Playt, located on the busy B Street of Hayward, was created by the good folks from Oakland's acclaimed Pican and showcases Southern comfort foods with a California twist. They also offer options for those with food sensitivities and ethically-sourced foods to cater to the eco-conscious demographics. The interior was rustic, yet sophisticated, making the environment approachable and cozy. The manager, Trevor, gave the rundown of popular items and the staff were super friendly. As a non-drinker, I appreciated the Southern Mule beverage, which consisted of pineapple, ginger "beer" and lime--super refreshing. The cornbread was moist and included blueberries baked into the bottom. The Cajun-dusted Shrimp was crispy and flavorful by itself, as the breading didn't overpower the freshness of the shrimp and was compliment by creole ranch. The gumbo was a hearty concoction of pork, shrimp, crab and enough spiciness to satisfy. The highlight of the appetizers was the slightly sweet Charleston She-Crab Bisque, with chunks of blue crab, crawfish and lobster essence.
For Southern comfort food, the Catfish is a staple. The healthified version of this classic dish was well-done, with the use of swai catfish (sweet breed from Asian waters) and light cornmeal breading. Although the catfish dish was shy of seasoning, the fish was wonderfully flaky and scrumptious. The grilled Ribeye Steak with the green peppercorn sauce and mashed yams was a delight. One of my favorite dishes was the Braised Beef Short Ribs, which were so tender and flavorful (with the sweet BBQ sauce). The creamy grits was adorned with fried carrot topping and a smoked molasses glaze. The details in the dishes were far from ordinary.
Desserts were served with vanilla iced cream, drizzled with caramel, a super decadent treat. The beignets were super flaky and heavenly. While they were pretty oily, the powdered sugar topping is worth every bite. The Bread Pudding had a slight crunch on the surface, and the Chocolate cake had the perfect balance of cake and gooey fudginess--an amazing end to a truly enjoyable dining experience.
More Info: Welcome to PLāYT