Brunch at Vivo 53

TMA'ed while listening to Thinking About it by Nathan Goshen, KVR

Mari: Brunch, aka the meal where you can order both breakfast and lunch and not feel horrible about eating two meals in one sitting. Also known as my favorite meal.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking, how can it be my favorite meal if we hardly review brunch places? Well I eat brunch a lot, but sans Temi. Recently though, we were invited to try Vivo 53's new brunch menu.

Temi: Before we got invited, Mari had taken note of the new installment on Bellevue Way in downtown Bellevue and a few days before we went for brunch I went to happy hour there with some friends. I got their Pané Bianco and their brussel sprout salad, both of which impressed the hell out of my taste buds.

Mari: Full disclosure, brunch was on the house. That being said, in no way, shape or form is that going to affect this review. Before I get into the food, I have to say the place fit really well into the downtown Bellevue scene. They had iconic garage doors lining the entrance wall, big open space and a pretty good view of the kitchen at the back that reminded me of Earls across the street. What stood out for me was the brick wall art and the light fixtures giving it the vibe of a restaurant you might find in Chicago's U loop.

Temi: While Mari observed the décor, I perused their Italian brunch menu. Vivo 53 markets itself as authentic Italian, especially for their pizzas and pastas. Their brunch menu had us guessing though. The food on the menu sounded good, but none of it appeared to be particularly Italian. However, I didn’t need to peruse the menu to know that I had to get myself more of that Pané Bianco. I had dreams about it after having it at happy hour.

Mari: We started with the Pané Bianco and Cinnamon Sugar Beignets. The Pané Bianco wasn't exactly mind blowing for me. I guess that had more to do with the spread since I'm not huge on garlic. Beignets on the other hand were a beautiful delicious mess I want to eat for breakfast every day. The waiter described them well when he said they were more like donut holes. They were the best damn cinnamon sugar donut holes I've had in a while.  With the whipped cream they were delicious, with just the raspberry jam they were overpowered by the raspberry, but with both the whipped cream and the raspberry jam it was a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Temi: I could eat the Pané Bianco for days. Mari is trippin' for not liking garlic that much, garlic is LIFE. I liked the whole build your own garlic bread thing they had going. The spread had a nice kick at the end from the chili that I really appreciated. Combined with the warm bread, I was very pleased.

Mari: For our entrees, I ordered the French toast with a side of love-tapped potatoes and Temi ordered the chicken and waffles. The amount of French toast served was more than I've ever had at any other Seattle restaurant and I eat A LOT of French toast. As much as I want to say I loved the French toast, I felt it was too dry and quite basic. I uphold French toast to a certain standard in which the toast has soaked up its batter like a sponge and it has so much flavor it doesn’t need any syrup. Unfortunately, this French toast didn’t live up to it.

Temi: I've never understood the hype of chicken and waffles. I love waffles and I love chicken, but what's special about eating them together. It turns out I've been eating it wrong. You don’t have a bite of the chicken, then have a bite of the waffle, you have both together. Mind blown! Mari's mind was also blown when I asked her if I was supposed to eat them together.

Mari: Lord have mercy, I thought she was trolling me when she asked.

Temi: The chicken was a fried chicken breast that had been sliced in half and splayed before it was cooked. Due to this it lay well on the waffle, but more importantly it had good flavor distribution. The waffle tasted like a waffle, nothing special. It was sprinkled with salt, which kicked in at the end and surprised my taste buds in a weird way. However, when I realized I was supposed to eat the chicken and the waffle together the salt was less of an issue.

In Summary

We were excited to try out Vivo 53's new brunch and we came in with high expectations especially after Temi's experience at their happy hour.  Vivo 53 is in a great location, and its menu is perfect for the audience it caters to; shoppers, large parties, etc. While their appetizers were delicious and will keep us going back for more, our entrée choices didn’t wow us. Overall, we had a lovely brunch and ordered so much food that we had to take some to-go.

Ambience: Modern & Airy

Wait time:  5 mins

Food:  Italian & American

Would we go back?  Yes, we really want to try their pizza

Halal Friendly? Yes, the brunch is at least

Price: $$