Pecan Sour – Bourbon, Cognac, Benedictine, Pecan, Almond, Lemon
Bon Bread Service – Meyer Lemon and Leek Fougesse
Chef’s Canapé Board – Cheesy Bites, Tomato Tartare, Chicken Liver Mousse
Carolina Gold Risotto – Country Ham, Persimmon, Truffle
Rye Cavatelli – Sarawak Pepper, Sbrinz, Armagnac
Dungeness Crab – Pain de Mie, Avocado, Mustard Beurre Blanc
Maine Scallops – Kohlrabi Puree, Winter Citrus, Hazelnut
Labelle Farms Duck Breast – Pain Perdue, Huckleberry, Truffled Jus
Raclette Potatoes – Beer Cheese, Pickled Onions, Mustard
French Grits – Beech Mushrooms, Burnt Onion Syrup
Cold Brew Coffee
Strawberry Pavlova – Harry’s Berries, Litchi, Rose Geranium
Gateaux Philadelphia – Tahitian Vanilla, Hibiscus, Red Currant
St. Honore – Pecan Mousseline, Chantilly, Caramel
Long employed as a Pastry Chef, Lincoln Carson’s CV includes Michelin 3* establishments in New York, Picasso Las Vegas and eight years as a corporate Chef for MINA Group, thus it should come as no surprise that the Food at Bon Temps in Los Angeles’ Arts District is visually stunning, which begs the question of how much fancy plating and a downtown address are worth in an ever-changing dining scene?
Debuted in Summer 2019, and quick to gather accolades from local press, it is down an alley off Santa Fe Avenue that guests will first notice gate and signage, an outdoor patio unveiled next while the expansive indoor space extends left from an elevated glass-enclosed kitchen.
The first solo Restaurant for Lincoln, Bestia around the corner and Bavel down the way both sporting lines prior to entry while Bon Temps remained 80% empty throughout a two-hour meal, it was at a long table amidst industrial-chic design that guests sat, service efficient but a bit too serious for someplace promising “good times.”
All exposed ductwork and marble, a dining area behind the bar narrow with a sense of intimacy, it was after requesting drinks that an order fell into place, prices predictably on the high side such as in the case of a forgettable Canapé Board that works out to approximately $5.25 per bite after tax and tip.
Sipping a Pecan Sour, its smoothness undeniable for such a Spirit-forward mix, better value is found in $7 “Bon Bread Service” featuring fluffy Carbs coated in Meyer Lemon and Leeks while Carson’s oft-praised Dungeness Crab dare not be called a “Cake” as the binder is Scallop Mousse rather than Bread Crumbs with a Pain de Mie Tuile separating Shellfish from Avocado and Greens.
Recently doing away with Breakfast as a result of slow sales, items “to continue” marched on with Rice and Pasta, Bon Temps’ Carolina Gold Risotto up-selling a wad of Ham atop Persimmons with reduced Truffles while Rye Cavatelli toys with the idea of Cacio e Pepe by way of Sarawak Pepper and Sbrinz that finishes sweet on the palate thanks to Brandy.
Only offering the $80 Jidori Chicken to-share Friday through Sunday all of a sudden, Entrees instead featured Maine Scallops and Duck, the former seared amidst Kohlrabi Puree with Hazelnuts for texture and the Breast a woefully small portion bolstered by eggy Bread with cooked Huckleberries.
More impressed by Sides than Main Courses, both Potatoes in Raclette Beer Cheese and creamy Grits with Mushrooms and sugary Onion Syrup served in sharable portions, Dessert is predictably where Carson’s cooking shines, a Soufflé that was requested early – per menu instructions – unfortunately forgotten by the waiter but Harry’s Berries atop crisp Meringue a sufficient stand-in.
Requesting Cold Brew Coffee to go with Dessert, its lingering Caramel notes well-suited to Bon Temps most famous creation, suffice it to say that the Cheesecake titled “Gateaux Philadelphia” will certainly have its fans, but in the end all will be clamoring about Carson’s $23 St. Honore that is equally complex and gorgeous thanks to superlative Choux, Bourbon-Vanilla Cake, Pecan Mousseline, Chocolate and Chantilly.