This post is in collaboration with Whole Foods.
Last month, Whole Foods opened new fast casual restaurants at several of their New York locations. I jumped at the opportunity when I was invited to check out the goodies… I mean, working with Whole Foods is basically a veggie food blogger’s dream come true. Tag along with me on my mini food tour at Whole Foods Bowery, Gowanas, and Circle Columbus!
The first stop on the tour was BONMi at Whole Foods Bowery. For someone whose go to Whole Foods is normally the one at Union Square, the Bowery location was a breath of fresh air. You can browse the store leisurely, and if you need a little break, pop up to the second floor for a quick snack. That’s where you’ll find BONMi.
BONMi is a Vietnamese inspired fast casual restaurant serving non-traditional banh mi sandwiches, rice bowls, noodle bowls, and salads. They have another location at Lincoln Center and will be opening at Whole Foods Chelsea later this month. This is exactly the type of restaurant you would expect to find at Whole Foods with fresh, all natural, made from scratch ingredients.
At BONMI, the menu is simple: choose your base, choose your filling, choose your flavor. This is a BYOB type of place: build your own bowl. Most of the menu is vegan to begin with or can easily be made vegan by skipping certain sauces. If you’re looking for authentic Vietnamese food or rich flavors that punch you in a mouth, this isn’t for you. BONMi does modern interpretations of Vietnamese dishes with a focus on clean, healthy eating.
The jasmine rice and quinoa bowl is one of the prettiest things I’ve seen. For my filling, I went half and half with the tofu and seasonal veggies. After that, the bowl is topped with cilantro, carrots, cabbage, pickled onions, and slices of cucumber. The ingredients are simple and wholesome, and it’s the sauces that brings everything to life.
I had the three vegan sauces on the side to sample each one individually. Tough to pick a favorite! The 5-spice was the thickest of the three, almost goopy with a peppery aftertaste. The classic BONMi sauce was like a tangy salad dressing, while the chili-garlic goes heavy on both those flavors, while remaining refreshing.
If salads and rice bowls aren’t your thing, warm up with the hot noodle bowl with a vegan roasted garlic broth. The broth may be light, but it’s so satisfying to sip on. The vermicelli rice noodles are nice, but if you’re like me and need a little more flavor, bring on the sauces! If you like it spicy, ask for the BONfire sauce.
Most noodle bowls don’t do so well if you get them to go, but BONMi’s noodles hold up nicely. The veggies soaked up some of the roasted garlic flavor from the broth while still retaining their crunch, and the noodles don’t get mushy or bloated.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Whole Foods. I was invited as a guest to this establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.