Saturday, February 18, 2012

Toss {A Gourmet Pizzeria}

Last night, my girlfriend and I decided to cash in on a Groupon we purchased a bit ago. Having never heard anything about this place we headed out to try our luck at Toss. They are located just a bit past The Senator Theatre heading into the city if you're familiar with the area. Keep your eyes peeled as your driving because the outside of the restaurant is very nondescript. I was looking for the restaurant and still didn't catch it. Luckily, I have girlfriend with eyes that work.

The inside of the restaurant is pretty simple. I did a quick count of seats and right now there is room for 30ish guests. We didn't have a problem getting a table as we walked in at just the right time, but I can imagine a bit of a wait on weekend nights. The inside of Toss is decorated with what I'm guessing is local art that you can buy if you're so inclined. Just be careful not to get grease prints on your new painting after eating the pizza. The ordering process is pretty informal. You put your order in at the front register, find a seat, and wait until someone brings the food. Despite having a full house, our food was brought out very quickly.

One thing to keep in mind if you're heading out with a couple of friends is that Toss is a BYOB establishment. I've never actually participating in a BYOB restaurant, but I like the idea. Nine times out of ten buying an entire 6 pack is only slightly more money than the average beer at a restaurant. And most importantly, you aren't a slave to someones beer list and can drink whatever your heart desires.

So, how was the pizza you ask? Probably a pretty good question considering we're talking about a pizzeria,right? Unfortunately, I don't have that answer for you. I was looking for something a little lighter and we ended up trying out a few of their sandwiches and hummus.

Scooped on top of a lettuce leaf and with a kalamata olive garnish and a plate full of warm pita bread, the hummus was delicious. My favorite way to eat hummus is warmed through and while their version was served at a slightly cool temperature, I still enjoyed it. There is more than enough hummus to make 4 people happy. It looked to me like they put a little extra kalmata olive juice over top and it gave a good salt presence that otherwise may have been missing. And they don't go overboard with the garlic while presenting a very simple yet delicious appetizer.

For dinner, I went with their Italian Steak sandwich. It's served on a toasted bun that may or may not have been homemade, but was excellent nonetheless, topped with steak, mozzarella, onions, green pepper, lettuce, tomato, and creamy Italian dressing. Mediterranean fries are served on the side.

I loved my sandwich. The steak was tender and the creamy Italian dressing was just a tad sweet and brought the whole thing together. As I mentioned earlier the bun they serve the sandwiches on is very good. Crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, the bun might very well have been the star of the show.

They call them "fries", but they are more in the mold of potato wedges. They were fried just right, but the seasoning left them kind of bland. They put paprika or something on them, but I would have been happier with basic salt and pepper. But whatever, the sandwich was huge and I was more than happy with that. 

My girlfriend decided on the Gerty's Turkey sandwich. Served on the same roll, it was topped with turkey, mozzarella, red onion, roasted red pepper, pesto sauce, lettuce, and sun dried tomato. It doesn't mention specifically in the menu, but I think the sun dried tomato was include via a mayo. The feedback I got about this sandwich was that between the pesto, sun dried tomato mayo, and roasted peppers it was kind of flavor overkill. She took the peppers off and after that she more than enjoyed her dinner. The bite or two I had of her sandwich left me impressed. If you're into big flavors, this sandwich definitely delivers on that.

At the end of the night we both agreed that this was a restaurant we'd be visiting again. The fact that we went to a pizzeria and were as impressed with our selections despite them not being their signature dish left us planning our next visit before we'd even left. The food is served quick, hot, and tasting good. Without a doubt we'll be back in the near future to try the pizza and I suspect we'll even bigger fans of Toss than we already are.

Price: Average
Recommendation: Visit ASAP
What to order: Italian Steak Sandwich

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