Warm fingerling potato salad is a hit at Samuel J. Moore.
Samuel J. Moore 1087 Queen W, at Dovercourt, 416-897-8348, @TheSamuelJMoore Though it only opened weeks ago, this period-perfect brasserie on the ground floor of the historic Great Hall looks like it's been there forever, from the white penny tile on the floor to the gorgeous cabinetry on the walls. Ex-Brocton General chef Alexandra Feswick's inaugural carte of soon-to-be signatures is just as timeless. Best: warm fingerling potatoes with horseradish crème fraîche and smoked trout; ricotta gnudi poached in cream with caramelized mushrooms and baby onions; pearl barley risotto with roasted cauliflower and fatty lardons; half roasted chickens with curried cream and spectacular frites laced with garlic and brown butter; for dessert, Templar whiskey sours that taste exactly like liquid lemon meringue pies. Complete dinners for $45 per person (brunches $30), including tax, tip and a class of wine. Average main $20/$14. Open for dinner nightly 5 to 11 pm, bar till 2 am. Weekend brunch 10 am to 4:30 pm. Closed some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, four steps to washrooms. Rating: NNNN
THR & Co. 97 Harbord, at Robert, 647-748-7199, thrandco.com, @thrandco Cory Vitiello and the crew responsible for the impossibly hip Harbord Room switch gears with this, dare we say it, family-friendly cantina in the old Messis. Genuinely welcoming service, an inobtrusive soundtrack of golden oldies and a shareable neo-Ital carte from chef Curt Martin make reservations essential. Best seats in the house: the two semi-circular tufted red leather banquettes in the front window. Best: to start, deconstructed beef heart tartare with tangy olive relish and dehydrated duck yolk; thin semolina-crusted pizzas dressed with locally foraged nettles, sliced potato, pancetta and a runny free-range farm egg; papardelle tossed with fresh garden peas and spring favas in a light lemony cream; garlicky black squid-ink spaghetti alio e olio-style with charred squid and bottarga roe; braised lamb's neck à la osso bucco with pinenut gremolata; to finish, poppyseed lemon cake sozzled with house-made limoncello and topped with toasted marshmallow brittle and buttermilk ice cream. Complete dinners for $50 per person, including tax, tip and an Aperol spritzer. Average main $21. Open for dinner Monday to Thursday 5 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5 to 10:30 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNN
Kathi Roll Express 692 Yonge, at Isabella, 647-748-8573, thekathirollexpress.com, @tkretoronto This Indo-fusion takeaway looks like it would be more at home in some Kolkata back alley than on downtown's main drag, decked out as it is ghetto-style with rusted corrugated tin and light fixtures fashioned out of plastic milk crates. The veggie-friendly paratha wraps are just as diverse. Best: undaa aloo masala rolls, a Subcontinental spin on a Mexican breakfast burrito with fried egg, mashed peas 'n' peppers; barbecued beef tikka rolls with pickled red onion, all with fiery mint chutney; Korean barbecued chicken in honey-garlic sauce; Kung Pao chicken with Sichuan chilies; Mumbai-style grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato, cucumber, raw green pepper and spicy mashed spuds and more of that must-have mint chutney. Complete meals for $12 per person, including tax, tip and a glass of lime soda. Average main $6. Open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday and holidays noon to 10 pm. No reservations. Licensed. Access: bump at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN