On this glorious winter morning, we made the short drive to St. Paul restaurant Bon Vie Bistro (and their bakery, A Piece of Cake). The small venue is tucked into a quaint neighborhood on Selby Avenue and stands alone in a rather awkward cube of a building. Trying not to judge based on outward appearance, we walked into the venue and decided to give it a chance. The place was pretty empty, which is to be expected early on a Sunday morning, so we had our choice of seats. But, seeing as there were only a little over a dozen tables in a small space, the seating was cozy. Nevertheless, we settled in and took a few moments to survey the surroundings. The walls were packed with Parisian posters and plaques – not the subtle and tasteful kind, but the tacky, over-the-top, from Target’s college Room Essentials collection kind. And trust me, as someone who was obsessed with Paris for 19 years of my life, I know my Parisian decor.
Our waitress approached, handing us a few menus and walking away to grab the coffees that we ordered. She came back right away (because she didn’t have any other diners to serve) and asked ‘Are you girls ready to order?’ We weren’t and she didn’t like that. She slouched away…And came back about 25 seconds later and asked again, ‘Are you girls ready to order?’ ‘Oh yes, those 25 seconds were just enough for me to read the entire menu and make a decision,’ I didn’t say. So she left again. And this time she was gone a bit longer. I liked that. Then I looked at the menu. The breakfast menu is pretty small, but does offer enough options as far as breakfast favorites go. After a quick glance (that still took more than 25 seconds) at the non-extensive options, we decided.
Our waitress came back. ‘Are you girls ready to order?’ I narrowed my eyes at her. Each ‘girls’ was spoken intentionally, filled with assumptions about our age, maturity level, and capability. Um, lady. There’s this thing called respect. Even though I don’t really know how to do my taxes, still call my mom when I have a questionable cough, and get really excited for birthday cake, I also have a well-paying corporate job, have traveled the world all by myself, and could kick your ass at the drop of a hat. So I suggest you step off and take my order with a respectful smile. Speaking of ordering, I grumpily opted for the Bon Vie Scrambler ($9.75) and my breakfast partner selected the Toad in the Hole ($9.95).
As we waited for our food, my coffee (which was meh) was refilled a couple of times, which, if you know anything about me at all, you know is normal. But, throughout the morning, with each fill of my coffee cup, our waitress made a comment about how much coffee I was drinking:
‘You sure are thirsty this morning!’ she giggled.
‘Did you have a rough night?’ she cooed.
‘Wow, what is that, number twelve?’ she grinned.
‘Have you looked into getting help?’ she laughed.
‘Have you ever been punched in the face?!’ I yelled.
I did not care for her.
Finally, finally, our food came. My eggs were scrambled with breakfast sausage, scallions, and potatoes, and I replaced the accompanying toast with a side of fruit. The scallions seasoned the whole dish nicely, giving the eggs a fuller body of flavor. The eggs were also actually well-cooked – not overly moist or dry, which I appreciated. And I liked that the potatoes were sprinkled throughout. The four pieces of fruit were four pieces of fruit. Overall, I was decently satisfied, but nowhere near wowed.
My breakfast partner enjoyed her breakfast well enough. Her meal came with two pieces of sweet apple cinnamon toast grilled with eggs in the middle. The fact that the egg was grilled into cinnamon toast (not just regular bread) made it pretty unique. The sweetness of the bread contrasted nicely with the savory egg. Her side of bacon was also pretty good, coming as a thicker cut, which is ideal, but would have been better with a little fat on the edges. But that’s all about personal preference. Again, all in all, it was decent – nothing more, nothing less.
Bon Vie had average food, okay coffee, and a decent menu. Though some may consider their staff simply friendly and chatty, I found them to be condescending and critical. Our morning wasn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t go back. Not even for A Piece of Cake.
Coffee Quality: 7
Food Quality: 8
Quality of Service: 6
Menu Variety: 8
Overall Satisfaction: 7
Parking: street parking
Average Score: 7.3
Have you been to Bon Vie?
Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Bon Vie for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
485 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55102