Town’s greatest new “gefilte” fish isn’t at a Kosher deli. It’s at a Cantonese-American restaurant in Brooklyn the place some dishes style extra Italian than Chinese language. Is New York a enjoyable place to eat, or what?
Bonnie’s, at 398 Manhattan Ave. in Williamsburg, is 2022’s “It place” for enjoyable fusion with its distinctive takes on dishes from cacio e pepe to McDonald’s McRib. Named for Bay Ridge-born chef Calvin Eng’s mother, it’s been one of many hardest locations to get into because it opened in December.
Know this: Bonnie’s (to not be confused with unrelated Bonnie’s Grill in Park Slope) may be as loud because the close by BQE. A raucous entrance bar may remind you of a sports activities bar with extra trendy clientele. A crimson exit signal’s the closest factor to decor in a spare white room.
However its mere 40 seats are price preventing — or at the least ready — for.
Eng cheerfully reinterprets New York-style Chinese language favorites in a method that respects each Asian and European influences. A superb introduction to his playful method is dace fish in a tin, a typical merchandise in Chinese language supermarkets right here however uncommon in eating places. The carp-family species is lusciously melded with fermented black bean sauce and served with what the menu calls “premium Saltines” for simple scooping.
Tiny fish and shrimp wontons in parmesan citrus broth do a suave visible impersonation of tortellini en brodo, however the zesty taste is something however rooster soup. A extra bold Italianate departure, fuyu cacio e pepe mein, might be a fiasco in lesser palms, however Eng actually is aware of what he’s doing.
The waiter introduced, “It tastes like Rome however it begins in a wok with fermented bean curd.” In actual fact, I preferred it higher than many cacio e pepe renditions I’ve had in Rome.
Eng tops bucatini with sheets of pecorino and parmesan cheese. The pasta is sparked by black and white pepper and lent a satisfying umami depth with Chinese language fermented bean paste.
They sadly have been out of cha siu-glazed McRibs — pork sandwiches on croissants — that had company at a unique desk yelping with pleasure. However for my cash, the showstopper is yeung yu sang choi bao — not precisely gefilte, however possessed of the Jewish household favourite’s barely funky style and soothing mouth really feel.
It’s a labor-intensive, complete trout dish that Eng mentioned he made “as a child with my mother and aunt once we wished to spend the day within the kitchen collectively.
“Clients who aren’t Cantonese inform me it jogs my memory of gefilte fish,” Eng mentioned. With a distinction: One in all my company who was unaware of Eng’s remark enthused, “That is like gefilte fish however 10 occasions higher.”
Eng bones the trout and removes the pores and skin. The fish is minced with shrimp, water chestnut, ginger and garlic chives, then whipped to the feel of a fish cake.
The combination is stuffed again into the pores and skin, crisped up, reduce into eight sections and served with head and tail. Pickled inexperienced mustard supplies the mildly acidic icing on the cake.
There’s just one dessert (in addition to a fruit plate) — a chow nai sundae of melted fried milk, Ovaltine scorching fudge, vanilla ice cream and buttered peanuts. However after so many sparks and surprises, its candy and clean essence is all you’ll want or need.