A bite of cinnamon crumb cake and fresh local coffee await as I take a stool at the bar, conveniently located at the end of the kitchen so every bit of action is open to critique. This taste of heaven is provided to everyone as a charming welcome and taste of things to come. Smiles reaching cheek to cheek surround me. As a brunch only restaurant, TOAST is open 8a-2p 7 days a week. This short span allows them to focus on the quality and presentation of every meal they prepare. The menu is full of multiple items just waiting to make your mouth water. While it may prove difficult, eventually you must settle on a single dish and cross your fingers it’s everything you hope it is.
Today, I order the special: Pan seared scallops served over butternut squash risotto with dressed arugula and a sunny egg. It’s bold, flavorful, and full of color. The risotto is cooked perfectly and the butternut squash lends a distinct but mild flavor with a texture which pairs well. The arugula is light and fresh, giving contrast. The egg tastes as it came from a golden chicken – I’m sure with all sorts of naturalistic pedigrees. TOAST does pride itself on fresh, local, natural ingredients. And the scallops? Wow, the scallops. Lightly seared providing that hint of rough texture as you bite. The dish comes together well, and is accompanied by the cook himself bringing it to your table and reaffirming your experience at the end. Impressive.
TOAST prides itself as “a neighborhood restaurant” and while it maintains a quaint and friendly atmosphere, it’s deserving of a look from those folks city-wide looking for an experience. Opening around 2007 it’s developed regulars who’re quick to engage in conversation and engage the staff by name as they leave. It’s been rated as restaurant of the week by many publications including the Oregonian and maintains a rating of over 90% on UrbanSpoon. Those accomplishments alone should speak for something. This brunch spot is delicious in the end and part of an amazing contribution to the neighborhood which is up and coming.