Michael LeBlanc’s Playt opened quietly in 2017 in the former downtown digs once housing Bijou. And while it took some time to get the staff and facility up to speed, the restaurant is clearly now a Southern standout, especially judging by the crowds on weekends.
They followed executive chef Jerome “Spike” Williams, who came over from Pican, and brought most of his Cajun, Creole and Gullah specialties with him. You may even recognize a few members of the crew. We visited on a recent Saturday night to see if the food measures up to Pican standards.
VIBE: Loud, party vibe. Think birthday celebrations, spirited conversations and overall nightlife energy. It fits, as this is a lively corner of Main Street, with High Scores arcade and Brews & Brats across the street. In terms of decor, the dining room and bar are elegant, with banquettes and a granite-topped bar, although the combination of white shabby-chic cabinets, sparkling chandeliers and multi-colored wall lights seems disjointed.
FOOD: Pican’s popular main dishes are the stars. Skip the salads and go straight for the Shrimp & Grits ($20) with brown-butter Worcestershire gravy and Brussels sprouts, and the Southern Fried Chicken ($19), which is crisp and juicy in all the right places and comes with braised collard greens and smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese. (Sadly, there’s no longer a honey drizzle option on the chicken.)
Craving something smaller? The Braised Short Rib Sliders ($14), served on toasty brioche buns, are perfect. They feature a kicky Cajun ranch, Creole mustard and house slaw in addition to a generous spring greens side salad.
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PERFECT FOR … a celebration or dinner with your rowdy group of friends.
DON’T MISS: The sensational Spike’s Peach Cobbler ($10). Yes, it’s the same recipe.
DETAILS: Open from 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday at 1036 B Street in Hayward; http://playtonb.com
Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle