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great meal at Bondir

I went to Bondir last night and it was amazing, thought I would post in case anyone else is curious about it. It's very small and cozy and everyone is clearly very enthusiastic about opening. They have a fireplace, which may have biased me slightly given how cold it's getting.

They started us with three kinds of bread which they bake in-house, very hearty and crusty. One had goose cracklings in it, which I loved, but my favourite was the rosemary-chive.

All the dishes come in half-portions as well, so we split four half-entrees between two people and it was perfect. We had lobster stock risotto with mussels, a dish of grits with roasted vegetables that was incredibly good, lamb over stewed beans (also incredible), and a beef dish that was slightly more peculiar. It came with a mole sauce that I thought didn't go very well with the otherwise very French flavours, but my friend loved it, and sopped it up with the rest of the bread.

All the desserts seem to have a savoury element, which isn't what I normally pick, but they were also great. I had a 'jerusalem artichoke tart', which was caramelized sunchokes on a thick slab of gingerbread-like cake. It was a really unusual dish and absolutely delicious. My friend had a tangerine concoction with thyme ice cream - I was less enthusiastic about this because I thought the thyme was a bit much, but he thought it was great.

All in all I thought it was a lovely place, with really interesting and good food, and everyone was very warm. Also cheaper than I expected for what we got - when you get a half-portion of an entree it's only 11-15 dollars, so we really didn't end up spending much considering how many dishes we tried.

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  1. Thank you for the review. It is right around the corner from me, and I've been meaning to try it. I have always like Jason's cooking, and the food sounds unusual and tasty. Thanks again.

    1. We ate there last night for a birthday celebration, and it was excellent. On the recommendation of a friend, we arrived about 30 minutes early to have a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. It was snowing, so the fire felt great after the walk to the restaurant. Once we sat, we had four dishes spaced out nicely with all sorts of interesting flavors.

      Started with a spiced beet with a buttermilk vinaigrette that was nice, then had a monkfish dish with a turnip puree and shaved celery - very well cooked and incredibly flavorful (the waitress said the monkfish was straight off a boat in Gloucester). The chef, Jason, also sent out a lobster and chanterelle tagliatelle dish that was quite solid. We finished with goose and an incredible pork belly. The goose was done with potatoes manigodine, celery, and cabbage - a great crust on the outside of the goose - wonderfully cooked. The pork belly had a crispy skin that was unreal, and black lentils and collards underneath were great.

      Overall, wonderful meal, great waitstaff, and a very welcoming and cozy environment. I would certainly recommend it to anyone. Happy to have Bondir in the neighborhood!

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      Bondir
      279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

      3 Replies
      1. re: bgraves

        Was there some type of cheese with the potatoes in the goose entree? Was wondering what manigodine was...

        1. re: nasilemak

          I believe manigodine is a cheese. See this entry from Formaggio Kitchen's blog: http://www.formaggiokitchen.com/trave...

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          Formaggio Kitchen
          244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

        2. re: bgraves

          bgraves, thanks so much for the articulate and inspiring review. i found these photos of some of the dishes mentioned. whew, lovely and innovative. but $32 for a chicken entree and they can't put pads on their wooden banquettes?! i really would prefer to be very comfortable at $32 for chicken......

        3. Thanks onecake and bgraves for your recommendations. Mr. and I went to Bondir last wednesday night to kick off Mr's week + off from school. It is a great addition to the neighborhood. We walked there in the snow so sipping wine by the fireplace was definitely welcome. I really loved the vibe in there. The staff was very friendly and the decor was charming and cozy. The table at the front near the fireplace holding all the glasses and wine bottles make it feel like you just arrived at a party.

          I really wanted that goose but they had already run out when we got there and the substitute was chicken. I started with a lovely curried pumpkin soup with oysters. It was a really different combination. The savory warming pumpkin was a nice contrast to the briny oyster. I had a 1/2 order of the pork belly as my main dish. It really hit the spot. Mr. had the hanger steak. It had good flavors but that is a tough cut of meat. It was cooked right... medium rare, but I probably wouldn't order that again given the amount of chewing necessary.

          We almost skipped out on dessert because I had sugar cookies to bake at home and foresaw eating a fair share of cookie dough. But then the waitress announces a special hot chocolate offered that night and with the snow outside I just couldn't resist.

          I look forward to returning.

