Delia’s was great, but it had drawbacks. Seats were few and crowded; the staff could maneuver between tables only by turning sideways and holding the coffee carafe overhead.
Toast’s owners, Regan and Tom Bloom and Matt Kauer, have done wonders with the space; there are more seats and yet it feels much roomier. They’ve added live flowers, a spiffy striped counter and red barstools, and they’ve mounted a display of antique chrome toasters on one red wall.
Their food is marvelous, plus beautiful to look at. Weekday egg-fests include some pretty fancy fixin’s along with more regular fare, and it gets more lavish on the weekend. Former Delia’s clients are legion among the youngish crowd.
Consider the wild mushroom omelet, made with portobellos, criminis and shiitakes, fresh thyme, Parmesan and ricotta, available anytime. The French omelet includes artichoke hearts, smoked ham and a lot more. The Greek uses spinach, feta and pine nuts, and pine nuts make anything good.
I ate half a breakfast burrito in the morning and warmed up the other half later in the day. Tom Bloom would claim the green chili sauce makes it wonderful ("we fly it in from New Mexico and pick it up at the airport"), but the garden-tasting tomatoes, the succulent sausage and the perfect, barely crisp tortilla had something to do with it too.
French toast with Grand Marnier, another daily offering, was not as successful, somewhat dry and cool. But on the weekend, French toast Bananas Foster, eggs Florentine and corned beef hash were all top of the line. The hash uses garlic, half-and-half, redskin potatoes and herbs. It was less salty and richer than the norm, and comes with wedges of cantaloupe.
The French toast layers challah with bananas and adds rum and vanilla, topped with a raspberry-blueberry sauce. Large and luscious. Eggs Florentine is a variation of eggs Benedict with roasted red peppers and fresh baby spinach leaves. It is beautiful — red, green, gold — almost Christmasy.
If you prefer a less high-falutin’ breakfast, you can find eggs-meat-toast in many standard variations, like the workingman’s breakfast with three eggs and pancakes. And Toast has chosen not to serve fancy coffees, just regular joe for $1.25.
A false note: we told an owner that our hot chocolate tasted like water, and he gave us an explanation but nothing off the bill.
Weekend wait times are a problem, too, although, since the place is brand-new, we can hope it’s one that will soon be fixed. On opening Sunday the host took our names at 11:42 and estimated a 20-minute wait. We were seated at 12:20 and started eating at five till one.
I didn’t try the sandwiches, but I’m confident that they’re excellent. Turkey for the Gobbler, with sage stuffing and cranberry sauce, is roasted in the store daily. Ham and brie; roasted chicken quesadilla with smoked Gouda; and steak quesadilla with roasted tomatillos, feta and fresh spinach are some of the tonier offerings.
Smoking is allowed. Open 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends.
Jane Slaughter dines for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].