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Sep 8, 2009 09:50 AM

Fond in Philadelphia

Does anyone have any information about a new restaurant in Philly called Fond?

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    1. I took myself to dinner there on Saturday night. I had three appetizers: the asparagus, the octopus salad and the sweet breads. Everything was very good--actually the asparagus was exceptional (I'm still thinking about it). The prices are reasonable (I spent $38 including my after dinner coffee). What else? The woman next to me said the halibut entree was a "little bit of heaven." Service was professional and very sweet, plus the chefs came out a thanked diners for supporting them during their first week. I will definitely go back.

      6 Replies
      1. re: darling

        WEe ate there last night. The place is nicely decorated in beige and dark green with dark wood tables and chairs. Service was exceptional -- we were greeted by name after claiming our reservation (Open Table) and called by name throughout the meal. First course we had the sweet corn risotto (my husband ordered it without the spiced pancetta because of the sodium & because he doesn't like bacon in any form) and I had the grilled asparagus with fried egg. He said the risotto was good but not exceptional; the asparagus was very good and had the most delicious crisp buttery crumbs & caramelized shallots with it.

        The main course was halibut with sweet pea ravioli for him and the special, skate wing with lentils for me. He said the halibut was good but not great; the skate wing was exceptionally good with a delicious buttery sauce.

        Dessert was the pavlova with grilled peach for me, and the irish coffee souffle cake with whisky caramel and butterscotch shortbread for him. We shared the desserts. They were both very good -- but not the kind of desserts we really love.

        Overall, we liked the food very much but didn't love it like we did at Bibou. The service was exceptional and two of the chefs, one male and one female (Jessie, the pastry chef) , came out to speak with us. Both look very young. We will eat there again.

        1. re: Beulah

          Thanks for the writeup. Can you compare the prices and value compared to Bibou or other BYOBs?

          1. re: barryg

            We ate their Thurs. The octopus salad, halibut w/pea ravioli and the pavlova were excellent! The corn risotto, salmon, and chocolate dessert, were good...not excellent. French press coffee was a bit watered down.
            Only a couple nights in...but we had a couple service issues...the waiter started giving our wine to another customer and their wasn't enough coffee for the 2 of they brought more...which could explain why it was watery!
            But they were very nice and attentive and I chalked it up to being the first week.

            As far as a comparison to Bibou...Fond is pretty much in the same ballpark price wise...maybe a bit less. Service and ambience-wise...Bibou is more polished- even their first week. But Fond really fits well the the vibe on Passyunk. I'm happy to see a replacement for Clementines.
            All this being said...we'll return soon!

            1. re: pat j

              I checked it out too and pretty much agree. The food was all good, some of it excellent. Their heart is in the right place as far as the service goes, but we had similar issues. The coffee is served in a french press (good), but they didn't let it steep long enough (bad). They took our wine bottle away to keep it cool (can be good), but we sat without wine at one point (very bad!) while the servers were busy elsewhere. I wasn't crazy about any of the desserts, which was surprising because they have a dedicated pastry chef. Some dishes showed a lot of skill and thought, like the skate wing Beulah described. That was a great dish. We tried the halibut as well and it was good, but didn't come together like the skate dish did, the ravioli were the best part and there weren't many of them. Overall, it's definitely much better than Clementine's and I think it will probably be around for a while on the Avenue, especially since they fixed the front of the building so it looks like an actual restaurant with people inside. Before, it was way too dark to even see if there was anything inside.

              I guess comparisons to Bibou are inevitable, since they're both French (or in Fond's case, heavily French-influenced), kind of near each other, and the prices are comparable. Personally, I'd rather eat at Bibou any day of the week, but then of course, Pierre Calmels has a lot more experience than the crew at Fond, and frankly Bibou is the best new restaurant to open in the city in quite a while, it's hard for any place to compete, even a very good place like Fond.

              1. re: Buckethead

                Went to Fond last night. As noted by others, the food was good. We especially liked the corn risotto and the steak. I wish they had been serving the skate but they weren't. Only complaint is that the coffee was weak. My problem is with the atmosphere. While pretty enough, it lacked something. Perhaps white tablecloths. I didn't think the motown music added anything. I can't really put my finger on it, but Fond left me cold. I'm not really sure why it is being compared to Bibou, except for the fact that the chef is a LBF alumnus. They aren't French, or even French-influenced. When I asked our server (one of the owners), he said "American with various influences, including Asian". We actually went expecting it to be something like Bibou but not quite as good (based on the above reviews). It's neither in the category, nor the league of Bibou. Will definitely return to Bibou. No plans to return to Fond.

                1. re: JanR

                  I also was at Fond on Saturday night. It was good, not great. Same with poster JanR, for some reason I was under the impression it was a french restaurant since it was being compared to Bibou, however was surprised and a tad disappointed to see an American-style menu. The sweet corn risotto was fabulous, the chicken was super tender, and the irish coffee dessert was pretty good. Overall, i thought the food was good enough. I only had two complaints, 1) the noise level was pretty bad, such a small place can't handle larger groups of people. i'm not trying to sound like an old fogey (i'm 29), but my conversation consisted of quite a few "What did you say???".
                  2) the service was great, however there wasn't enough communication between the two servers. one server would come up and ask if we wanted dessert, two seconds after we already placed our order with the other server. this probably happened about 5 times during our meal where we were asked duplicate questions. Which isn't really the end of the world, i can understand having been in the industry before. Just saying....

                  Overall, I'd return to the restaurant but would go on quieter nights during the week instead of a weekend.

      2. Was there on a Thursday a few weeks ago if my memory serves correctly. All 4 in my party were very happy with every aspect of our experience; food was excellent, service was friendly yet incredibly professional, ambiance was very warm. I could however see the place getting a little cramped on a weekend, especially if they were to overbook.

        1. I was there last week and was NOT impressed! Since it's BYOB we brought a bottle of wine. Same thing happend to us! They took our wine and poured for another table! Very unprofessional. Staff was clueless and messed up not only our order but other peoples orders too. The food was not worth the price since it lacked taste. And like other posters mentioned the noise level is way too high. It's hard to try to enjoy a meal when it's so noisy. VERY BAD EXPERIENCE! Will NEVER be back! I'll stick with Bibou!

          1. I just went to Fond last night and it was fabulous! Very small,cosy place. The amuse bouche that evening was a mushroom soup with truffle oil. Then for our starters we got the asparagus, the chicken liver mousse, butternut squash ravioli, and the veal sweetbreads. I thought all of them were outstanding. My only criticism is that the ravioli needed a little more filling. For our entrees, we got the monkfish, beef loin, and the pork belly. Again all of them were very good but I thought the pork belly was absolutely delicious. Perfectly cooked. I'm still thinking about it. We all shared a dessert. It was one of their specials. Chocolate and peanut butter ganache with a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a peanut brittle. It was a perfect way to end the meal, along with their french pressed coffee. Service was good. All in all, it was a great experience! I will definitely be back.