Toast is another one of Pittsburgh’s new American spots with a rotating seasonal menu. I had read mostly positive reviews, so I decided to go ahead and call for a reservation. Let me just mention that whoever was taking calls on Tuesday the 5th was a pro, probably the friendliest host I’ve ever spoken with.
The professionalism from the call carried over to the service; our waiter was friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable about the entire menu.
Now that I’m done singing service praises. Let’s get on to the food:
The complimentary bread basket was actually a highlight of the meal for me - A house made rosemary focaccia. The inner bread was dense and slightly sweet from a honey infused butter. Beyond the rosemary, the crust offered a savory counter via a liberal sprinkling of sea-salt. I only wish it had been served a bit warmer.
|One Woman Farms Arugula: house-smoked salmon & orange vinaigrette|
I realize I ordered an arugula salad, but I would have liked to see a variety of lettuces. The orange-vinnaigrette tasted a bit generic to me, and I could have used some sort of addition for texture. The generous serving of salmon was about the only redeeming part of this salad to me.
|Fall Greens: squash, tomato, pine nuts, red pepper vinaigrette|
My date (read mother’s) selection was much better. The blend of lettuces was more what I would have preferred. The pine nuts and unmentioned bacon added a nice smoky flavor, and great texture. The red pepper vinaigrette was more sweet than acidic but helped to cut some of the bitterness from the greens. I was a bit disappointed not to find any of the squash that was mentioned on the menu
|Carolina Sole: basmati rice, bok choy, ginger-hoisin glaze|
This was my mother’s entree. The sole was perfectly cooked, buttery and flaky. It could have stood on it’s own, but the ginger-hoisin glaze really elevated the dish. I would have preferred a short grain rice as opposed to basmati, but the accompaniments were fine.
|Wild Game Duo: elk, kangaroo, black-eyed peas & red wine jus|
For my own entree I could not pass up elk, and kangaroo. I apologize for the dark/shadowy photos, it was quite a rainy night and the restaurants lighting isn’t the best for photography.
The elk medallions were ordered medium rare, and came as such. There didn’t seem to be much seasoning of the meat. The same could be said for the rather boring black-eyed peas, and I didn’t get much flavor from the red-wine jus.
The Kangaroo was the winner between the two selections. Again cooked a perfect medium rare. I really enjoyed the gamy flavor of the meat and the crust from the outer searing. The accompanying sauteed spinach was buttery and slightly sweet; I preferred it to the black eyed peas .
Overall I wasn’t too enthused by our meal at Toast. I like the diversity of the menu, and everything we ordered was at least acceptable, but I wasn’t wowed by any of the dishes.