First Look: Chef’s Le Bon Nosh in Buckhead is just start of bigger plan

Le Bon Nosh's pear galette (left), beet salad (upper left), beet-cured salmon (center) and pistachio cake (lower right) are shown with tea and latte. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh's pear galette (left), beet salad (upper left), beet-cured salmon (center) and pistachio cake (lower right) are shown with tea and latte. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh opened last week at The Irby residential development in Buckhead. The cafe and market from chef Forough Vakili occupies a 6,300-square-foot corner space on Irby Avenue.

The name roughly translates to the good bite. And the design with L.A.-based firm Commune captures that raison d’etre in an atmosphere that’s both elegant and welcoming, while featuring finishes that reflect Vakili’s Persian heritage.

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Le Bon Nosh's owner, chef Forough Vakili, says in designing the place, "I very much wanted it to feel like a home." (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh's owner, chef Forough Vakili, says in designing the place, "I very much wanted it to feel like a home." (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh's owner, chef Forough Vakili, says in designing the place, "I very much wanted it to feel like a home." (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

There are multiple indoor and outdoor seating options, including sidewalk tables, a covered patio, and a more formal dining room with a soon-to-open wine bar. Up a sweeping staircase, a “secret mezzanine” with a terrace offers a venue for events and private dining.

There are multiple options for all-day eating and drinking, too, including an espresso bar, and morning menu of house-made pastries and sweet and savory breakfast items. Currently, for lunch or dinner, sides, mains, tartines and galettes are served from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays.

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Le Bon Nosh's espresso bar helps maintain the restaurant's all-day vibe. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh's espresso bar helps maintain the restaurant's all-day vibe. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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Le Bon Nosh's espresso bar helps maintain the restaurant's all-day vibe. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

The stylish market area offers seating at banquettes and communal tables, with views of the display kitchen, which is equipped with a custom La Cornue range, and surrounded by bakery and prepared food cases.

A nearby wall holds rows of shelves stocked with curated kitchen essentials. Just above it, there’s a window that gives visitors a glimpse of the wood-fired grill in the prep kitchen.

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Le Bon Nosh owner and chef Forough Vakili, who grew up in Iran, now considers Atlanta her home. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh owner and chef Forough Vakili, who grew up in Iran, now considers Atlanta her home. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh owner and chef Forough Vakili, who grew up in Iran, now considers Atlanta her home. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Last week on opening day, Vakili sat down at a table in the market and talked about her somewhat unlikely journey from Georgia Tech student to chef and restaurateur, with a sojourn to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in between.

“I grew up in Iran, and I came to the U.S. for educational reasons, mainly. Now I’ve lived in Atlanta for 21 years, so this is home,” Vakili said. “I trained as a chemical engineer at Georgia Tech. I always had a burning interest in food, but it really wasn’t until I decided to go to culinary school in France that I noticed that a big part of who I am was missing from my life in America.

“I grew up on a farm, with parents who owned land, and one of the things I grew up knowing was nature, and eating in season from the land around us. Coming to the U.S., we could have anything any time of year, but nothing ever tasted as amazing as what I remembered back home. Being in France was more similar to my upbringing. That’s when I made a mental note that I wanted to create a space that was about those moments that I missed from my childhood.”

After culinary school, Vakili came back to Atlanta and took a job with Porsche, doing pop-up dinners, and overseeing the food side of the Experience Center. But her ultimate goal was to create her own restaurant, based on local, simple, seasonal ingredients.

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Le Bon Nosh beet-cured salmon with tzatziki, soft-boiled eggs, pickled red onion, herb salad, and rye bread. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh beet-cured salmon with tzatziki, soft-boiled eggs, pickled red onion, herb salad, and rye bread. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh beet-cured salmon with tzatziki, soft-boiled eggs, pickled red onion, herb salad, and rye bread. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Vakili describes Le Bon Nosh as “a neighborhood kitchen,” adding, “I have something to offer for breakfast. I have something to offer for lunch. You can take away dinner. You can come in between those times for meetings or coffee and pastry.

“When we went into designing the space, there was an intention to make it very airy and something like California-meets-France. But I very much wanted it to feel like a home.”

Talking about the menu, Vakili said she doesn’t always know how to describe her style of cooking. “I think first of ingredients, then what’s the best way to use them,” she explained. “I always let the seasons dictate my menu. Everything is driven from the farmers market, and I would say the style is very close to California cuisine.”

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Le Bon Nosh pear galette, with Gruyere, bacon lardons, chicory, and side salad. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh pear galette, with Gruyere, bacon lardons, chicory, and side salad. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh pear galette, with Gruyere, bacon lardons, chicory, and side salad. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

For breakfast, you’ll find lighter items, such as an oat bowl with labneh, local almond butter, seasonal fruit, and toasted seeds, as well as a more substantial board with house beet-cured salmon, soft-boiled eggs, herb salad, and hearty rye bread. For lunch or dinner, look for the likes of lobster potato salad, wood-grilled salmon, seared tuna, and a pear galette with Gruyere, bacon lardons, and chicory.

“This is meant to have a multitude of concepts,” Vakili said. “Beyond breakfast and lunch, you can grab and go from the cases, with home staples, such as chicken noodle soup, bone broth, salads. That’s basically what I envision as a quick stop to grab dinner on your way home.

“In the evenings, the wine bar will come into the picture with European-style service. You come in, you go up to the bar, you order your first round of wine and food, you sit down, and after that, we serve you at your table.”

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Le Bon Nosh beets, beet greens, avocado, and savory seeds. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh beets, beet greens, avocado, and savory seeds. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh beets, beet greens, avocado, and savory seeds. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

Though Le Bon Nosh is still in its earliest opening stage, Vakili said there is much more to come, including cooking classes, branded products, and more locations.

“The intention is to take this concept national,” she revealed. “The idea is to build a lifestyle brand. And how I treat the space is as a showroom into the brand. So everything you touch, you feel, you experience is something that has been thought out and considered from a consumer’s perspective.”

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Le Bon Nosh's pistachio cake and a latte. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Le Bon Nosh's pistachio cake and a latte. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Le Bon Nosh's pistachio cake and a latte. (Mia Yakel for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Mia Yakel

Credit: Mia Yakel

DINING OUT

7 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

65 Irby Ave. NW, Suite 103, Atlanta. 404-835-2007, lebonnosh.com.

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