Let's all admit it. Downtown Allentown is dead. Seriously, when was the last time you were down there except to pay your parking ticket at the court house? It's not like the mauve prison is a tourist attraction. The most exciting event in recent times was the building demolition last spring. Even then it was only because the chance to "push the button" was auctioned off. I often wondered if the national media attention hinged on a "Wow that's cool," or a "Gee, these people have no life," angle.
Now, after all that, I'm here to tell you I've seen some life. Right on Hamilton Mall (the "downtown" part of Hamilton Street) is a sparkle of an eatery known as the Bay Leaf. I found it to be an interesting offering of "American and Asian Cuisine." The major focus, however, is Thai. The decor pretty much assures you of this as well, except for the immediate pink shock when one first walks through the door.
The servers were friendly and seating was quite comfortable. The food sampled were two of the specials for that afternoon - Pad Thai and a shrimp stir-fry. Both were ample portions, and the pad tai was particularly good. The shrimp stir fry had a varied asssortment of snow peas, lots of shrimp, a few types of mushrooms, bamboo shoots, scallions, and red peppers.
Lunch entries are reasonable at $6-8 each. They're open 11-2 for lunch and 5-10 for dinner, Monday through Friday, and 4-10 for dinner only on Saturday.
Bay Leaf, 935 Hamilton Mall, Allentown, PA, (610) 433-4211
(Accepts Visa, Mastercard and American Express)