The shtick: Hip Mexican fare that goes above and beyond.
The vibe: Division Street can feel like entering a bros-only country club these days, but at least during the day, Takito Kitchen is a refuge. (It was, to be fair, kind of dead on the Saturday I visited—only one other table was occupied.) No flat-screen TVs, no massive bar to navigate around the second you walk through the door, just a handsome wood-accented space with daylight streaming in through a skylight. 9 out of 10
The drinks: The good news is that cocktails are cheap as hell on the weekends—both mimosas and Bloody Marys will run you a mere $5. The bad news, and really it’s only bad if you are a admitted baby about spicy food like me, is that the Bloody packs some insane heat, the most burn I’ve felt in almost two years of professional brunching. But neither cocktail was watered down or weak, far better than their price tags suggest. 8.5 out of 10
The food: Excellent across the board. Takito’s hallmark freshly made tortillas find AM glory as breakfast tacos ($7), laden with fluffy scrambled eggs and a smattering of vegetables and salsa; the fillings are good, but the pliant, fragrant corn tortillas are outstanding. A bowl of bacon-topped polenta ($7) puts most gloppy attempts at grits to shame, each bite silken and smoky. But true glory comes in the form of French toast ($7). Each wedge is burnished golden-brown, custardy inside and crunchy outside. And then it’s topped with fruit preserves (in our case, spiced apple, chunky like homemade applesauce) and cinnamon-flecked whipped cream that I would be willing to eat full bowls of. Have we crowned a favorite French toast before? Yeah. Does this one belong next to it in the egged-up-bread pantheon? Without a doubt. 9 out of 10
The service: Chill, if a little overly so. There were some extended lags, but nothing too egregious. 7 out of 10
Overall: One of the best brunch deals in town. Two people can order three excellent entrees, a drink apiece, and a side and walk out down only $40 but utterly contented. 9 out of 10