Le Bon de Cuisine in San Jose keeps it simple. Its menu is trim and tidy, a nod to the restaurant's beginnings as a food truck. It's choices are pretty clear here: soup, salad, burgers, sandwiches or noodles.
In our case, we tried just about a little bit of everything, family style.
The food at this South San Jose restaurant is mostly Vietnamese, with a deliberate nod to its French influences and a modern American twist.
The decor of the 7-month-old eatery is sleek and modern. One of my dinner companions said it was the nicest decor she's seen in a counter-service restaurant. Our boisterous group found plenty of space on a weekend afternoon.
We had big fans of garlic noodles at our table, so we
Another good one to share was the amazing Asian salad ($6.95), a platter piled with romaine lettuce, Napa cabbage, carrots, crispy wonton wrappers and grilled chicken -- all tossed with a light sesame vinaigrette. It was a great value and fresh counterpoint to the heavier entrees.
If you like pork -- we all did in our party -- the pork sandwiches are great bets. We enjoyed the Fat Charles
Our favorite sandwich almost looks like a postscript on the menu: the Buddha Bun ($3). It scored well during our meal because of the nicely caramelized pork belly, stuffed into a soft-as-a-cloud bun with green onions, cucumbers and papaya. A couple of these would make a satisfying and inexpensive to-go lunch.
For beef lovers, the three burgers at Le Bon de Cuisine feature thick hand-formed Angus beef patties. We went with the King Louis ($9.50), which featured crumbled bacon, arugula, tomatoes, grilled onions and, on suggestion of the employee who took our order, Gouda cheese instead of the usual béchamel sauce.
We ordered a side of Truffle Fries ($3.50). A drizzle of truffle oil and dusting of Parmesan elevates the fries. But the fries' flavors were lost with so much rich food on our table. Next time, we'll try them solo or with lighter fare.
Besides the usual fountain drinks, Le Bon de Cuisine has a few specialty drinks available. The Vietnamese Iced Coffee ($3.50) was smooth and strong. The refreshing Bangkok Iced Tea ($2) reminded us of a basil-infused lemonade.
Le Bon de Cuisine is an incarnation of a food truck run by the Nguyen family (the food truck is on hiatus but should be back soon, according to the person who took our order). And the eatery's website points out that the restaurant's roots stretch back decades to the family restaurant the Nguyens launched in Saigon during the 1950s.
Le Bon de Cuisine
5592 Santa Teresa Blvd.,
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays;
11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays
Types of food: Vietnamese with French and American influences
Average meal price: $10
Good choices: Garlic Noodles and Buddha Buns
Attitude: Very friendly, casual
Amenities: Lots of seating inside
Drinks: Fountain drinks, iced coffee, house iced tea
Eat in car: Yes
Next-day edibility: Noodles and salads would be OK, but the sandwiches are better eaten ASAP.
Who goes there: Families, local residents
Credit cards: All major ones
Parking: In shopping center parking lot
Restaurant reviews are conducted anonymously. The Mercury News pays for all meals.