Thursday, February 16, 2012

The TOAST of Davidson is TOAST for dinner

So okay, I have written about Toast before.  Breakfast is one thing... Dinner deserves a separate post.  Now it's confession time - I have eaten dinner here 3 times.  I will incorporate a little from each, but mostly last night's visit.

So why wait you ask?  Fine, I will tell you, but briefly.  Visit 1 was en route to an event with my daughter and some friends.  I was so caught up in the company and conversation, I did not pay close attention.  The second time, there were a couple small hiccups.  Again, with company and conversation.  This visit was fully intended to share the experience with y'all. 

What really pleases me is that even in a high rent district like downtown Davidson, Toast offers a 3 course Prix Fixe menu at dinner (as well as a full menu).  Dinner is only served Weds- Sat.  Don't show up on the wrong night and blame me.  They have a diverse wine and beer menu as well, so this is not a lame attempt to tap a new market - they put on a complete experience in a cozy space that screams "date night". 

So my personal addiction is the Tilapia Provencal.  It's a great portion of fish on a bed of Parmesan risotto, topped with a warm tomato confit.  This tomato concoction is large chunks of roma tomatoes, with kalamata olives, red onion, capers with just enough liquid to be married together and not become a sauce.  It really makes the dish. 

Their Pot Roast is the mega meal deal.  It's a fantastic portion of "falling apart" beef, topping thick slices of carrots and some ridiculous mashed potatoes.  The portion has to weigh in over 2 pounds.  No lie.  You getting hungry yet?

The Chicken Marsala rivals mine.  Two nice breast portions sauteed with mushrooms in a marsala wine sauce, served atop mashed potatoes with green beans on the side.  My wife had a nice lunch today too.  Portions are not an issue.

Two other mains that I have had or tasted are the Salmon Carbonara and the Chicken Pot Pie.  Of all of them, the Salmon was my least favorite.  Don't get me wrong - it was fine.  I prefer one nice portion of salmon in any dish.  To make it carbonara-style, it was in smaller bites within the sauce.  The creamy base overtakes the character of the fish.  The pot pie was a surprise.  A crock chock full of meat and veg, with a big puff pastry top.  I have never seen or tasted one with this much prep work involved.  It's the best pot pie I have had hands down.

Now back to the prix fixe stuff.  Each comes with a salad or soup (love the wedge), your main (see above) and a dessert.  Those choice as of today are pumpkin cheesecake, a blondie a la mode, a great banana pudding, or a chocolate delight (in the brownie family).

Just to make sure I don't miss anything... Servers were on point and very friendly; we were seated promptly; the manager that night (Patrick) checked on us a couple times and had a ton of personality.  Ask him about delis!  The setting is as eclectic as Davidson and it is a perfect fit across from the green.

It's your turn

Toast Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cosmos on Rea Rd sets the standard

We have had multiple trips to the Cosmos in uptown that were always a joy.  With the extensive time we spend in the Ballantyne/Blakeney areas, it was about time to try this newer location.  It's snuggled in a small plaza with Cafe Really (see recent post) and a deli/meat market.  Parking is not a great issue, since it's the only real draw at night.
One thing I strongly recommend with any restaurant that has a bar - SIT AT THE BAR!  The bartenders are more personable, have much more time in close proximity to care for your needs, and in many cases have the most experience as servers.

This visit rung true to that.  We had a great server (bartender) and his knowledge of the sushi menu made a couple of great recommendations.  Caleigh's Comet roll was advised and boy did it deliver.  It has a nice heat for someone that wants a little bite.  It would be too much for the timid.  I was thrilled with the taste and heat.

Their entree salads are very large and a little quirky.  From Caesar, to garden, then off to Strawberry Fields (forever).  Sorry, had to drop a Beatles reference.  Before my time - but I did see the Bee Gees movie "Sargeant Pepper's".  There is a Greek and a Flank steak.  Here is the kicker.  The flank steak comes with fries on the salad.  Okay, not the healthiest option, but if you ever feel like salad leaves you a little hungry, this one does not.

There are plenty of specials, both food and drink.  Check their website and make a stop.  This is a recommend for sure.

P.S. - They do brunch :)

Cosmos Café Ballantyne on Urbanspoon