Toast on 24th Street
It's been open about one month; there are crowds waiting outside for lunch every day. Thought I'd try it out. The old "Herb's Fine Foods" got a complete makeover; the decor is quite nice (modern diner I guess), though there was something about the 1940s look of Herb's that also was appealing. My partner and I got there about 11:40. The place was already full, but after waiting about five minutes we got a table. So far, so good. Waitstaff was friendly and attentive, but the crowd made their work difficult. We waiting another five minutes or so to place our orders. But then we had to wait over half an hour to get the food (drinks came right away). The kitchen can't seem to handle the volume. I ordered a hot pastrami sandwich. It was only so so, and strangely on a baguette rather than rye. No comparison with, say, Quincey's on Market St. My partner had a Reuben, and it was quite good. But the side orders of fries for both of us were not hot (luke warm at best). Probably because it took so long to get our orders. Many people at noon were ordering off the breakfast menu, and from what I saw it looked good (perhaps better than Herb's). Prices were generally reasonable except for the $3 I paid for ice tea, which seemed a bit steep (no pun intended). Another gripe I had was the noise level. I'm old enough to want to chat with my eating partner, a quaint idea in all so many restaurants these days. But again the crowd probably contributed. So if our experience was typical, I wonder how long the crowds will line up to get in at lunch.
I ate there with Mom for Sunday brunch and found it decidedly "meh". I had corned beef hash - I found the corned beef to be not very tasty, too chewy and rather greasy. The hash browns were not impressive either - not much potato flavor and a suspicious resemblance to frozen... Mom enjoyed her eggs florentine (and the hollandaise was quite tasty). But all in all, I can't see making a beeline back here - especially since I'm not from the neighborhood (though Mom is). I'll stick with Chow...
The crowds will probably hold up despite the quality. The other Toast on Church St. has much less foot traffic, is equally "meh", and is always crowded. I think "meh" is good enough if you're serving breakfast in Noe Valley. Kookez, on the other hand, never really even reached the "meh" plateau and is therefore now being sold.
The Toast on Church St. had similar burps and hiccups when they first opened. We had such horrendous service that we've never been back for breakfast. Plus, I don't consider it fun to wade through dozens and dozens of people on a wait list (see also: Boogaloo's, Chloe's). There are decent places with little to no wait. We've been eating weekend breakfast at Chow lately. The staff there tells me that Chow doesn't really get busy until about 1:00 PM. Their breakfast is really stellar, almost to the level of Canteen in my estimation.
ETA: Ha! I didn't notice ejcsanfran's mention of Chow until after I posted. Really, we're not in cahoots...
I completely agree with you on the noise level in this toast. It's very cramped and very loud, and the television on doesn't help with that either. While the service is ok and the food is decent, it seems that they are still working out the kinks. Hard to maneuver around strollers, too. They really need to find a way to be more appealing. I don't enjoy my food when I have to shout at my eating companion, nor do I want to spend most of my time waiting for okay food. I also agree that they kitchen still cannot handle the volume. While they are still rather new, people in NV won't find it too appealing for much longer. Too many other good brunch places to patronize.
Maybe they read these posts. Decided to stop in for lunch as there was a parking spot out front on 24th. I went solo so no wait for counter. I had the pastrami and loved it. Was surprised by a baguette, too, but loved it. I suppose you can request rye, didn't notice if they had it in-house for other sandwiches or not.
The reason I posted though is that the fries were fresh, hot and delicious. Totally addictive. I'd go back just for them.
I first didn't like Church street because they didn't offer pork sausage, which they have since rectified. (See, maybe they do read these posts.) I have always liked the corned beef hash and hash browns on Church street. I am from Chicago and the only way hash browns came we're shredded and crispy. I was relieved to find them done "right" IMHO after so many "home fries" mush experiences out here. It must be hard to please such a diverse audience from so many different backgrounds. These guys have gradually won me over, while they seem to be a turn-off to others. Not sure what "meh" means but I see it a lot on these Boards, must be some insider slang or something.
I have also never gone to either restaurant on the weekend and maybe that is influencing my experience as well.