I can honestly say that I'm glad this
place has come to the neighborhood. Because of this it gets five stars in my book. I hope this place does well. For one, the food is great and it's open relatively late - I think they're still working out the official hours, but it's open at least until 11PM to midnight some days - hopefully, eventually later down the road. 2AM! 2AM!
Not sure what other reviews are talking about in regards to parking, because Atwater Village, for the moment, has plenty of parking at night. You can park in the metered spots - they're open in the evening (just check signs). Also, there are free lots across the street from the restaurant (behind Proof Bakery and that section of the street). Not to mention street parking if those two options fail.
Our group had the beef salad, the flat iron steak, the smoked salmon sandwich, and the baked mushrooms. Everyone loved the food (though my boyfriend thought the salad accompanying the flat iron steak was a bit too salty - I thought it was good though. I like salt. Ha!).
We also tried the flirtini, the cucumber margarita ($10), raging bitch beer, and the banana bread beer ($5). I could have used a little more tequila in my margarita =) =) =) but other than that it was quite tasty.
It looks like they're still working out a system about ordering food (for instance, there was some confusion among our table on where we could order food - I think you can order from any of the service counters) and bringing it out so there was a slight wait for what we ordered; however, once our plates did arrive everything we had was thoroughly enjoyable.
I hope this place does extremely well, because it's close to where I live and I love the idea of having a cafe + bakery + bar + restaurant + deli within walking distance. (Okay, I know we have about four coffee shops now within a one block radius, but I do think every coffee shop has its own personality, flavor, and customers. The more the merrier!)
As for the ambience of Bon Vivant - the layout is very inviting. Open with high, beautiful ceilings, and a decent amount of seating. There's also a small outdoor area where you can eat, as well, which I enjoyed. It's nice to see the big windows as before this space was all closed off. I would have liked the lighting to be a little lower because I'm a vampire that hates fluorescent lights (even if they are artfully wrapped with canvas sacks), but I understand other people's aversion to lower lighting. I mean, I don't understand it, but I respect their decisions.
All in all, this place has definite potential and even with the long food wait we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I can only imagine how awesome this place will be when the kinks are worked out and they settle into a delicious groove.
In the meantime I'll be back. Yes, Sir, Ma'am. You can count on it.
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