Issac Toast Comes Back From the Grave in Santa Monica

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Isaac Toast Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

Remember Isaac Toast, the American-influenced, Korean-originated sandwich chain that opened its first U.S. store in Westwood in late 2009, only to close a year-and-a-half later? By merging with Santa Monica yogurt shop The Spot on Pico, the restaurant has re-emerged, and is now open in the same strip mall that houses falafel favorite Hungry Pocket. After falling short with Westwood's private school kids, Issac Toast has turned its attention onto the city college market and already stands a better chance of survival in this less competitive lunching zone. What again is Issac Toast?

The restaurant is a fast-casual sandwich shop with perfectly thin, golden-brown toast, plus options like terriyaki and bulgogi in sandwiches, bowls, plates, and salads. The whole thing comes off a little like a Korean Quiznos, with less-than-gourmet ingredients and an insubstantial density to the offerings. Breakfast sandwiches come smeared with a proprietary sweet sauce that tastes slightly reminiscent, if not nearly as good as, Susan Feniger's kaya toast (reminder to selves: Pitch Susan Feniger on international kaya toast chain. Take cut of profits. Retire to Jamaica.) with options of egg, meats, cabbage, and American cheese.

There are also options for "sub" sandwiches on rolls, like spicy chicken and fire spice bulgogi sandwich, that unfortunately aren't as good as they sound, mostly due to the American cheese and general small size. Prices are fairly slim here, too, boding well that it could become a mainstay for the scholastic set over at Santa Monica College, though when we were college kids, we lived on the kind of falafel Hungry Pocket has a masters in.

And speaking of being smart and stuff, it'd probably be a good move for the place to update its address on its website. That is, unless Issac Toast is only hanging around SMC so it transfer back to UCLA.

Issac Toast, 1701 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica. 310-396-2562.