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MCB-EATS: Review of TOAST Birmingham

TOAST expands into downtown Birmingham!
MOTORCITYBLOG was invited to attend “Press Day” at TOAST ‘s newest location on Pierce Street this past Tuesday afternoon. If you have toured the Ferndale breakfast circuit more than likely you have eaten at TOAST Ferndale on Woodward. With my husband in tow we were ready to try this new breakfast joint. I was gleefully surprised to stumble into the visually stunning, sophisticated yet comfortable atmosphere with a full BAR plus LUNCH and DINNER on the menu.

TOAST stands out among Birmingham’s chain coffee shops and bakeries not just with their hip and inviting décor but also with a menu that you want to get to know better. Toast gives Birmingham a much needed blast of cool. A place to sip coffee, get a bite, grab a drink, meet a friend or neighbor and stay for a while.

The primary dining room is a glowing, functional stunner with red and gold tones to warm you on the coldest of days. Dressed in Orikri paintings that flow with the room but burn with a life of their own –as if the works are windows to other worlds. The second, “Blue room” is a very hep, cool and quieter alternative with chocolate brown sofas, soft chairs and a gorgeous shade of blue walls. There are plenty of interesting design elements to the room if you are into that; if not, it all recedes into a background glow.

Looking closely at the menu nothing is as simple as it seems. It is divided into 4 sections: “eat” which is Toast’s version of appetizers , “good” the salads, “food” the entrée’s, and finally “yum” the desserts.
Let’s start out with the Ahi Tacos, a favorite of mine having spent years in California and Hawaii—and a welcome menu surprise as we in Michigan trudge into winter. I was immediately impressed with the quality and size of the fish exploding out of what seemed to be an authentic corn tortilla. Coolness and crispness provided by jicama slaw and salsa fresco. With an extra kick from the smokedchili-cardamom cream they were warm and satisfying on a blustery November day. Take me back to 80 degree weather even with the high humidity!!
The salads look as titillating as the rest of the menu, full of interesting ingredients with Toast’s own take on the classic. The bistro salad has bacon, candied walnuts, goat cheese on spinach with a roasted pepper-citrus vinaigrette.
Our second course was the Carnitas, pulled pork on top of a savory green onion-cilantro corn waffle. Now that you don’t see everyday. For me this was lacking a certain something but it gets an A plus for inventiveness and MCB sees potential here. I like the idea of savory waffles and pancakes and would love to see them more often.

Third, the absolute MCB winner; the all-flavor encompassing Toast version of an open faced burger-- “The Joint”. Super satisfying; it is a large size Piedmontese patty smothered in basil aioli and tomato jam atop a bed of blue cheese stuffing, a rich bread and cheese mixture to balance out the crispy onions on top served with a little sweet carrot slaw on the side and all of this for only 10 bucks!!
Toast also has a great wine selection--I do not hand out this complement easily, but the Bennett Family Chardonnay I had recommended to me was perfection. As well as great beers on tap like PBR, Stella, Bell’s and Guinness also a nice selection of bottled beer. Also Bloody Mary’s (can’t wait to try!), Bellini’s, Mimosa’s and their own signature martini’s.

They have it all.
If this doesn’t win you over than the Apple Betty will, just deliciousness all served up in one warm bowl of goodness with candied pecans and homemade cinnamon ice cream. This is serious comfort food—so comfortable you want to live in it food. Finally we sampled a few of the fresh sweets from the pastry bar in the foyer as we checked our email using the free wireless internet.

We were excited to hear about the Taco Tuesdays; tacos and Dos Equis for 2 bucks each and DJ spinning latin themed music. Look for the “Good Girl/Bad Girl Night” coming soon from what we heard.

And we will definitely be there this Wednesday night; from 9-2am for TOAST Birmingham’s Grand Opening Bar Night with FREE drinks, FREE menu samples and DJ.
Thanks to Toast proprietors, Thom & Regan Bloom, and thanks to all our friends at TOAST for giving us something to smile about this fall.
-MCB's Karen Farnell

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