Bonda - another overpriced disappointment in Fairfield
So I was very optimistic to have a fun, good new restaurant near where we live in Fairfield. It won't be this one. Bonda is in Greenfield Hill in a great little spot that have been several restaurants over the last few years. So a group of us go there Saturday evening. We were seated promptly and the place looks great. Great colors, lines are clean and a nice little bar as you enter.
So let’s start with the positive stuff. The seating hostess and service staff are quite friendly and eager to please. That being said, they all missed service training classes as I suspect, they were never held at Bonda. Speed of service was very slow and keep in mind we were there before it got busy. We had to ask for "things" throughout the evening - salt, flatware, specials ("everything is special which is the menu") and most importantly, service. Giving the price points and total tab they consistently had to raffle off salads and entrees - "Who had the iceberg salad?" "Who had the scallops?" "Who has the chicken?" "Who's got the fish?" It’s unacceptable at a diner, at a casual restaurant and should be at this one given the $100 per person check average. Deserts were just plopped down haphazardly on the table, not in front of those who ordered them. They clearly assumed were all sharing, which we did, but too presumptuous to not place the items in front of those who ordered them.
So the food was by and large OK. Steak was good, chicken item was thought to be good, scallops were tasty but the cauliflower which was next to the hot scallops was in fact cold - on two plates. When asked if they should be cold, service staff indicated yes. Weird. The steak and the Arctic char were extremely undercooked and needed to get sent back for further cooking. The Iceberg salad had awesome bacon on it but the lettuce was all white, no greens. Dressing was uninspired. All agreed the deserts were good.
The biggest issue, with all the tables seated - the place is louder that a stock car race. All of us agreed we couldn't hear ourselves think. Every surface is hard - no carpet, no acoustic tile, no fabric, no carpet but hard wood floors. All a recipe for a very noisy room. At least there is one recipe that is really effective in the house.
Wine pricing as the entree pricing was full retail, but the experience did not align.
75 Hillside Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824
We went to Bonda for dinner this weekend. Never went to the old Abbondanza restaurant, so cannot compare. It was okay. Love what they did with the space. Very pretty, bright, fun. The hostess was very friendly and on top of things. Waitstaff was also very friendly, competent, no issues there.
We were seated at one of the two tables in the bar, which was fine when it wasn't crowded, but there were waves of people coming in to have a drink and wait for their tables, and when it was crowded, it was ridiculously loud and the people were backing up into our chairs. They do have a disclaimer on the menu that they realize how loud it is and that they are working on the problem with sound specialists, so that is a positive note.
The menu was varied, but didn't really seem to have a focus to me. Kind of all over the place with cuisine, which is okay if the execution holds up, but in my opinion it didn't. We started with the grilled romaine salad, which was very tasty, and huge, pretty much a whole head of romaine split down the middle. We also had the mussels with apples, calvados and bacon. Unfortunately it was the smallest bowl of mussels I've ever seen, 10 peanut sized mussels, kind of shriveled, maybe a 1/4 total of actual meat. The apples and bacon were okay but the "broth" tasted like warm cream that was not actually seasoned or reduced or flavored. We also had the clam chowder which had a strange brownish color and flavor. I didn't enjoy it.
For entrees we had the pappardelle with rabbit and cerignola olives. Others at the table liked it but I thought the pasta was very thick and dry and the flavoring was pretty bland. Pork chop with sweet potatoes and greens was okay, cooked well but just not a very flavorful piece of meat. The "coriander crusted chicken" with coconut curry sauce was very good flavorwise. The chicken was moist, the sauce was delicious, the rice was okay, the peppers and green beans were kind of ordinary. My biggest complaint was when I heard "coriander crusted", I expected a beautifully spice crusted crispy browned piece of chicken. It was basically 2 boneless skinless breasts that looked poached with some wet fresh cilantro draped over the top. Again, the flavor of the sauce brought the dish together, but the execution was very uninspired.
Across the board, I just felt like the quality of ingredients was not great and the execution was a little amateurish. Definitely doesn't stack up against the best places in FFLD County for me. Love to hear any other experiences.