Carytown beckoned me and two friends last night to check out the newest addition to the eating scene there, Bonvenu, in the space formerly occupied by The Track.
The interior has been vastly altered with lighter walls, sexy lighting and a new booth/table configuration.
The formerly frumpy fuddy-duddy got a Glamour Shots makeover and it's a huge improvement.
Best of all, the bar has been reworked into a larger, more user-friendly shape than the old cramped reverse L-shape.
Staff-wise, there were familiar faces from Mezzanine and Escobar, all friendly and seemingly psyched to welcome customers.
I staked out an end stool, my favorite bar position, followed shortly by Friend 1 and some time later, Friend 2 (not to be confused with Thing 1 and Thing 2).
Because Friend 2's arrival was delayed, we started with a bottle of Over the Edge Pinot Noir.
Midway through the bottle, and with Friend 2 nowhere in sight, we opted to try El Tesoro Tequila Anejo (F1's idea, although I was a most willing participant).
As one of those practically non-existent people who drink only wine and good tequila, I am always eager to try new varieties.
This one tasted of citrus and herbs and was as smooth as silk; for anyone who claims that they just can't stomach tequila, I respectfully suggest that you haven't tried the right one.
With wine and tequila in my recent past, it was time for some sort of victuals and I went with French Onion Soup, a dish I love but which is too often executed in a mediocre manner.
This was excellent and I was halfway through when Friend 2 arrived and the real ordering began in earnest.
F1 got the rack of lamb and F2 the trout.
I went with the Beggars' Purses stuffed with Tasso ham, lump crab meat and chevre with herbed lemon creme fraiche.
F2 was most pleased with her fish and F1 gave me several delicious bites of his cream sauce laden lamb.
My purses were a good size with their obscenely rich contents a nice contrast to the simple wrapper.
Since I can't discuss a restaurant experience without mentioning the audio component, here it is.
The bartender's iPod provided the music, and like so many twenty-somethings, he's a classic rock fan.
Something about not having lived through it seems to make it wildly appealing to subsequent generations (personally, I'm over most of it).
I will give him credit, though.
Although most of the artists were vintage, his song choices showed some creativity; we heard many more obscure tracks than big hits, always a plus in my book.
And yet again, I was rewarded with an enthusiastic "Good for you!" when he learned that I don't have a cell phone.
It never ceases to amaze me how impressed some people are when they discover I live my life without one.
Despite The Track having been the setting for a memorable first date, it was never high on my list of regular destinations.
If my next meal at Bonvenu is as impressive as tonight's was, that won't be the case with Bonvenu.