Classic Southern and French dishes merge at Bonjour 

click to enlarge Chef Vuong Nguyen in the kitchen at Bonjour in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Chef Vuong Nguyen in the kitchen at Bonjour in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Bonjour does not mean hello.

I speak un peu français, and my mom taught French for 30 years and I like French food. So just trust me, OK? Bonjour means “good day.”

So, if someone asked you how the soup du jour is, you could say bon. Get it? Great.

When you walk into Bonjour, 3705 W. Memorial Road, Suite 707, you need to know that the restaurant is not merely greeting you. It’s informing your day — as in, if you’re lucky enough to have breakfast or lunch there, you’re probably going to have a good day.

Like so many good days, your trip to Bonjour should start with coffee.

At Bonjour, it’s a blend of famed New Orleans brand Café du Monde with Vietnamese brand Trung Nguyên, which has a bit of cocoa powder in it. The resulting cup is smooth as baby’s bottom made from silk that quotes Sade lyrics to a girl in the club. (That’s one smooooooth operator.)

click to enlarge Chicken and waffle at Bonjour in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Chicken and waffle at Bonjour in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

As long as you’re starting your day with a hint of chocolate, I feel honor bound to recommend the chocolate waffle ($6.99) for breakfast. Or lunch. Any time you can get one of these, basically, is a great time to get one of these. As the name implies, it’s a chocolate waffle. As the name doesn’t imply, it’s also covered in strawberry jam, spiced pecans, fresh whipped cream, blueberries and — dear lord — toffee.

Not everybody is into a sweet breakfast, and I can certainly sympathize. There is a middle ground.

The chicken and waffle ($8.99) isn’t what you might expect. Rather than fried chicken, this is a seasoned, seared breast sliced on a bias into tender wafers. The waffle underneath has a slight sweetness, but it finds balance when it’s topped with basil aioli, diced tomatoes and a perfectly poached little egg.

If the dish has a spiritual ancestor, it’s the dearly departed Thit Kho Tàu (perfect fried egg on top of pulled pork and rice) from Guernsey Park, the former home of Bonjour owner and head chef Vuong Nguyen.

click to enlarge Chocolate waffle at Bonjour in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 29, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Chocolate waffle at Bonjour in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

At Bonjour, the menu is less about international fusion and more about fusing classic French technique with delicious Southern staples. Case in point: Gruyere biscuit with deli gravy ($6.99).

It didn’t matter that my table with filled to overflowing with wonderful breakfast and lunch dishes; the simple, rustic Gruyere (pronounced grew-yare) biscuit was big, with a crispy crust and soft, pillowy insides yearning to soak up a mess of cream gravy.

Though it’s on the lunch menu, I would recommend the croque madame ($7.99) any time of day. Rather than the classic ham, Bonjour gives diners a choice of corned beef, turkey or pastrami. I chose the latter and couldn’t have been happier. With rye bread underneath and a poached egg in béchamel on top, it was the rich, flavorful, filling breakfast of my dreams. You will want a nap afterward. That’s a fact.

Head in for lunch and there are plenty of less-breakfast-y options available to you. Somehow, I left the French B.E.L.T. (bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato) on my to-do list, but I was pleased with the French Bomber ($8.99).

A truly great roast beef sandwich is hard to come by, but chef Nguyen created an umami tsunami with this one: beautiful medium rare roast beef with deep, dark sautéed mushrooms and provolone cheese served with a French onion jus.

The service is uniformly attentive and pleasant. Everybody wants to make sure your coffee cup is full. And with about 30 seats total, there’s no room for you to get lost in the mix.

Now the bad news: Bonjour is open Wednesday-Sunday. On weekdays, it closes at 5 p.m., so you can’t head there after work. On the weekends, it’s open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. And brunch, as you might imagine, fills up fast.

Located in far-flung northwest Oklahoma City, it’s not always an easy destination, but the food is too good to stay away for long. Bonjour already attracts plenty of notice, and now it’s your turn to see what all the fuss is about, because everyone in that restaurant seems intent on making sure you’re on your way to a good day by the time you walk out.

 

Print headline: Good day, Bonjour’s menu and service put you well on your way to happiness no matter the time.

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