The shtick: The hippest brunch in all of Pilsen.
The vibe: Dusek’s benefits from its lovely, spacious dining room during any meal, but it’s particularly excellent during the day, when the music’s turned down a bit, the crowd mixes both groups of twenty-somethings and families, and light streams in through the large plate-glass windows facing 18th Street. It’s very reminiscent of its too-cool-for-school older brother, Longman & Eagle, but a little softer around the edges, a little more inviting and open to lingering over the meal. Small quibble, though—some of the tables along the edges of the dining spaces seem a bit too tightly packed, so much so that a stray elbow could have you knocking out your neighbor. 8 out of 10
The food: Every dish sounds delicious: elotes-style Benedict with confit pork belly; breakfast sandwich with chorizo, cheddar, and salsa verde; challah French toast with blueberry mascarpone and marshmallow. But, unfortunately, none quite hit the mark. The corn-chipotle hollandaise in the Benedict ($13) is more soupy than silky and could use both more chipotle and more corn. The breakfast sandwich is fine, but not $12 worth of fine—it’d need way more chorizo for that. And, oh, the French toast ($13). It’s a beautiful plate of food, but the beauty is illusory once you take that first bite into spongy, bland, lukewarm bread that’s practically crying out for some kind of syrup but is instead stuck on a pool of mysteriously flavorless blueberry mascarpone. You’re better off sticking to the infinitely tastier pastries, particularly the playful and zingy pop tart ($4). 5 out of 10
The drinks: At least the cocktails are dependably delicious here. Focus in on the beermosas, where brews are swapped in for the standard sparkling wine, to maximize your delight. The tart beermosa ($8), with malört and grapefruit and pink peppercorn soda mixed with pilsner, refreshes without being too boozy. 8 out of 10
The service: Low-pressure and totally chill, though occasionally so chill that water glasses and coffee cups sat empty for extended stretches. 7 out of 10
Overall: If the food doesn’t matter all that much—if brunch to you is really code for midday drinking in a place that looks cool—by all means, make a trip. But if you’re wanting a real meal, take your attentions elsewhere. 7 out of 10
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