For ages, I’ve been meaning to check out Little Leaf Bar. It’s close to home, and I’ve heard rave reviews of their Kimchi Fries – something I’d never tried anything like before, but looked amazing in photos. You might be wondering how Kimchi Fries fit into a bar or tea shop – but, now I know firsthand, and I’m going to have to ask that you trust that it really does work and make a plan to visit soon.
Little Leaf Bar was located next door to Little Leaf Tea on the northwest corner of Palm & Bullard up until this fall, when Kuppa Joy took over the space Little Leaf Tea had occupied, and Little Leaf Teas were shifted into the Bar. When you walk in, you’ll see the tea counter in front of you, to the left, a full bar in front of you to the right, and tables and chairs throughout. The space is large enough to easily accommodate several groups and couples, but small enough to feel like a cozy and friendly local hangout.
My husband and I visited on a Saturday night, and were greeted by the friendly server/bartender. She gave us drink menus, dinner menus and let us choose our table. There were a number of other customers inside, most at the bar, and a few at tables, and everyone seemed like they were very familiar with the server and the owner — it gave me the impression that almost everyone in the room was a frequent visitor of the place — always a good sign.
Though we didn’t order any teas, there were several cocktails on the menu that incorporated teas into their recipes, including my husband’s favorite drink of the visit the Cold Jim Buster, which consisted of Orange Ginger Mint, Lemon Balm & Licorice Tea mixed with Jim Beam Honey and served over ice. I enjoyed my drink as well, the Mango Passion, which was made with Mango Passion Tea, Malibu Rum, and X-Rated Fusion Liquor – an ultra-premium vodka infused with blood oranges, mango, and passion fruit.
The food menu is an unexpected mix of Asian-fusion, California-style Italian, and New American/Steakhouse cuisines. Starters include arancini, popcorn chicken, edamame, Takoyaki (a Japanese dumpling made with Octopus) and fried tofu. The fries have their own section on the menu, and you can choose from the famous Kimchi Fries, which are topped with kimchi, gochujang, and sriracha aioli, or garlic, truffle, or regular fries. There are also a number of dinner salads on the menu, including a Caprese, Steak, and popular Thai Chicken salad.
The main courses vary as much as the starters, with options that range from the house specialty ramen burger (with pan-fried, crisped ramen as a bun) served with sesame fries, butter grilled shrimp, garlic pepper pasta, New York steak, and my husband’s favorite – the Bulgogi Burrito, made with tender, marinated beef.
Sometimes, when you come across a menu this varied, it can be a red (or maybe orange) flag that says “why so many choices, why not do one cuisine well?” but based on the food we had, and all that was being served and enjoyed around us – the food quality and execution of the different styles of dishes were completely on point – every single bite we had was delicious.
So, if you’re in Northwest Fresno and looking to enjoy a drink, a meal, or tea – now you’ve got a highly recommended place to visit where you can enjoy one, or all three!
Little Leaf Tea & Bar is open Saturdays from 11am to 9pm, Sundays from 11am to 4:30pm, and weekdays from 9am-9pm.
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