Breakfast is French. Lunch switches to Italian. All pastries are vegan. So is most of the menu.
Muse & Market, a Eurocentric restaurant with a refreshingly creative menu, has opened on Thomas Road. The chef is Dino Luciano. Luciano won MasterChef, one of the seven billion TV food competitions, and he won with vegan food. Though he brings none of his MasterChef dishes to Muse & Market, he brings his style.
Luciano digs the food of Montreal, French food through the prism of Canada. That is why for breakfast you'll find morning staples with this Gallic-northern inflection. An omelet with leeks and Gruyere. Cinnamon crepes made from almond flour. Eggs Benedict with smoked shiitakes.
The vegan pastries include dipped biscotti, a "tiramisu cooke" (a coffee cookie with pistachios), blueberry and raspberry turnovers, and others. They await their fates in a display case up front.
Also up front is a coffee bar. Muse does your typical espresso-based drinks, pulling them using beans roasted just downtown. Some remix morning drinking, bringing orange juice or lemonade into the cup.
The 90-seat (in and out) restaurant does counter service. Service is attentive and you will be furnished with the Wi-Fi password, and perhaps sit at a central communal table, where people are encouraged to linger and crank out work in the morning hours. An open kitchen bustles and slants, "L"-wise, to the prepared food section and then nook of coffee and iced tea. Globe lights hang. Back windows admit sunlight.
Luciano has New York Italian roots. Come 11 a.m. and the lunch hour, the menu flips to Italy. Cream of tomato soup. Caprese salad. Grilled Caesar.
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There are a wealth of panini, anchored predominantly with vegetables and fruits. A mozzarella sandwich has cherries and lemon pesto. A shiitake melt gets a smear of red pepper spread. Beyond that, there's a loosely related scattering of dishes from arancini to purple potato poutine. A few dishes tap into Middle eastern and Indian flavors, like cauliflower biryani and mussels with harissa.
The food, though, is mostly European. European sieved through vegan and gluten-free flavorscapes, as well as the mind of a creative chef not afraid to give breakfast a much needed kick in the ass.
Muse & Market. 4602 East Thomas Road, #110; 602-218-6773.
Tuesday to Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. (breakfast until 11 a.m.); Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (breakfast menu only)