The menu is a collaboration between a Hong Kong-born owner and a chef, of Mexican and Salvadorian descent, who has traveled through and cooked in China and Southeast Asia. One happy consequence: char siu married with flavors from both East and West.
Best known in western New York State, beef on weck ($10.95) piles thin-sliced roast beef on a hard roll, crusted with salt and caraway, called kummelweck. Horseradish is the standard condiment. Despite the wetness of the sandwich — Bonnie's doesn't stint on the juice, let alone on the beef — it's a thirst-inducing combination of flavors. Cole slaw dressed with red-pepper powder, and a plate of meaty Buffalo chicken wings (small, $8.95), will take you further down that road. Buffalo bar owners (so goes the story) first offered beef on weck as a way to sell more beer; Bonnie's will oblige you in that regard, too.
Occasion: a late afternoon coffee stop between a big lunch and an unexpected engagement for dinner. I was wondering aloud about the wildlife on the expansive mural (only a small section is shown here) on the sunny, south-facing wall outside Root Hill. My barista explained that the mural, designed by the artist Katherine Gressel and executed with the collaboration of neighborhood children, depicts animals that once might have lived in the marshy habitat nearby before the waters became too polluted. Most of those animals must be long gone, my barista added — and even if they return to the canal, I'm not sure I'm ready to sample Gowanus crayfish.
Durian doesn't play well with others. The spiky husk requires careful handling, to be sure, but the "king of fruits" is most notorious for the pungency of its custardlike flesh. Few shops make durian ice cream, out of concern that the scent will get into everything.
The immediate past tenant of this building seems to have been New Wing & Sing Poultry. The inspiration for the sculpted, colored decorations on the facade (click for a closer look) is more intriguing, and still a mystery.
Al-Noor Halal Chicken 204 20th St. (Fourth-Fifth Aves.), Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn 718-832-7338