Toast Cafe of Ballantyne Keeps The Crowds Coming
Restaurant Traffic ventured out to Toast Cafe’s Ballantyne location this Tuesday. We heard about Toast Cafe when they only operated one location in Davidson. They received sterling reviews across the board but we just never found ourselves in the area at the right time to try them out. The market clearly demanded more of Toast and they responded by opening a location in Dilworth and a location in Ballantyne.
Aside from hearing Toast specialized in breakfast, lunch, and brunch fare, we also knew there is a consistent wait to get a table. Drive by any of the locations on the weekend and you’ll find a queue lined up outside the door patiently waiting to get in. Full parking lots and lines out the door are tried and true indicators of quality food so needless to say, I was eager to give Toast a try.
I was torn between the Cali Benny which integrated avocado into the poached eggs breakfast mainstay, and trying one of the Tuesday special aptly named the Crabs Benedict. Toast trains the floor staff to drift from table to table, and the server who dropped by in my moment of indecision reminded me the Cali Benny was always available while the Crabs Benedict was a chance to experiment with a limited feature. Why not go all in and celebrate a peaceful lunch with Lil’ Mama while Mommy’s Little Monster and Princess Perfect were off our hands for a morning.
By mere happenstance, I’ve never ordered poached eggs. Ever. Which is really rather nuts because I not only eat eggs almost every day but I am willing to eat nearly anything. So the notion of a crab cake (which is my second favorite kind of cake next to a high fructose cookie cake from the grocery store) topped with a new kind of egg draped in Hollandaise sauce was too much to resist. I ordered a Bloody Mary just to mitigate risk. The combination of egg yolks and hollandaise sauce seeping into a crab cake might just be the gateway to exploring the umami aspect of food texture. And because Toast goes easy on the salt, spices, and oils, you can get a raw taste for the ingredients before you season your food to your liking. That was cool with me. I dosed my potatoes in Tabasco and crushed everything on my plate but the orange rind. It was a solid meal. I left in need of a walk.
Toast does a good job of sourcing quality ingredients for traditional takes on Southern cuisine and, from what I saw the riffs on breakfast/brunch favorites like Eggs Benedict and quiches were well received. You can easily get away with spending $8 to $16 for a hearty meal. Plus they offer a fully-stocked bar for those in the need of an early spirit or midday cordial. Toast packs in the crowds on the weekends so arrive early or be prepared to wait.
Check out this short video blog we made during our visit: