Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where is the TOAST in NYC?

It's the dead of winter. Large, luscious green salads full of farm fresh produce and organic ingredients are far from the mind. Well, I am here to remind you that we are only a few months away from warm days and the resurfacing of salad cravings. Which means, there is limited time to solve NYC's salad crisis.

I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend in sunny LA. And yes, while blue skies almost always prevail in southern California, even locals noted that 80 degrees was unseasonably warm and lucky for a January day. The weather sent us straight to Toast - the brunch haven with ample outdoor seating for the young and trendy. No matter the day of the week or the time of day, the menu stays the same - offering soups, salads, sandwiches, eggs, and more. Despite the endless choices (and the name), I looked around and noticed the large bowls of salad dominating most tables - and eventually ours. The setting and the attitude exemplify the laid back nature of the west coast. And, brings me to my exact question and problem. Why are there not more places in NYC like Toast? Ok - it's true. New Yorkers are definitely not as relaxed as Californians, but we still love our brunch - the idea of prolonging and enjoying a midday meal. While Saturday and Sunday brunch menus at our favorite restaurants do present us with many options, these are mostly for breakfast items. I have yet to find a sit down spot that offers a large selection of entree salads. At Toast, not only are there over 12 options for meal sized salads, but you can also order them in half sizes too. No matter the size of your appetite, there is a salad for you here. Just imagine having to choose between the Chicken Chow (a bed of lettuce topped with grilled vegetables, grilled chicken breast, crumbled feta cheese, fresh avocado, tomato and cucumber served with house vinaigrette), the Garden (mixed greens, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, pine nuts topped with strips of grilled garden burger and house vinaigrette), or even the Cobb (a mix of lettuce, oven roasted turkey, avocado, cherry tomatoes, turkey bacon, and crumbled bleu cheese is served with a creamy vinaigrette). And this is just a small sampling of the options!

True - salads are not hard t
o come by in New York. The City is overflowing with salad joints like Chop't, Tossed, and Just Salad. You can mix and match from nearly any ingredient imaginable, but only while waiting in line and then taking it away. I want a restaurant where I can sit down and not have to craft my own salad. A restaurant where I actually have options and am forced to think about which salad to order - and one that will pass for an entire meal. Does this exist in NYC? If it does, I am definitely not in the know and would love to be enlightened! As I sat down to think more and more about this apparent salad crisis in NYC, I started thinking about my favorite salads in the city. Westville's Greek salad. The Smith's grilled steak salad. Ocean Grill's seafood cobb. Hundred Acres' herbed chicken breast salad. Yet, these are all stand alone dishes on menus full of more traditional brunch and lunch fare.

Time is ticking as spring approaches. So, I have two propositions. 1) For those of you who have always wanted
to open up a salad-centric, sit-down restaurant - serving breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner - now is the time. NYC will be in demand in only a matter of months (and I am already in need). And, 2) for those of you who are laughing at me and already know of a restaurant of this caliber thriving in NYC, please share your secret. All I ask is that the salad crisis be put to rest!

Toast Bakery Cafe
8211 West Third St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
FOOD RATING (out of 5):


ECR said...

Hungry Roach - I agree! I love the Chicken Chimayo Salad at Cowgirl, but that is only one of very few salads on the menu! I can't think of anywhere in NYC where there is a big variety of fresh, delicious salads. I would love suggestions from anyone who knows of such a place!

Erik said...

Please tell me you also paid a visit to Joan's on Third!

Alison said...

I am totally with you. For a place with the most amazing food in the world, we just can't seem to master a salad. I like the grilled chicken salad at Moustache. But there is no place that has giant California type salads. We even have mastered it in St. Louis but not here!

Justine Roach said...

GREAT ENTRY! Toast is one of my favorite spots in LA. The salads are SUPERB. did you get to have anything for dessert? A cupcake perhaps? they make some of the most delish/fresh/delectable ones in town.

And Erik (a few comments above mine) is talking about another yummy LA restaurant, Joan's on Third, which is down the street from Toast.

Next time you visit we will most def go there. i am a big fan of their unique cheese selection and bakery.

Love you and well done. your blog is FAB!

Arushnyc said...

How about Grey Dog? I know that they don't make their living on fresh salads but its always good. Thoughts?

Ashley said...

there's always cosi!! And westville:) yum!

ROACH, Great taste in food and friends said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm a huge fan of Grey Dog's - but only their sandwiches and soups - and it's an order then sit down joint. Same deal with Cosi. Westville might be our best bet!

Anonymous said...

You find us a location and maybe we can open one in Nyc. Thanks for the writeup. Im glad you like our Cafe. Ill make sure your parents never wait for a table.

Gm Toast Bakery Cafe

ROACH, Great taste in food and friends said...


There are so many vacancies in NYC right now - it is the perfect time to do it!! There is a space on Hudson between Bank St. and West 11th St - it has Toast's name written all over it!!