restaurant is a little bare-bones looking, especially from the outside. Once inside, though, it feels more minimalist, clean and airy. And about the food- all I can say is wow. I can't believe this place has been in my backyard for the past year or so.
Started with the fried okra- dusted with cornmeal, fried perfectly. No grease, no slime, tender, crisp and juicy, dipped in Crystal hot sauce. Ummm. For entrees we got the crab cakes, which were lovely, not a lot of filler, nicely spiced and "crabby" and the crawfish bisque over grits. This is the dish that will have you throwing all dietary caution to the wind. Utter succulence. Also got a side of collards (made with smoked turkey) that were great- make sure to drink the pot likker. Although we certainly didn't need dessert after that meal, the yelp reviews I read all raved and it was part of our groupon deal so we did our moral duty. Lemon Icebox Pie. Creamy, sweet but not too much so (maybe had some zest in the custard?), amazing cookie crust. Best dessert I have had in a really long time (and I am a big dessert person.)
So do yourself and your belly a favor- Run, don't walk, to this amazing, homestyle southern restaurant-
I promise you will be very glad that you did.
The Bay Leaf Restaurant
2000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602