We’ve been fascinated for several months about the strange entrepreneurial magic that’s been brewing on Third Avenue in Gowanus. Formerly a sleepy crawl of vacant storefronts and assorted social clubs; of late, there have been several really excellent restaurants, cafes and small shops that have taken root up and down the strip. The latest place is called Runner & Stone. I had to look it up, but the name’s origin refers to the two stones used to grind grain in a traditional mill, the runner stone and the base stone. Wikipedia aside, what’s more interesting is that the kitchen is manned by a fairly dynamic duo: the former chef de cuisine at Blue Ribbon Brooklyn and the head baker from Per Se. I knew I wanted to try it but I’ll admit to being confused: What the hell is it? A bakery? A restaurant? A café? We went last weekend for brunch, and as it happens Runner & Stone is all those things. The interior of the restaurant is bright and minimalist, which is perfect because there’s little to distract you from the first thing you see when you walk in: the baked goods. Jesus, dude. I’m not a big sweets guy but what was on display looked so over-the-top we decided to be fatties and order what we decided to call a “pastry course.” We had an apple turnover, an almond croissant, and a cheese danish. They were honestly all varying degrees of perfection, but the almond croissant was hands down the most ridiculous thing ever. Please order that. But we expected them to be good, so no surprise. The surprise was the remainder of the brunch. I had the eggs Benedict over fish cake wrapped in pancetta. Take a gander at this plate. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the hollandaise was light and frothy and the fish cake/pancetta thing was crispy, salty and amazing. I sopped it all up with their fresh baguettes and creamy house-cultured butter. Pure friggin’ breakfast joy. One other note– get their hash browns. Courtney had them with her fluffy omelette, but I coveted them. Go ahead and double order them. And three cheers for Runner & Stone, we’ll be back next time for dinner!