PLāYT Serves Black History Month Dinners

Special dishes include braised oxtails, smoke ham hocks, and succotash.


Image courtesy of PLāYT

PLāYT restaurant in downtown Hayward will honor Black History Month by serving special dinner items throughout February.

The restaurant's owner, Michael LeBlanc, formerly owned Oakland's late lamented Picán restaurant.

PLāYT's executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams, also formerly of Picán fame, feels influenced by Cajun, Creole, and Gullah cuisines, among others.

For his February specials, “I wanted to produce dishes that are a reflection of black history, so my menu consists of items prepared with traditional techniques from both the southern and northern United States, and also reflects influences carried over from Africa and native lands," said Brooklyn-born Williams, who has also cooked at Oakland's popular Chopbar.

From Feb. 3 through 9, he will serve braised oxtails over crispy fried rice with tomato-okra-corn succotash. 

"My grandma was from Lumberton, North Carolina, and this was one of the tasty dishes that both she and my grand-uncle would prepare," Williams said.

From Feb. 10 through 17, he will offer curried chicken slowly braised with ground peanuts and dried herbs and spices over southern-style yellow rice — a dish which Williams calls “a fusion of African and Low Country flavors.”

From Feb. 18 through 24, excluding Valentine’s Day, he will serve Louisiana-inspired smoked ham hocks with Cajun red beans and rice.

From Feb. 25 through 28, he will serve beef and pork-belly meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes, braised mustard greens, and molasses barbecue sauce.

Also during Black History Month, Wine Down Wednesdays at PLāYT will feature a different black-owned winery each week — including Alameda-based Wachira Wines on Feb. 13 and woman-owned P. Harrell Wines on Feb. 20.

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