Restaurants & Bars

Durham

Toast Paninoteca (Durham)

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Toast Paninoteca (Durham)

unlidded | Feb 12, 2008 06:38 PM

Hi folks. I read here frequently, but have never posted before. I just had nice dinner at the new Italian sandwich place in downtown Durham and don't see any other posts about it here so I thought I'd break my silence and repost a review I've written up for my website.

So, I went to Toast with 3 friends at about 6:30 tonight (it's only open till 7) and it was about 3/4ths full on an ugly rainy night. The prices are quite reasonable $5-6 for the sandwiches and another $2 for soup or a salad. I'm really hoping that the prices stay where they are since it fills a void for dinner in the area. For me, Piedmont has a monopoly on nice $20+ dinners, and Rue Cler, the Mexican places and the Federal can fill the $10-$20 range nicely, but there were really no good, relatively quick meals for less than 10 bucks in downtown Durham until Toast came along.

So, I guess I'm burying the lede a bit, but as my previous gushing indicates, the food was very good. I had a panini with italian sausage, rapini, roasted garlic and asiago, along with a bowl of chick pea, sausage and fennel soup. The panini was great, hot and crisp on the outside with nice melty cheese in the middle. I was a little skeptical about rapini in a sandwich, but it worked perfectly adding a little crunch, and the garlic added flavor but didn't overwhelm the rest of the ingredients at all. The soup was clearly freshly made and quite tasty. We also split a bruschetta ($5), which consisted of a single large piece of thinly sliced, very crispy bread topped with shrimp, greens and a wonderfully sweet vinegar reduction. Quite different from the standard Italian restaurant appetizer, but easily one of the best bruschettas I've every had. Not only did I like everything I tasted, there were also 4 or 5 other things on the relatively small menu that looked good enough to go back for.

The service was good too. The cashier/server was very friendly, and relatively prompt even though they were busy and she was the only person other than the chef in the building. (Hopefully they have a third staff member at lunch). The only snafu was that they forgot to put cheese on my friend's sandwich. He somehow didn't notice until he'd eaten about half of it, but once he went up and told the server, she had a fresh, very cheesy, sandwich in front of him within minutes.

So, I'm pretty happy with Toast. My only real complaint is that they close at 7 which is a tad earlier than we usually eat, but hopefully that will change if they keep doing well at night. The food is good and very reasonably priced. The service was friendly, and best of all, it's a block from my apartment. It's perfect for an quick, informal, inexpensive, tasty dinner. If they expand the hours a bit and keep the prices low, I will most definitely keep going back.

I'm dorky and love to rate stuff, so I officially give Toast an 8.5 out of 10 (whatever that means).

Here's thier website: http://toast-fivepoints.com/

I tried to create a "place" as well, but it doesn't seem to want to attach ...

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