Toast Kitchen + Bar
5900 College Ave., Rockridge
Phone: (510) 658-5900
Status: Reopened yesterday
Toast Wine Lounge, the Rockridge wine bar and small-plates joint that opened in 2011, got a big makeover this year: they've changed their name to Toast Kitchen + Bar; expanded to the space next door, more than doubling their size; and added on a full kitchen for chef Rebecca Boice, who was a longtime sous chef at Zuni Cafe. Boice, who previously cooked out of a galley kitchen, now offers more complex plates like fried green beans, pork meatballs, and yellowtail tartare, as well as her first-ever entrees, including grilled flat-iron steak, salmon, and roasted chicken breast. See the full menu here.
On the drinks side, the focus continues to be wine, with 20 wines by the glass and two on draft (curated by GM Todd O'Leary). The restaurant has also secured full liquor and added an extensive cocktail list, with plans to start an American whiskey tasting program focusing on small-production bottles. In that vein, they've added a lighting installation made from 99 bottles of spirits (we doubt they recommend taking one down and passing it around, though). Other features of the new space include refurbished booths taken from Fog City Diner after its closure, and soundproofing in both the new and old spaces to bring down the volume. There's also a sizable patio. Hours are Sunday-Wednesday, 12-10 pm, and Thursday-Saturday, 12-11 pm.