It may seem like sacrilege to some, but the best panino in the world could actually be a hamburger. It's a simple idea really-take a cooked patty, put it with cheese in between two pieces of Italian bread, and throw it in a press. Burger panini are the specialty served at Bar Toto, a comfortable neighborhood joint located on the edge of Park Slope. In fact, there's little else on the menu worth recommending. But this they do right, and it's worth traveling for if you're a burger freak.
The meat itself has real beefy flavor and gets a serious char from the grill. The cheese is generous and you can choose from American, Swiss, Mozzarella, or gorgonzola (which is the best and comes with red onions). A light application of an unnamed sauce, most likely mayo and ketchup, adds to the unctuousness. The bread, specially made for panini, comes daily from a Brooklyn bakery. It makes all the difference, since its craggy multitudes make for crunch you can't get even with an English muffin. So often with a regular burger even if the buns are toasted, by the time the sandwich reaches you the bread has turned soggy. No danger of that here. If that's not enough crunch for you, the burger comes with a plate full of skinny fries flecked with potato skin (all for $9). If you still scoff at the panino burger, just remember, spaghetti and meatballs isn't an authentic Italian dish either, but an Italian-American invention (one that makes a decent appearance at Bar Toto too).