Good news, Bushwick! We’ve got an Asian fusion restaurant in the neighborhood now, and it’s well worth the distinction of being the first. Barcey’s Coffee owners Christine and Ron Guillen opened Bon! Asian Spice Cafe just across the street this past summer, where they’re serving up a lots of Eastern goodies on St. Nicholas.
Christine and Ron are both Filipinos – Christine moved to New York from the Philippines in 2007, though Ron grew up in Brooklyn – and have always wanted to bring some of the foods they grew up with to Bushwick. And while they don’t feature Filipino food on the evolving menu just yet, (they plan to in the near future) they got the idea for Bon from a sushi chef friend, deciding to offer delicacies from all sorts of Asian cuisines. “We love this neighborhood, and one of the things we really wanted here was a variety of foods,” Christine told us. “What we don’t have here is a lot of Asian cuisine, and we are from Asia, so we think it’s cool to have that in our neighborhood. When people talk about Asian food, they think it’s Chinese food, and there are a lot of countries in Asia.”
We got to sample a whole bunch of specialty dishes in Bon’s sweet, intimate space, starting with yakisoba ramen noodles stir-fried with shrimp and chicken ($11) and pan-fried pork gyoza with house-spiced banana ponzu sauce ($5). The noodles were wonderfully hearty, and the gyoza, made from Ron’s family recipe, provided a complimentary savory crunch. Next, we tried one of Bon’s best treats, slow-roasted pork belly sliders on a steamed bun with scallions ($4). The pork belly was perfectly cooked, lean and tender with just the right about of trimmed fat, and was paired well with the sweet bun. Finally, we sunk our teeth into Bon’s most popular dish, braised pork belly resting on a bed of bokchoy and spicy kimchi sauce ($12). The dish is so well-liked Christine told us it sold out the night before, and we can see why – like the pork belly sliders, the meat is satisfyingly super tender, and the added kick of the kimchi sauce emphasizes its natural salty flavor. We also tried some Asian citrus lemonade with honey, ($3.5) made with the juice of lemons from the Philippines, and the drink was refreshing without suffering from overwhelming sweet or sour.
They also do brunch daily, though they are closed Sundays, offering typical American breakfast dishes with an Asian twist, like bulgogi omelettes ($9.50), shrimp and grits ($12) and waffles with Japanese-style fried chicken ($12). Bon! Asian Spice Cafe is still evolving – they plan to add more dishes to the menu over time, and hope to get a liquor license soon so they can serve Asian brews and sake. We can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for us next.