While eggs and bacon take center stage, toast is generally relegated to a supporting role at the breakfast table. So when my daughter and I heard that Dan Reisenberger - better known locally as "Dan the Baker" - had opened an eatery dedicated to toast, we were curious to check it out.
The first thing to note about Toast Bar is its small, obscure location. Tucked away on a back street in a commerce park in Grandview Heights, the bakery occupies a tiny storefront with just a handful of tables.
The menu features an assortment of artisan breads, along with croissants, cookies and scones and a few soups and small sandwiches. Reisenberger bakes all of the breads on-site and makes the majority of the spreads from scratch using local, organic ingredients.
My daughter and I both ordered the toast flight ($5.50), a sampling of three breads and spreads of your choice: I chose the Danish rye, country sour and pecan raisin breads, with the Ohio strawberry preserves, lemon curd and Cloverton cream cheese, and maple cream spreads. I was wowed by the maple cream spread, which was an ideal match for the slightly sweet pecan raisin bread. The lemon curd spread was also impressive with its mild cream cheese that balanced the intensity of the citrus flavor.
We shared a ham and cheese croissant ($5) and a bacon smørrebrød ($6), a small open-faced sandwich with smoked bacon, blue cheese and apple slices on Danish rye. The croissant was an instant favorite and was quickly devoured. The bacon sandwich delivered an appetizing blend of smoky and tart flavors - though it may have been a little too exotic for my daughter, who opted to eat only the bacon off her half.
For a beverage, I had the Masala chai ($4.75), a house blend with a superb complement of spice and creamy sweetness. A note to parents: Although the menu offers many tempting coffee, espresso and tea options, beverage choices for kids are limited to hot chocolate and milk (not listed on the menu but available upon request). A selection of juices would be a welcome addition to the menu, particularly for summer when hot chocolate may be less appealing.
When we first arrived, I was surprised because it was extremely small. But I liked the bright walls and cheerful décor on the shelves. Also, I liked the smell from the kitchen and the yummy samples.
At first, I had no idea what to order. Everything sounded so good! I ordered a toast flight and a hot chocolate ($4.75). My mom and I shared a croissant and a bacon sandwich.
When the hot chocolate first arrived, I didn't like it because it was cold and not very sweet and had too much puffy froth on top. After we asked to have it reheated I liked it because it was hot and the marshmallow had melted to make it sweeter. I drank it all and found a star at the bottom of the cup when I was finished.
For the toast flight, I ordered the country sour, sunflower flax and pecan raisin breads with the Ohio raspberry preserves, chocolate hazelnut spread and butter. I thought the country sour bread was good. It had just the right amount of sour and sweetness. The other breads were too sweet. I liked all the spreads, but chocolate hazelnut was my favorite. It tasted like Nutella, but better!
The ham and cheese croissant was delicious! I liked it because croissants are one of my favorite kinds of bread. The bacon sandwich was just OK. It had an interesting mix of apple, cheese and bacon. I mostly ate the bacon.
I thought Toast Bar was a really gourmet place. If you are the kind of kid who only likes typical breakfast foods like cereal or eggs, you probably wouldn't like it. But if you like trying different kinds of foods, especially breads, you should go there.