Restaurant Review: Toast


Toast. Digital image. Toastnyc. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Sara Tobias, Executive Editor

I have been going to Toast with my family my entire life. In elementary school, it was a weekly occasion; in middle school bi-weekly, but by the time I got to high school, it had become a faded tradition. A restaurant review was a perfect opportunity to revisit a childhood favorite.

Toast is located on West 105th street and Broadway, a block full of other dining opportunities. It is squashed between a quick stop health food grill and an upscale Italian restaurant, both attractive options for Upper West Siders. What makes Toast different than these three for diners is its split personality. Walk up the ramp to the door and you will immediately see a few steps that lead to a bar area. TVs with sports games are plastered on the wall and loud music is playing. Walk past the bar and you come upon a completely new type of atmosphere. Families sit on fake leather chairs around metal diner tables pushed together to accommodate all their children. This part of the restaurant is completely blocked off from the bar with a wood planked wall that displays the extensive wine selection. The layout of Toast makes it appealing for all kinds of people and families looking for a casual dinner or drink.

Hung on the walls are black and white photos of celebrities. Right in front of my table was Leonardo DiCaprio raising his glass to me, while to my left was George Clooney sitting in a restaurant and smiling into the distance. It seemed as if the managers of Toast wanted their diners to believe that these people had actually eaten at their restaurant (and maybe even sat at the table you are sitting at), when it was obvious from the photos that we were not sitting in the same restaurant.  

Toast’s menu has changed by a wide margin since I was there in 3rd grade. The letters in “Toast” used to be made by different types of food: broccoli as the “T,” a tomato as the “O,” a block of cheese as the “A,” a leafy green as the “S,” and a piece of toast at the final “T.” Now, however, “Toast” is spelled out in red block letters with a glass of wine as the “A.” Just looking at the name on the front of the menu gave me a clue that it had changed. My next clue came when I opened the menu and was greeted by three different types of duck. I decided to skip the duck and go for my old favorite of macaroni and cheese with some french fries on the side.

The mac’n’cheese came as I remembered it: with cheese running over the sides of the deep white bowl. It was, however, a bit cold so the cheese on top had solidified making it unappealing to dig in. If there had to be one word to describe the dish, it would be “meh.” You can’t really go wrong with mac’n’cheese, but the wrongest you can get is serving it cold. I was equally dissatisfied by the fries. The ratio of outer crisp to inner potato was far too high on the side of inner potato rendering the fry dry and unpleasant. The service was quick in terms of getting me my food, however, the  waiter did not come around until the very end of the meal to refill my water glass and was unaware for long time that I had finished my meal and was ready for the check.

Overall, I was not satisfied with my dining experience at Toast. The restaurant layout makes it an appealing dining option for everyone, but they will be quickly disappointed after they order. Maybe I was disappointed because, after years of going there as a child, I was expecting what I had experienced at  that time. As a sixteen year old, a chilly bowl of mac’n’cheese just didn’t cut it, but as a seven year old that same bowl was exactly what I needed. Toast is a great place for a family with young children looking for an easy dining option. The staff is very well versed when it comes to dealing a screaming baby, or spilled cup of juice. However, if you are looking for a place where the focus is more on the food and less on the atmosphere, I might suggest the Italian restaurant right across the street.