I stopped into Toast for a few late-night appetizers on Wednesday. The space is quaint; small, warm and inviting. The walls were delicious-red, and the lighting was dim. Small tables were positioned on the right hand side of the restaurant. There was a bar on the left, mostly filled, with patrons enjoying cocktails and large plates of food.
We were immediately seated at 10:30pm- the restaurant was half-full with customers. Our waitress appeared and plopped down paper menus. She didn’t really take time to go over the food, or any other specials, but did let us know that there are three different size options for wines- a great idea if you only want to wet your palate, or try more than one variety.
As we considered our menu options, a small basket of cold bread and whipped butter found its way to our table. I’m not sure what type of bread it was- perhaps an herbed focaccia? It was good, but would have been much better served warm. The butter was overwhelmingly salty, probably not the best accompaniment for an already salty Italian bread.
We chose two tasters- Seared Sea Scallops with Mango Mint Salsa and Tomatillo ($10.00) and Shrimp and Grits served with Brown Sugar, Byrd’s Mill Grits, Habanero and Cheddar ($9.00).
The sea scallops were deliciously sweet, and perfectly cooked. The mango mint salsa was a great addition, and brought out the flavor of the mollusk. Although it wasn’t the prettiest thing to look at, the dish was flavorful and well-executed.
Grits and shrimp were next. I dove into the grits first- they were creamy, spicy, and filled with tasty cheese. This portion of the dish was luscious and creamy- some of the best grits I have ever had. The shrimp were over-cooked and stringy.
We finished the evening with a crème brulee. The warm custard was rich with flavorful, unfortunately, the top was burnt.
Our server was distracted/disinterested. One more than one occasion, we had to ask for utensils or napkins. She rarely (if ever) made her way to our table to check on us- maybe she was having a bad night.
I really want to like Toast- I’ve heard so many good things. Perhaps we will go for dinner and try out some entrees.
Chef Chuck Kerber