Mow Down Hash Brown Hill

Head a couple of blocks in any direction from West Portal Avenue and your thighs will tell you that it’s no small workout. That also means if you’ve traveled on foot from just about anywhere to get to have brunch at Toast, you will inevitably burn extra calories on the way home. So if I’m doing the math correctly, the amount you consume at this not-quite-year-old West Portal diner should not only be vast in quantity, but rich with extra goodness that can fuel your trip home. Agreed?

Just a little over a year ago, West Portal locals were crushed to hear that our dear Village Grill had closed. It was the type of place where the servers not only knew your kids, but when the grandparents came to visit from out of town, they knew their names too. It was that friendly vibe, not the food or decor, that generated repeat business. Fast forward to today and Toast, a well-known Noe Valley family fave, is now in the same space and it’s a total game changer. Complete with a marble topped coffee bar in front and a warm inviting interior, this new West Portal brunch spot has a menu that’s reached drastically new heights.

The menu peaks with some decidedly Southern twists, including entrees like Fried Chicken and Waffles and Biscuits and Gravy. But there’s plenty there for classic brunch lovers. The French toast at Toast is thick, golden, fluffy and sweet. Omelettes, scrambles and Benedicts pepper the room and each different variation looks and smells more inviting than the next. But it’s the Hash Brown Hill that gets me every time. On top of the crispiest potatoes known to man, they have the chutzpah to pile on avocado, sour cream and green onions. I have the choice to add bacon and eggs and, well, what’s a girl to do?

Of course, when you live in West Portal, you’re used to an uphill battle. Game on! I can’t say I made it through the entire dish in one sitting, but all in good time. (Like, deliciously, good time.) And if anyone else is up for the challenge, I’ll be happy to join them. Again and again…and again.

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