|Sadly, this restaurant is now closed. The site is now occupied by a BBQ joint (review of that one will follow)
3116 Alum Rock Ave (Just N. of White Road beside Pete's Bakery)
The site of a prior Thai family cafe, Bay's Bistro offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a mid-upscale mediterranean decore. Cloth tableclothes (but under acrylic covers), cloth napkins. "Broken" Grecian pillars and Romanesque ruins.
Menu includes some great breakfast items. Lunch consists mostly of a nice selection of various sandwich and burger offerings with a good choice of salads. Dinner really branchs out into wider variety.
The breakfast selections are numerous with some unique offerings (such as the Bay's Special; scrambled eggs mixed with spinache, sausage, ground beef, mushrooms and more, topped with two kinds of cheese (all nice and melty), and served on seasoned crisp potato skins). Build-your-own omlets are available, and some good specialty egg dishes. Somewhat unusual - they offer fresh fruit on the side when you choose "fruity" pancakes and waffles. Pouring the berries over your grilled goodies feels a little odd, and the flavor is definitely different than you get with it baked in. But the berries are field fresh, not canned, which adds greately to the experience.
Lunch steps back a bit with their burgers; though these are made-fresh on order, 1/2 pound angus beef beauties, the selection of burger, cheese burger, mushroom burger, etc., is pretty standard. Their sandwiches are somewhat more creative, offering a "real" Monty Cristo (Turkey, ham, and swiss cheese dipped in egg batter and fried) that you don't see too often, and some nice other selections. A series of low-cal salads rounds out that portion.
They have a "happy hour" that's really 3 hours (2-5, Mon-Fri) with 20% off appetizers, and drink specials.
Dinner steps things up again, with a much more eclectic and varied menu. Seafood (including calmari steak instead of the normal breaded rings, which they also offer), veal, beef (with a nice choice of steaks), grilled pork chops, poultry, and pasta.
A full service bar is also available.
Boojum, shadowcat-x, and I have stopped there multiple times, mostly for brunch/breakfast, and had wonderful meals each time.
On my last visit, I was going to try their escargot, but they ran out. The chef came to our table and appologized for the lack, and offered to make me a special appetizer (not on the menu) instead, consiting of crab stuffed mushroom tops in a garlic/butter and wine base, drizzled with a bit of hollendaise sauce. I said "yes", and was very glad I did!
The mushroom were tender, the garlic/butter/wine rich and flavorful. The hollendaise added a lovely lemony note and the crab was fresh and sweet and prominent enough to cut through the other flavors to let you know it was in there. They really ought to add that to their menu selections in the future.
Personal touches like that are increasingly rare in today's restaurant environments. It's wonderful to find a place that keeps their customers in mind and offers such individual attention!
Service is fast and friendly! Prices modest (about $10 average a plate for breakfast and lunch).
The only down-side is the lack of parking. They have only about 3-4 spaces to themselves in front on Alum Rock, and they share the small strip of spaces with multiple other stores, so getting a spot in front is pretty chancy. There's not a whole lot more space in the rear either, as that modest sized lot is shared between about 10 establishements ringing it in a horseshoe on 3 sides.
This wuff has been lucky enough to find parking each time in the lot behind, but sometimes it was the last space. Entering through the rear door feels a little strange, as you walk in past the kitchen, storage, and such "industrial, 'back of the house'" things most diners don't get to see. But since a lot of their clients seem to come in that way, the staff doesn't bat an eye to folks arriving through the 'servants entrance'. They greet you with the same cheery "hello" as their front-door folks, and make you immediately at home.
Definitely worth a visit. And though they do offer a nod to desserts, wuff must do Bay's a disservice and recommend an alternative to finishing your meal with a sweet there. You see, right next door is Pete's Bakery. And they've been a local 'establishment' with offerings popping fresh out of their ovens thoughout the day. If you have even a hint of a sweet tooth, you MUST stop in here and drool for a few moments while you look over their selections. Only your diet will regret it! (And yes, we've gone back through Bay's Bistro on the way to our car, carrying several of Pete's cake boxes, with only knowing grins from the Bay's staff in response.)
Last edited on Fri Apr 25th, 2014 06:38 pm by Vargr
We grow not old, so long as we continue to chase our dreams.