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Cafe Bondi

g
Gail Feb 21, 1999 03:59 PM

I love to eat but the pasta that I ordered, a
traditional mix of sardines and raisins was not
bliss..it was inedible..the service was detached and
lacking as well

  1. g
    Giorgio Feb 27, 1999 01:31 PM

    The dish you ordered is called pasta chi sarde. It is a
    Sicilian specialty made with fresh sardines, finocchio
    selvatico (wild fennel),currants or raisins,and pinoli.
    Bondi, the only authentic Sicilian restaurant in
    Manhattan, makes an excellent version of the dish. They
    are the only place that actually uses Sicilian fennel,
    which the owner grows himself.Perhaps your tastebuds
    have been debased by too much bad Italian food, whether
    the many terrible versions of southern Italian cuisine
    or the so-called "northern italian" sold in many
    overpriced Italian restaurants in New York. (When I
    read some of the postings about Italian food from
    americani I sometimes don't know whether to laugh or
    cry.) No one should be discouraged from trying Bondi
    based on this person's posting.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Giorgio
      a
      Allan Evans Feb 27, 1999 02:21 PM

      Does Bondi's chef add saffron to the pasta con le
      sarde? My experiences were with bucatini. Which type of
      pasta is used? Also, where does this wild fennel grow?
      Once it's planted and tended, it is no longer so
      'selvatico'.

      1. re: Allan Evans
        g
        Giorgio Mar 3, 1999 10:13 AM

        Bucatini, also called perciatelli, is the pasta used
        for pasta chi sarde. Regarding the finocchio
        selvatico, yes, you are right, once it is cultivated
        it is no longer wild. But Salvo Anzalone, the owner of
        Bondi, grows the fennel with seeds he brought from
        Sicily so the flavor is more intense than the fennel
        available here in the US (which is often called
        "anise"). Zafferano (saffron) is a standard ingredient
        in pasta chi sarde; it must be used, while tomato is
        optional and some Sicilians insist it should not be
        used in the dish.

        1. re: Giorgio
          j
          Joseph May 17, 1999 07:35 PM

          I've been searching for finocchio selvatico for some
          time now. I understand that it's growing in Northern
          California. Does anyone know where I can get some.
          Will Mr. Anzalone part with some?

          1. re: Joseph
            j
            jonathan gold May 18, 1999 01:52 AM

            Not only does wild fennel grow in California,

            it's a freaking weed! When Spago first opened,

            many grilled things were garnished with fronds

            harvested from a plant that popped up unbidden

            through a crack in the parking lot.

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