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Bon Vivant in Atwater Village and it's monster duck-egg burger.

j
jdwdeville Sep 29, 2012 04:29 PM

Went today, on a whim.
Huge, open, inviting space- very pretty inside. There is a nice cheese/charcuterie counter where you can buy cheeses to go, or they will portion them out for a cheese board for you, an case of prepared salads, and a coffee area. Also, what will be a great little bar to relax at and read the (provided) paper at with a beer when (if?) they finally get a license.
One minor complaint re design: fine, you want to have some flat screen tvs, and you did the right thing by placing them as unobtrusively as possibly in the high corners, but why were they all playing some QVC-esque cooking product infomercial?
Food:
Chargrilled oysters (6 for $12) were big and delicious, truly had a grilled flavor, topped with Parmesan and salted butter.
I didn't try my SO's sandwich so can't speak to it- she thought the dressing on the salad with it was bitter (it was heavy on the lemon juice).
I had the burger, which arrived mid rare as requested with an over easy duck egg, manchego cheese, serrano ham, two tomato slices, shallots, pickles, and a salad's worth of dressed arugula on a pretzel-y type roll. First observation: this thing is HUGE. I mean, almost knife and fork huge. Like, don't need the fries huge. Halfway in I was feeling flushed. I'm writing this three hours later still stuffed. Second observation: it is a very good burger. Better be, for $15. The ham is an interesting idea, but I think it gets a bit lost as the texture of raw ham is hard to discern against all the other stuff going on, though it adds a nice salty element that the patty was lacking (perhaps by design?). Also, duck eggs apparently have a lot of yolk! There was an ingredient I couldn't identify that had a sweet flavor to it that seemed a bit out of place- maybe it was in the pink sauce on the bun? But, overall a damn good burger to rival say, 26 Beach's.
Conclusion:
Get this place their beer and wine license and I will be there weekly!

  1. s
    Silverlaker Sep 30, 2012 11:25 AM

    When we went the service was very inexperienced and appeared taken aback if you had any questions -- about anything. One server was rude so we're never going back -- and we live in the area.

    Also, the cost per item doesn't make sense -- there's little suggestions on how to turn random deli items into a meal (like pick three items for $15). Instead I picked two -- meatballs and eggplant. Got two tiny meatballs and a lovely eggplant appetizer for like $18 -- I was still hungry but we were so annoyed that we didn't order anything more and left (and went to Alcove for dessert, yum!).

    Management should take note of the problems (doesn't help that their hours are very inconsistent). In fact, when we asked to talk to a manager, they said there was no one on and wouldn't give us contact info. Seems all very suspect and frankly, shady.

    1. c
      cls Sep 30, 2012 05:22 AM

      I agree that what I have had there has been heavy, and large. It also has been pretty good.

      I have a few more design complaints though: first, where do you order? I went to one register, only to have someone pop up at a register at a different counter, and then a third person tell me I could order from either register. We then purchased our food, but were told to go across the room to a different register for drinks, where there was also a bar register... a lot of running around to place an order.

      Next, the chairs are bar height, which for a sit down meal at one of their few cafe tables is uncomfortable. Not to mention the chairs themselves are uncomfortable and they're all the same.

      Not to worry, there is a couch and table up front, but, it's back is to the fireplace and it's facing the outside. When I was there, the only open doors were the doors in front of the sofa, meaning everyone entered (wandered around for a while trying to figure out how to order) and exited in front of where you were eating.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cls
        j
        jdwdeville Sep 30, 2012 10:41 AM

        Funny, I actually liked the ordering system- struck me as very European, am reminded of places in Italy where every item had a different counter. I like that it lets me tailor my experience- am I here for coffee and a pastry, or am I going to sit at the bar for a glass of wine and a few cheeses?

        1. re: cls
          j
          jdwdeville Sep 30, 2012 10:46 AM

          My comment above is predicated, of course, on them getting a license to sell me that glass of wine ASAP....

          1. re: jdwdeville
            SilverlakeGirl Sep 30, 2012 01:03 PM

            I understand that they got their liquor license back. And yes, as someone mentioned, their hours are very inconsistent. Very frustrating.

            I am not a fan of their decor at all.

            These days, since I'm now a resident of Atwater Village, you can often find me sitting outside on Sunday mornings, enjoying coffee or breakfast in the shade. And viewing the crowds at the jam packed Proof Bakery across the street.

        2. ipsedixit Sep 29, 2012 09:29 PM

          I don't think I've ever seen a Grilled Cheese Sandwich listed as "$MP"

          1. TonyC Sep 29, 2012 08:36 PM

            Thank you.

            In4one burger.

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