Review: High praise for Le Bon Nosh, Buckhead’s Parisian all-day cafe

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On the evening menu, duck confit is served on French lentils with lemongrass carrot purée.

Photograph by Martha Williams

In France, one of the best compliments you can give to a dish or a meal is: “It was okay”. Having grown up in this context, where good execution is valued and dumb hyperbole frowned upon, I’m delighted to say that Forough Vakili’s swanky new all-day restaurant in Buckhead – a celebration of Parisian grand café – is bold, elegant, but above all, correct on almost every level. Set in a booming space on the ground floor of the Irby condo building, Le Bon Nosh is a big-budget production, with acres of gleaming marble countertops, tile inlays, and buttery curtains descending from 25 foot ceilings. Some corners of the restaurant are communal and almost utilitarian; others, like the wine bar, opulent and sexy. Two thirds French, one third Yiddish, the name of the establishment speaks of kindness and gourmet but informal meals.

THE TEAM

Vakili, who moved to the United States from Iran as a teenager, has a technical background: She studied chemical engineering at Georgia Tech before deciding to go to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris, then to take a step in a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Brittany. Now in her late thirties, she has become the food entrepreneur she always wanted to be. The other star here is pastry chef Daniella Lea Rada, a former baker across the street at the St. Regis Hotel.

THE FOOD

Bon Nosh offers an excellent coffee program (Intelligentsia) and quality breakfast and brunch options: large Belgian waffles, cumin-flavored shakshuka and healthy and trendy dishes like chia seed puddings and energy bowls with bone broth, eggs, bacon and avocado. . But most of the food comes from the bakery; for me, it’s enough to start the day by dipping a perfectly melting plain croissant into an Americano, or munching on buttered sourdough bread with a rose petal latte and dreaming of Paris. Lingering in the cafe as the morning progressed, it was a particular delight to watch the pastry case fill with almond croissants, scones flecked with orange zest and a bread version of financiers hazelnuts flavored with brown butter.

My absolute favorite things to eat are the amazing savory patties that appear around noon. The size of a sheet of cake but flatter, they combine seasonal ingredients and a triumphant amount of melty cheese on a puff pastry base. Imagine the pleasure you will get from a hot square of leek-leek galette drowned in Gruyère cheese, or any other combination of crunchy bacon bits, young onions, hazelnuts, and/or Swiss chard or mushrooms. The salads, made ahead and available in two sizes, can feature the warm flavors of tiny dark Puys lentils sprinkled with feta cheese and local nuts, or shredded kale that’s been tamed with a tangy vinaigrette.

The Good Nosh
The savory patties are baked in massive sheets and served by the slice, with toppings like leek and pear; hearty salads are made ahead and available in two sizes.

Photograph by Martha Williams

Establishing Le Bon Nosh as a wine bar takes effort. The menu sends mixed messages. On the one hand, there are plenty of light options to munch on: sweet and spicy fried almonds, classic steak tartare, whipped feta crudités, even casual, if heavy, toast. On the other hand, something about the presence of a giant wood-grilled Georgia rib eye steak, or even a (admittedly impeccable) pappardelle with Bolognese and Grana Padano, seems too serious, too gourmet, for an evening wine-oriented. There’s nothing wrong with duck confit with French lentils except its price which, at $36, can make you whistle and mumble “Dear little leg!” under your breath when placed in front of you. The dessert I was desperate for, the floating island – a poached meringue tossed over a Persian-flavoured custard – was no longer on the menu when I tried to order it, but a chocolate and date cake was not. too sweet was a tasty consolation.

THE DRINKS

The all-Gallic wine list (one page, with whites on one side and reds on the other, all listed by varietal) is meant to demystify French wines. Good producers, excellent service and fine-stemmed Spiegelau glasses all make a strong impression, but, again, the price of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape (a 2015 Domaine Duclaux, for $29 a glass) can be a shock to your system. . Choose a simple vin d’Anjou or sparkling crémant over a ruinous champagne, and don’t worry the list isn’t particularly long.

THE ATMOSPHERE

Everything from the pretty cutlery, to the curvaceous water carafes, to the plate under the lobster salad, was chosen by an owner who is also an aesthete. The transformation of a giant concrete cavern into a sumptuous but warm two-story relaxation space is a tribute to Vakili, whose nostalgia for Paris and Brittany is genuine. Discover the private dining room at the top of a royal staircase. Admire Vakili’s collection of cookbooks, arranged on shelves you wish were yours. Explore the nooks and crannies of a magnificent little wrap-around terrace furnished à la française. You will almost never have the opportunity to open your laptop or chat with a friend in such a stylish space!

The Good Nosh

Photograph by Martha Williams

THE VERDICT

Eventually, Le Bon Nosh would like to be more like a Dean & DeLuca emporium – marketing its own products (spice blends, Dijon dressing, etc.), hosting cooking classes, serving as a hub for the food-obsessed community . For now, however, we can be happy to have a stylish cafe that bakes its own pastries and serves quality, French-leaning cuisine without the froofery of full service.

Unmissable pastries

The Good Nosh

Photograph by Martha Williams

Some of the best Bon Nosh products are Daniella Lea Rada’s gorgeous pastries, like this rich hazelnut financier. . .

The Good Nosh

Photograph by Martha Williams

. . . this classic pain au chocolat (to be enjoyed with a rose latte) . . .

The Good Nosh

Photograph by Martha Williams

. . . and apple turnovers, i.e. French apple turnovers.

Evaluation
★ ★ ★ ★
65 Irby Ave, Buckhead
lebonnosh.com

This article originally appeared in our April 2022 issue.

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