Sunday, August 30, 2009
Went with a couple of people tonight to Toast on W. Main St. in downtown Durham (b/w Brightleaf and the Stadium - http://www.toast-fivepoint
I discovered this place on my interview day here as it was not open during my undergrad days. They basically serve sandwiches - both closed and open-faced - with super fresh, local ingredients partnering with local farms and fisheries. Panini ($6), tramezzini (cold panini - $6), bruschetta ($6), and crostini ($2). This is a great dinner value or an amazing lunch spot if you have time between classes.
They also have some starters as well as specials of the day, which generally includes two soups and tonight, a yellowtail crudo with marconi peppers and a lemon vinaigrette which I gladly ordered. A crostini special topped with sweet sungolds (local yellow tomatoes) and balsamic vinegar was a nice sweet intro to counter the crudo. I also ordered a bruschetta with NC shrimp, pancetta, and radicchio - good quality shrimp, pancetta was essentially ignored in the preparation, and radicchio was a bit bitter but that's what I get for ordering radicchio.
An olive plate starter was served warm which was curious, but not terribly offensive. The rest of the crew enjoyed their dishes, including main menu staples of a spicy tuna, olivada, fennel, and lemon panini, as well as a really light and summery bruschetta topped with roasted beets, ricotta salata, orange, and mint.
They also have a nice assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages - two wines per night at good value available by the glass, quartino, or bottle, and a bunch of bottled brew of all regions, varietals, and quality available. We enjoyed a bottle of crisp Italian white outside in the pleasant Carolina evening, but the downside is that they're only open until 8 pm so keep that in mind if planning to go (though we sat outside well past then).
There was a group of second years that showed up as well, so it seems this place could be a Fuqua favorite - it certainly is a newfound gem and great addition to the upcoming bustling downtown Durham scene in my opinion. The owners were exceedingly gracious, exhibiting Southern hospitality to a tee, which included a recommendation to hit up Pin Hook - a bar near the restaurant Revolution with some live indie bands - and Dos Perros, a new refined Mexican joint with a very reputable chef that's been open just two weeks. The advice was to sit at the bar for drinks and some small plates, and I think that may be next on my agenda! It is right next to where the Eno Market and Restaurant from Springboard will open - at the intersection of Magnum and Roxboro.