Bon Temps: A Very, Very Good Time
Amongst the movement and deep within the elder Angeleno bricks of our city, we find a warm feeling, we find our neighborhoods. A neighborhood doesn't have to be officially marked by city lines, or defined by a coordinate on a map. As downtowners, we help define the term neighborhood by connecting to a feeling of unity and homage, one that you can always return to at the beginning or end of the day. It's a place where daily paths cross with familiar faces as weekly routines unwind, truly the hive of where we've chosen to spend our daily lives. In the evolving Arts District, we say hello to a new chic ecosystem to gather, a place built for an all-day dining and gathering experience. Our new neighbor, Bon Temps, is a modern California brasserie rooted in French foundation, offering in bulk what the name simply translates to, good time.
Lincoln Carson understands the importance of California's local ingredients. As Chef and partner of Bon Temps, he taps into over 28 years of industry knowledge and experience to craft a high level of hospitality. Not to mention, he is a local neighbor in the Arts District—fitting of course. His journey to Bon Temps starts just like any local inhabitant or visitor, a trek down an inviting and curious brick alley to reveal a 45 person patio, capped off with two native olive trees at the end.
Stepping inside from the alley you'll be faced with the helm of the ship, a 30-foot Carrara marble bar top with a partitioned display. The bones of the building reveal the gritty skeleton of steel and concrete, while douglas fir wood, leaning spotlights, and cognac leather give a modern polish to the awakened soul of the space—you can taste the divine atmosphere before you even order a dish or sip a drink.
If you're a morning person, the case on the bar will be decorated with mouth-watering baked goods and pastries, a nod to Carson's years as a coveted pastry chef. The display transitions into a raw bar as the sun shadows flip from east to west through the large floor to ceiling windows. Treat yourself with a good book at the bar, or stop in to take a well-deserved break amongst a busy work day for a satisfying lunch.
A friendly forewarning, lunch can quickly turn to early evening appetizers or dinner service when guided by Bar Director Mike Lay's shaken or stirred imbibes. Mike is meticulous and focused, while simultaneously carrying a laid back free spirited mindset. The menu focuses on a French drinking culture and is broken into three categories featuring Avant cocktails, or aperitifs. Trou Normand, mixtures meant to re-engage the appetite, and Apres, or digestifs—whatever state you find yourself in, Mike has a mixture to match your current mindset.
The Intoxication moves far beyond the spirits. Bon Temps modern renditions of brasserie flow from the kitchen in forms of dishes like Dungeness crab cakes with sweetbreads, fresh Bibb lettuce salads with crispy pig ears, or opt for larger dishes like the two-bone, 45-day dry-aged Creekstone ribeye served table-side—each dish or offering executed with passion and precision.
Bon Temps is open for dinner and will expand hours to all-day dining, opening its alleyway doors to the neighborhood for any kind of visitor, thus adding an unmatched atmosphere to gather within when seeking a good time. It offers that feeling that you can return to at the beginning or end of the day in the form of hospitality, one that you could only hope to exist in every neighborhood you chose to live in.
Written by Travis Platt | Photography by GL Askew II