This Yorkvillian brunch boîte charms thanks to its roots as a patio. Literally. Live trees grow up through the roof, their trunks twined with little white lights. Lanterns hang from the ceiling, and the walls, both wooden and brick, soar. We recline on variegated pillows strewn on comfy banquettes and feel divinely decadent. They throw a ringer into brunch Benny-world, sitting it on a fat potato rosti, a layer of lightly pickled cabbage and long-roasted duck, with the hollandaise built on sexy brown butter. Their take on croque-madame is another rewrite — a fried egg on sourdough toast spiked with labneh (strained yogurt) and smoked salmon. This is what happened when bagels and cream cheese went Middle Eastern.
We all know that brunch is not for calorie counting, so full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, and order one of Reyna’s variations of sweet frites. Go trad and have them with aïoli, or add some heat Spanish-style with the garnish of manchego, crumbled chorizo and chipotle aïoli. The frites themselves are thin shreds of yummy. Bar Reyna, 158 Cumberland St., 647-748-4464
This is croque-madame turned Middle Eastern.