Sunday, December 8, 2013

Restaurant Review: Back A Yard Caribbean Grill

Back A Yard Caribbean Grill - dinner on December 2, 2013, 4.5-star rating on yelp based on 1182 reviews
I was meeting one of my closest friends from business school for dinner and, as always, I like to look up restaurants on yelp to find something locally owned, small business, highly rated, with good food and in a good location for us to meet at since we were coming from different directions and trying to meet somewhere in the middle.
I had never heard of Back a Yard Caribbean Grill before but it met all my criteria, including having an astonishing 1182 ratings that averaged to 4.5 stars. I label it astonishing because it's the most unassuming, modest restaurant I've been to in awhile and is in an unlikely location set in a mostly residential neighborhood but on a frontage road right near the freeway. It's not like they had a ton of signage either or ample parking but fortunately I was somewhat prepared by reading the yelp reviews on how to find it or else I might've missed it.
Caribbean Cobb Salad
Back a Yard is perfect if you want good food at fairly cheap prices and don't mind a modest place to eat it.  It also appeared quite popular for takeout.  When my friend and I got there at 6:30 on a Monday night, it was fairly empty which was just as well because it was also pretty small and there weren't that many tables.  I'm not sure if it could have seated more than 16-20 people at the same time, i.e. I wouldn't come here with a large party. But for the two of us, it was fine and before we left, nearly every table (there were only a handful of them) was taken. While we were there, I think more people came in and ordered takeout than actually sat down to eat there.  Either way, they did a pretty brisk business for a Monday night.  There was never a line but there was a decent stream of people coming in at regular intervals.

My friend Karen got the Caribbean Cobb Salad with jerk chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, cheese, tomatoes, avocado and Ranch dressing for $8.75.  We each placed our orders with the very nice guy behind the counter, seated ourselves and he brought our food out shortly from the kitchen. No complaints about the service.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Since it was a Caribbean place, I went with the jerk chicken.  It came with fried plantains, rice and beans and tossed salad for $9.50.  The portions were quite generous and the food was great.  The chicken was very tasty and not too spicy for my bland taste buds, although that may have been because I deliberately didn't use the sauce that came with it.  But the spice rub in the jerk chicken was perfect enough and I didn't feel the need for any more flavor.

All in all, Back a Yard was a nice little find and another place I can recommend for anyone in the area and/or looking for Caribbean food.  I don't know how authentic it is compared to food in the Caribbean itself but it tasted pretty good to me. And for less than $10 in the Bay Area? Priceless.

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