Variations on a Theme: Toasts with the Most

These stacked snacks from Saltie Girl, Yvonne's, and more are almost too pretty to eat…almost.

toasts boston restaurants

Photographs by Tim Kennedy

Move over, avocado: Every health nut’s favorite Instagram craze is getting a decadent makeover. Local chefs are now topping humble toast with some of the most luxurious ingredients in their walk-ins, from caviar and burrata to foie gras and snow crab. While the shareable preparations highlighted here are diverse, they all have one thing in common: a high-quality loaf. “You can put just about anything on good bread,” says Bar Mezzana chef Colin Lynch.

Saltie Girl

For his delicate snow crab toast, chef Kyle McClelland piles lightly dressed leg and claw meat on a slice of griddled whole-wheat baguette. In between, avocado and stracciatella cheese add a double layer of creaminess—“almost like a stand-in for mayo,” he explains. McClelland’s smoked salmon version, meanwhile, starts with a slice of dense Nordic bread from Hi-Rise Bread Company, bolstered by the cold-then-hot-smoked fish, a few dabs of truffle-honey yogurt, and, finally, shavings of salt-cured egg yolk.

281 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-267-0691,

Bar Mezzana

Colin Lynch is so dedicated to the art of the crostini that he’s devoted an entire section of his menu to it. Standouts include the chicken liver on grilled Iggy’s francese, a refined take on Grandma’s liver and onions amped up with fried sage and bacon; as well as the chef’s buttery Hackleback caviar and lardo on house-made polenta bread—like “a cross between a brioche and a cornbread,” he explains.

360 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-530-1770,


As a tribute to the late Locke-Ober’s filet mignon Mirabeau, chef Tom Berry dreamed up a toast that makes buttery beef the star of the plate. Arranged on a thick slice of grilled baguette brushed with marrow butter, his plancha-seared bavette steak is topped with white anchovy butter and caramelized green olives. Want to make a meal of it? At least four other toast options are on Berry’s menu at any given time.

2 Winter Place, Boston, 617-267-0047,

The Table at Season to Taste

“A good toast, and a good dish in general, is about creating balance,” says chef Carl Dooley, whose luxurious foie gras variety achieves exactly that: A slice of house-made semolina sourdough serves as the base for creamy goose liver in harmony with pickled cherries, purple mustard (made from grape must), and unctuous shards of lightly smoked duck confit. Slivered toasted almonds add crunch.

2447 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-871-9468,


Chef Alex Saenz’s secret to stellar toast? Sourdough bread from West Concord–based Nashoba Brook Bakery. “It can stand up to pretty much anything you put on it,” he says. Case in point: this lardo rendition with jammy membrillo (quince paste) and thin strips of fatback cured for about two months in his Cambridge kitchen. For brightness, Saenz adds a tangle of fresh herbs and a dash of fennel pollen.

1071 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-714-3693,