Lox + Schmear has joined the brunch options on St. Clair West this summer.
While the new spot isn’t nearly as packed as Toronto’s Schmaltz or New York’s Russ & Daughters, the indie appetizing store and bagel sandwich counter carries all the essentials for Jewish-style brunching: Montreal-style bagels (plain, poppy seed, sesame seed, or vegan GF), cream cheese (plain or vegan, in flavours like dill and chive, or horseradish), and house-cured fish.
To eat on site, the bagel centric menu features signatures like the OG, a toasted, chewy St. Urbain bagel schmeared with a thick layer of cream cheese, lox, tomato slices, briney capers, and red onions.
For me, it’s the perfect sandwich, the same combination of ingredients I’ve eaten countless times before, but here I specifically approve of the buttery, supple salmon and how the red onions are shaved ultra thin to cut their sharpness, but then applied in a generous and voluminous pile.
Vegans can partake too. Vegan and gluten free bagels can be layered with a dairy-free schmear and all the veggies; tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh and/or pickled onions, capers, alfalfa sprouts, and fresh dill.
There’s ample seating to eat inside. The cafe is casual and spacious, and while the decor is sparse, a collection of framed Bat Mitzvah photos of owner Lev and family add a dash of humour and interest to the space.
For take-home, buy bagels by the half dozen along with cream cheeses and lox sold by weight, and discretionary garnishes like pickles and pickled onions. For the ultimate brunch table spread, The Lox Box includes enough of everything to feed four to six for just $40.
Address: 1030 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto