Bay Leaf Authentic Indian Cuisine is exactly that — authentic.
From having its spices shipped directly from India to adhering to food traditions in both North and South India, this restaurant, at 5160 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd., has been billed as one of the finest Indian restaurants in Baton Rouge, but its devotees believe the cuisine could hold its own against Indian food anywhere.
Bay Leaf not only is known for its outstanding Indian cuisine but also for its excellent staff service. The restaurant prepares everything fresh using the best quality ingredients and the freshest vegetables.
But these are only a few secrets behind the success of Bay Leaf’s fine food and service. Frank Presad and his son Sam Presad own the establishment. Sam Presad took some time out to share a few more fun facts about Indian food and the eatery’s way of serving up.
How different or similar is the food Bay Leaf serves in Baton Rouge to food you would serve if you were in India?
As the name, Bay Leaf Authentic Indian Cuisine, says, we keep our food as authentic as possible. We even get our spices shipped all the way from India, so we can keep the taste very similar.
Your menu at Bay Leaf is extensive and varied. What are the local favorites?
Some of our local favorites are butter chicken (grilled, cubed chicken in tomato-based sauce), saag paneer (creamy spinach with homemade cottage cheese) and, of course, our lamb chops straight out of the tandoor (a clay oven).
The menu has northern and southern Indian dishes. What is the primary difference in the cuisine between those regions?
There is a big difference in north and south Indian food. The difference mainly comes in the spices that are used, also. North Indians prefer to eat their entrees with naan/roti (bread), whereas south Indians prefer rice with their curries/entrees.
Is there a philosophy of food when it comes to Indian cuisine? (perhaps in blending of flavors, spices, textures, etc.)
Yes, the timing of the ingredients is very crucial in preparing Indian food as we use lots of different spices like cardamom, cumin, cloves, turmeric, ginger, etc. If you change the order/timing of the ingredients, that can change the taste of the entire dish.
How has the pandemic changed the way you manage your restaurant or interact with guests?
The pandemic brought in challenges that most of us were not prepared for. We at Bay Leaf follow the guidelines and protocols for social distancing while keeping our service and quality of the food the top priority.
What advice would you give those who think they don’t like Indian food? Any particular dish you would recommend to Indian-food newbies?
A lot of people who are not familiar with Indian food think the food is very spicy, but actually not all of the food is spicy. At Bay Leaf, all of your appetizers, entrees and reads are made from scratch after you place the order, we can also adjust the spicy level based on the customer’s taste. We can make it as mild or as spicy as possible.
What is your personal favorite dish?
That’s a tough question. I love and I enjoy eating biryani at Bay Leaf, along with lamb chops. Biryani is a rice dish similar to jambalaya. It’s made from top-quality basmati rice imported from India. Biryani is a south Indian delicacy. It can be prepared with vegetables or the protein of your choice — chicken, lamb or shrimp.