Bem Bōm's Francisco "Chico" Mendonça is the latest chef to use his popular food truck as a conveyance to a land-bound restaurant. He recently opened a wheelless version of Bem Bōm, which features a Portuguese menu, in a freestanding building in Audubon Park.
The food truck business has proved a bumpy road for many who have tried and failed. Bem Bōm, however, has enjoyed a healthy popularity since 2012 and was once featured on Food Network's "Eat St." Heck, Bem Bōm has lasted longer than that tv show.
The new restaurant is attractively casual. There is an ample patio out front with a bar that looks into the small dining room. A tiled wall lends a Portuguesian flair while woods, including a wall of end caps from wine cases, give a rustic note.
The Lamb Burger was a favorite of mine from when I reviewed the food truck in January of 2014. It's still good, a freshly-ground and thickly shaped patty, grilled to the requested medium rare, topped with pico de gallo and piri piri sauce. The piquancy of the piri was a nice complement to the gaminess of the lamb. I wasn't a fan of the hard Portuguese bun it was served on, but it's a Portuguese restaurant, so you roll with the roll you're given.
My friend had the Carnitas Tacos, a trio of corn tortillas stuffed with moist shredded pork, matchstick radish and fresh cilantro leaves. A squish of avocado-tomatillo sauce was mildly spiced.
Our side order of Bomb Fries, with flash-fried basil, chilies, truffle oil and parmesan reggiano shredded to a fluff, was a dud. (And way overpriced at six bucks.)
Pastel de Nata, the Portuguese tarts filled with egg custard, were delicious, even the next morning when I enjoyed them with my coffee.
Service was appropriately friendly and helpful, from the young fellow pouring water to the woman who took our order and delivered the food.
I took the suggestion from a line on the menu to "ask your server about our daily special." She said there wasn't one that day. I asked why.
"Because the chef is at an event with the truck tonight," she replied.
Bem Bōm is at 3101 Corrine Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch Thursday through Sunday and for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The phone number is 407-960-5101