Living and working in New York City offers no shortage of gluten-free options. You can find pretty much any cuisine that you could possibly want with gluten-free options. I am always amazed that I am consistently finding new restaurants that cater to celiac diners. Of course technology plays a large role in my discovery since I use Seamless/GrubHub everyday to order lunch for delivery. I always search for those two magic words “gluten-free” to see what new restaurants or menu items pop-up in the results. Most recently, BONMi showed-up and I was intrigued. It was definitely new to me and nearly everything on the menu was gluten-free — not to mention I was intrigued by the use of fresh ingredients along with some very interesting flavor combinations.
BONMi was inspired by the flavors of the Bahn Mi sandwich (not gluten-free) but thankfully they decided to take the unique flavors and turn them into a range of options that are gluten-free. While the traditional Bahn Mi are on the menu it’s the various bowls that caught my attention. You can select from Jasmine Rice & Quinoa, Cold Vermicelli Noodles, Hot Noodles in Roasted Garlic Broth, Mixed Greens Salad or Half Salad/Half Rice & Quinoa — all gluten-free.
There are a few set ingredient bowls that you can order but I prefer the make-your-own option. You simply select a protein, with all meats prepared sous-vide (chicken, pulled pork, pork belly, 18-hour beef, chili garlic tofu, roasted portobello mushrooms or seasonal veggie) all of which are gluten-free. Next, add a sauce from a selection of BONMi sauce, Five Spice, Chili Garlic, Lemongrass, BBQ or Red Curry — again, all gluten-free. Finally, add your toppings from a gluten-free selection of cilantro, cucumber, lime, crispy onions, jalapeño, pickled carrots, seasonal veggie, roasted mushrooms, fried garlic, pickled red onions or toasted coconut. And there you have it — your bowl with be complete. The portion size is quite hearty and all of the ingredients are always fresh and vibrant with everything made to order.
I ordered two two days in a row, creating a cold noodle bowl with the 18-hour beef and chili garlic sauce — which was absolutely delicious. The beef was the most tender and flavorful you will find and the accompaniment of a host of fresh and pickled vegetables made this a true stand-out. It was such a departure from what you would expect from cold noodles — full of flavor without being salty allowing the beef and vegetables to shine. For my next order I opted for the jasmine rice and quinoa base with the pulled pork and BBQ sauce added to it. This also came with an additional spicy mayonnaise sauce that was truly remarkable — really flavorful and added an entirely different dimension to the dish.
I also ordered a summer roll each time full of rice noodles and fresh vegetables and served with a spicy peanut sauce that was the perfect accompaniment. The jasmine rice and quinoa bowl was so filling I actually could not manage to eat the summer roll — so one of my colleagues benefited.