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          Bondir
          279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

          1. We also had a fab experience at Bondir. That fireplace is the perfect foil to the weather outside and immediately endears you to the room. Yes, it is small, but it is very comfortable and not cramped. There are in fact cushions on the benches now, and they are charming - covered in fabric with birds on them. My husband said he felt like he was coming into a tavern at the turn of the 18th century. We enjoyed a fabulous Spanish grenache in the mid-40s, two apps, 3 1/2 portion entrees, dessert and an extra glass of wine for $130 before tip. Amazing food. For appetizers, I loved the beet salad with the blood red oranges, petit greens, pumpkin seeds and buttermilk dressing. I could not decide if I liked it better than my pumpkin soup with ras al hanout marshmallow and crispy shallots. It was a toss up. Both delish. The three entrees we enjoyed were the roasted chicken with chanterelle mushrooms, roasted chestnut and navy beans; the hanger steak with glazed carrots and shallots, and Lady Apples à la Normande (these mini apples which were somewhat tart, a little sweet); and the chestnut Chitarra pasta with Coeur de Boeuf cabbage, celery, white carrot and Scamorza (a mild Italian cow's milk cheese that was excellent!). For dessert we loved the Tangerine Dream - Genoise cake, vermouth soaked tangerines, buttermilk-thyme ice cream (soooo good) and bruleed meringue. The chicken was my fav and I cannot adequately explain its deliciousness, savoriness, while not being too heavy - the chestnuts and chanterelles were so luxurious. I just loved it. The hanger steak was good (the caramelized shallots to die for) but I couldn't get away from my own chicken dish. We saved the pasta for last, thinking we over ordered... but WOW so glad we actually had room because it was sooooooo good - light sauce. (I think there is a picture of the chitara maker on Bondir's facebook page.) I can't wait to go back here. Service is excellent, and Jason was making the rounds. This is my fav new place since Bergamot. Hits all the notes. Love and highly recommend.

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            Bondir
            279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

            5 Replies
            1. re: Small Plates

              beautifully written report, smallplates.Covers all the info I needed!
              i'm printing it out and getting on the reservations phone!

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Oh, good! I hope you love it. Can't wait to hear your report.

              2. re: Small Plates

                Small Plates:

                Is that Coeur de Boeuf vegetarian or is it actually some type of beef?

                Would a pescatarian have many options on the menu?

                Thanks for your review.

                1. re: SEH

                  There are plenty veg options on the menu. Coeur de Boeuf cabbage leaves - translated means Sweetheart Cabbage (idiomatically, I suppose). There are plenty veg options on the menu. For instance, (they post their daily menu on facebook) tonight's menu offers: Roasted Buttercup Squash with Vegetable Mignardises, Heirloom Keener Grits - that sounds pretty good! And That soup and salad I mentioned are both on tonight's menu. He is all about the local and preparing delicious food sourced from the very best ingredients. It was evident in each of our dishes. I don't think you will be hard up to find something veg on his menu. FWIW - my husband and I are eating veg for the month of January and Bondir is on our "OK" list - we will probably hit it up this weekend!! You can look over their menus, which are listed on their website - they keep the last 5 up for your inspection!! :)

                  http://bondircambridge.com/wp/categor...

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                  Bondir
                  279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: Small Plates

                    My criticism with their vegetarian food program is that the front of the house had no clue about what it meant to be a vegetarian. After telling our waitress that I was vegetarian and both of us ordering vegetarian tasting menus, we faced two problems:
                    (1) they brought out 3 pieces of bread. One was made with pork cracklins, one was made with shrimp, and the other one was one that I could eat. I had to have my non-vegetarian dining companion taste the breads to confirm which one was safe for me. The waitress had no reason to believe that either of us ate meat since we both ordered vegetarian tasting menus.
                    (2) for dessert, the waitress did not inform me that the dessert I ordered contained gelatin. It was clear that it did when it arrived but it was not evident from the dessert description that it would come with a gelatin-laden topping.

                    For such a high end restaurant to try to do vegetarian food and have a disconnect between the kitchen and the people eating the food rather turned me off on the place. In that price range and even places a half or a quarter as expensive, many waitstaffs have made sure what I was ordering matched what I told them I could eat. For this price range, I'd rather go to say Journeyman where the waitstaff will reassure you that the thickener is made out of plant-based ingredients even though it is usually made with animal-based ones.

                    http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

              3. Hit Bondir for the first time last night and was thoroughly impressed. I had risotto with flounder, mussels, and whelks (my first time trying) and an unbelievably tender duck breast with lentils and polenta. Really delicious, and the half-portions are generous and a total best buy. Smart, reasonably priced list of beers by the bottle.

                Three half portions, one soup, two glasses of wine, two beers, and two hot chocolates with ras al hanout marshmallows (!) came to less than $100 before tip. Incredibly welcoming staff, too.