Bonhomie is the newest restaurant to grace Burnet Road, and it’s been one that a lot of culinary folks have been looking forward to due its chef Philip Speer who used to work at Uchi. The French bistro offers a diner vibe, look, and feel with some surprising dishes like a Brisket stuffed croissant with pho broth dipping sauce and an entire section dedicated to dressed up hashbrowns called Pommes Rosti. You see your typical diner food like a Cheeseburger and Onion Rings, but it’s really an upscale diner when you dissect the menu and see a Crispy Octopus Lyonnaise, Soft Scrambled Egg Toast with Black Truffle, Gulf Prawns, and Gnocchi.
The restaurant is full of light as half are dedicated to windows that overlook Burnet Road and the open kitchen takes up a large part of the space allowing you to see the chefs and staff moving around and plating. I will say the back bar by the bathroom is a little desolate so not the best placing, but you’ll want to cozy up into the maroon booths anyway because, hey, this IS a diner!
Start with the French Dip Croissant with brisket obviously. Not because it’s gimmicky and instagram worthy, but because you need to see for yourself how incredible the pairing actually works. The layers of the flaky bread soak up the pho liquid in just the perfect amount, and it really reminds me of a Vietnamese café, which is mentally confusing as you look at what your eating but similarly pleasing as it hits your tastebuds. Also, you only need a few bites of this to fully enjoy and appreciate it. The toast beneath the shaved truffles and soft scrambled eggs would make a mean French Toast combo. It’s Texas Toast Brioche and buttery as hell. You’r at a diner so get some eggs in ya!
Feel free to skip the Carrot Salad, but don’t ski the Loup de Mer. I loved this seabass with mussels, confit garlic, purple potato, and basil. If only my brisket croissant was left over to dip in here! Anyway, you can’t get a fish this nice at any diner so this really kicks the restaurant up a level. Bonhomie allows you to have any type of experience you want with a dish like this crossing the menu. You can go for the comfort Croque Monsieur, French Onion Soup, or get a high end fish at a relatively lower price of $22 compared to other finer restaurants.
The Rotisserie Chicken Dinner served with Cassoulet, Root Vegetables, and Chervil is $38 for a whole and $20 for a half. The whole can feed 4 -5 easily if you are sharing and attacking the whole menu by storm. I really loved this Cassoulet as I honestly can’t recall if I’ve ever even had it before. You can also order this as a side if you don’t want to commit to the chicken dinner. There is one big yellow, highlighted section on the menu dedicated to potatoes with not one, not two, but SIX options. The Pommes Roti is basically like a pile of crisped potatoes with something fancy schmancy piled on top to make it more of a meal or an exciting side. You can choose from Bacon Soft Scramble Boursin; Apple Sauce, Yogurt, Chive; Lox Dill, Caper, Tomato; Roasted Mushroom, Caramelized Onion, Spinach; Foie Gras Gravy, Cognac, Soft Egg; or Caviar Créme Fraiche, Garlic Candy. I’m more of a frenchy fry mac ‘n cheese lady than a straight up potato, so the Gnocchi a la Pariienne with brown butter and parsley really blew me away! I mean where have you seen Gnocchi as a side! It answers all of your prayers and hard times when you are trying to decide if you really want a whole bowl of gnocchi for your entree because then you miss out on other things. Therefore, this is the answer to all your ordering problems.
Since I went the first week Bonhomie opened, I’d say I was really impressed with the level of the food at such an early stage. The Chocolate Cake was a bit of a disappointment as it wasn’t as rich as I’d have liked it to be, but now that the restaurant has been open more than a month, I’d definitely risk trying it again.
Bonhomie is fun for Austin as it fits in well. People here love a good casual diner, but are also willing to try to new things and expand their palates and culinary education. This restaurants marries both things. It’s not going to be the place that is your fun night out on a Saturday night, but it will give you what you are looking for food wise, and I’m sure their brunch will be rocking when they launch!