Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Spoonful of Sofrito: Mini-review of Toast in Harlem.

A Spoonful of Sofrito: A pinch of advice that will add a lot of flavor to your life.

Mini-review of Toast in Harlem.

Photo on Yelp by Dee. B

Sofrito Lovers,

This weekend I was running some errands in Harlem and decided to have lunch at Toast.  For several years, I've been meaning to dine there, but never had the chance.  I was either in a rush, meeting someone somewhere else, or in the mood for something else.  Finally this weekend, the fates put me in the right mood, right place, and at the right time.  I finally crossed the threshold and entered the wonderful world of Toast!

Usually packed with people, Toast is a medium sized restaurant with a New American menu, a diverse clientele, great service, and a relaxed atmosphere.  I love the homey nature of the decor with its wooden tables, chairs, and small tables that promote close contact.

I started my meal with the Black bean soup with bacon.  The beans were soft, yet firm and the broth was rich and delicious.  The dollop of tangy and refreshing sour cream on top was a stroke of genius.  The two pastry pieces that accompanied the soup added a nice sweetness that balanced the savory flavors of the soup.

My entree, the Chicken Pot Pie, was truly interesting and unique.  It wasn't a traditional pot pie, which is a savory chicken stew within a pastry crust, this was a chicken stew with a large piece of puff pastry draped on top.

At first, I was disappointed because I wanted the usual pot pie look and feel, but the minute I tasted the dish I loved it.  The pieces of grilled chicken were hearty and well seasoned.  The large-cut vegetables were cooked to perfection. I loved how I was able to clearly taste and enjoy the carrots' sweetness and the celery's earthy flavor.  The chunky mushroom slices were perfection!

The puff pastry was airy and slightly sweet.  It was a bit clunky to eat, but was well worth the effort.  I loved how it absorbed the cream sauce and became easier to mix with the chicken and veggies.  Getting the crust mushy and mixing it all together is half the fun of eating a pot pie.

I liked the cream sauce, but it was a bit watered down for my taste. I prefer my pot pie cream sauces to be creamier and richer.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to order the Blueberry Bread pudding for my dessert!  I loved how balanced the flavors were in this dessert.    The blueberries were sweet, but not overpowering.  Their natural earthy sweetness complemented the light airy sweetness of the whipped cream.  The cinnamon added an amazing spicy and savory element contrast to the dessert.  I wasn't a huge fan of the milky sauce, but it did add moisture and creaminess.

Toast is the type of establishment that proves that Harlem is a food mecca.  If you want delicious New American cuisine with a diverse menu, then look no further than Toast.  Now go taste for yourself!  ¡Buen provecho!

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