Tuck into goulash with homemade bread dumpling at Prague European Kitchen.
White Brick Kitchen
641 Bloor W, at Euclid, 647-347-9188, thewhitebrickkitchen.com. After a stint in the pit at the Stockyards, former Beretta and Rowe Farms butcher Stephen Howell and company transform a Koreatown café into one of the best new brunch spots around. Best: to start, a $4 grapefruit mimosa made with 2 ounces of Spumanti Bambino, followed by pastry chef Haley Franklin's buttery English muffins spread with Ontario blueberry compote; spectacular mains like crisply battered southern-fried chicken coupled with a brilliantly pickled jalapeño dipping sauce, local greens in a lemony vinaigrette and the inevitable fried egg; vegetarian deep-fried "Scotch-ish" poached eggs over toasted baguette and cubed home fries; chocolate banana bread French toast with caramelized fruit and salted caramel; sides of house-cured hickory bacon; to finish, house-baked blueberry scones. Complete brunches for $25 per person, including tax, tip and a beef-bacon Caesar. Average main $12. Open Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday 9 am to 4 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Licensed. Access: short step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNN
Prague European Kitchen
638 Queen W, at Palmerston, 416-504-5787, theprague.ca. Anyone who remembers the Prague Deli will be shocked when they walk through the familiar front door. Old-timers won't recognize the rather anodyne resto-lounge that's replaced it (Czehoski, anyone?), but chef Jake Paradis's Mitteleuropean carte of goulash and such will surely ring a bell. Best: baskets of deep-fried pigs' ears dusted with smoked paprika; pickled beets with smoked hazelnuts, watercress and fresh ricotta-like quark; suckling pig in bone gravy sided with apple sauce and dumplings; beefy sauerbrauten ribs with deep-fried spaetzle; at brunch, deep-fried pierogi topped Benny-style with poached eggs, sweet paparika hollandaise and smoked ham hock. Complete dinners for $45 (lunches/brunches $30), including tax, tip and a cocktail. Average main $16/$10. Open Monday 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Wednesday 10 am to 10 pm, Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday and holidays 10 am to 5 pm. Brunch weekends from 10 am. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN
Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen
1262 Danforth, at Greenwood, 416-778-1388. For more than 10 years, Jean and Harry Seow's unusually stylish Southeast Asian trat has been a beacon of health consciousness in a sea of grilled souvlaki. Don't do dairy or gluten? Everything on the card's available in vegan versions. Best: to start, deep-fried rice-paper rolls stuffed with cellophane noodles, raw carrot and crunchy cloud ear; Thai-style cold rolls with cucumber, red pepper and scrambled egg; Golden Basket pastry shells brimming with garden-fresh peas, corn, carrots and diced organic tofu; pad kee mau, a ketchup-free spin on pad thai with crisp cauliflower, broccoli, basil and faux shrimp; fiery green curry with fake duck, baby bok choy and bell pepper in coconut broth, spicy Japanese eggplant on the side; to finish, deep-fried bananas in honeyed batter. Complete dinners for $30 per person, including tax, tip and a pot of jasmine green tea. Average main $10. Open Tuesday to Sunday 5 to 10 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNNN