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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TOAST TOSSED SALAD

110515toastsalad-500x280-8466762A Chopped Greek salad with grilled shrimp, above, and a plate of hash and eggs, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

103115toast1-220x141-6408557Peace, Love and Pancakes: How can you go wrong with a slogan like that?

The newest foodie haven in Red Bank, Toast is slinging all three, along with hash and other comfort foods, in a glossy retro-American-meets-Scandinavian style luncheonette in the former home of the Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street.
110515toast6-500x246-9108481Mariah Acker prepares an order to go. The aquatic mosaic mural on the back wall was saved from the building’s previous incarnation as the Broadway Diner.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

PieHole stopped in for breakfast, quickly followed a few days later by lunch, lured back in part by the straightforward, strong cup of coffee. It’s “a blend of Colombian Huila and Brazilian Cerrado coffee beans that has a series of different roasts applied to it known as Black and Tan,” Toast owner Amy Russo Harrigan explains, and it comes from Law Coffee, a 106-year-old family coffee business in Newark.

“I really like companies my size where I know the dad, the brother, the mom,” she says, and Toast seems to bring out such affinities. One of her first Red Bank customers recognized the brand as it was being delivered, told her that he’d owned a restaurant in Newark from 1945 to 1954 in the Ironbound section of Newark and only used Law’s, and was instantly sold on Toast, she says.

But Toast is more than just breakfast, let alone coffee, and trying to make up for the carnivorous meal of hash and eggs devoured here a few days earlier, PieHole decided a lighter lunch was in order.

Toast’s menu includes gourmet salads, including a blackened tuna made with fresh seared slices of tuna, a lobster cobb salad and a shenanigan salad. The chopped Greek salad piqued our interest.

The menu states that grilled chicken ($4 additional) or grilled shrimp ($6 extra) may be added. Our chopped Greek salad with shrimp came  brimming with fresh romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, cucumber, and plump grilled shrimp. The oregano-nuanced vinaigrette came in a separate stainless steel cup.

Beautifully presented, every element in the salad was fresh and chopped to similar size. Unlike some salads that are thrown together without thought, this one was carefully planned and prepared. We will happily order it again.

The corned beef hash is one of two dishes Russo Harrigan learned to make from her father, the late Rocco “Bob” Russo, who co-owned the Broadway. “This was our regular Sunday breakfast,” she says. “During the summer when we were kids, my dad would make this for us.”

Thinking back to that order of eggs served sunny-side-up over a king-size bed of juicy corned beef hash, we’re reminded of the suggestion of comfort food in the restaurant’s name. Is there a better vehicle in the world than a slice of crusty bread to sop up all of that oozing yolky goodness?

Our waitress, Mariah Acker, suggested that, next time, we try the Irish Eggs Benedict, a rendition of English muffins covered in hash and topped with poached eggs and are finished with a lemony hollandaise sauce.

Toast is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. every day.

susan-ericson-9177851

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