Toasted, 2972 Crockett St, FW. 682-703-5000. 8am-9pm Sun, 7am-9pm Mon-Wed, 7am-10pm Thu-Fri, and 8am-10pm Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Avocado toast blazed to the top of the food-fad pyramid a few years ago from its genesis in a San Francisco cafe, or in Australia, or in the consciously uncoupled mind of Gwyneth Paltrow. (Take your pick.) It quickly mutated into a full-blown artisanal trend, spawning toast-themed eateries in hip urban neighborhoods from Seattle to Brooklyn. Humble at home yet bougey at the cafe, avocado toast has polarized opinions like no breakfast food before.
Is it an icon of healthy eating and diet diversity, shined up with “good fat” and so easily made vegan and gluten-free? Does it represent postmodern you-are-what-you-eat culture, in which every meal is a share-worthy signifier of one’s taste and identity? Perhaps it’s a symbol of the frivolous spending habits of millennials, who choose right-now luxuries like eating out instead of saving for the future. Is avocado toast peak hipster — or is it just brunch?
Judge for yourself at casual-cool Toasted, the newest Dallas transplant to arrive on Fort Worth’s Crockett Row. With a distinct coffee shop vibe and counter service under lofty ceilings, it feels totally trendy. Random music matches the pieced-together decor, from ’90s jams to Bob Marley to three Coldplay songs during a recent weekday lunch. In addition to 10 different types of toast, the menu includes several sandwiches, salads, more than a dozen all-day breakfasts, plus a few entrees and desserts. Drinks go from espresso to cocktails, with fun little extras like housemade syrups, fresh smoothies, and on-tap wine. Naturally friendly staff members warm up the industrial setting with easy smiles — but they delivered my Americano warm, not hot – a cardinal coffee sin.
It would be the only epic transgression of the meal, which began with the basics: avocado toast, a.k.a. Don’t Get Salty. Sheeny, citrus-smashed avo was spread to the edges of the Milano bread, a plain Italian loaf sliced an inch thick and lightly toasted. With generous sea salt and cracked pepper, it was simply delicious (and kind of difficult to mess up). But why stop at avocado toast when there are so many other tempting treats on the menu that you can’t make at home in two minutes?
My guest and I fought over Purple Haze, the decadent daily special. Juicy balsamic grapes, goat cheese, and candied black pepper walnuts waltzed in graceful harmony on a tender slab of toasted brioche. A roasted raspberry-chipotle spread transformed the Talk Turkey to Me sandwich into a revelation –– the spicy fruit sauce hereby wins my nomination to replace cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table. Peppery turkey meat paired with Havarti, arugula, and avocado in the fan-favorite of the day. Sauces also made the Salmon de Morning breakfast dish, which swam under streams of bright orange guajillo and green cilantro sauces. It was almost so flavorful that I didn’t notice the fish was overcooked.
With fresh Mexican flavors on top of white-boy toast, Nacho Mama! hit high under a mountain of black beans, avocado, salsa verde, and queso fresco. But it was impossible not to wish for some tortillas or chips to scoop up the goodness after the bread sogged down. It seems like a variety of soups would be a smart menu match for the toast/sandwich/salad place, but the kitchen offered only a single soup du jour. The poblano butternut squash soup sounded enticing but arrived gooey, with too many floppy tortilla strips and too little flavor.
By the time we ordered the Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese, a.k.a. the grilled cheese sandwich, the menu’s cutesy names were getting old. The sandwich itself renewed my faith in humanity, its golden-brown crust dripping with a crispy skirt of gouda, cheddar, and Swiss cheeses. Every other piece of toast seemed a little underdone for my personal preference. I will ask for extra toaster time on my next visit.
The brownie and bread pudding desserts (both served with ice cream) elicited shrugs of ambivalence all around: not bad, but nothing memorable. I wished that I had tried a couple more of the sweet toasts instead, like the Toast Ma Goats or the Ricotta Be Kidding. Then again, I would have had to say “Toast Ma Goats” and “Ricotta Be Kidding,” so really it all worked out for the best.
Don’t Get Salty $6.25
Nacho Mama! $11
Salmon de Morning $12
Talk Turkey to Me $11.50