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great meal at Bondir

onecaketwocake Dec 6, 2010 02:15 PM

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. CambridgeKathy RE: onecaketwocake Dec 15, 2010 10:29 AM

    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. b
      bgraves RE: onecaketwocake Dec 21, 2010 06:40 AM

      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!

      279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

      3 Replies
      1. re: bgraves
        nasilemak RE: bgraves Dec 21, 2010 08:32 AM

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

        1. re: nasilemak
          Sunday Cook RE: nasilemak Dec 23, 2010 02:59 AM

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

          Formaggio Kitchen
          244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

        2. re: bgraves
          opinionatedchef RE: bgraves Dec 23, 2010 10:46 PM

          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. h
          heypielady RE: onecaketwocake Dec 28, 2010 07:50 AM

          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.

          279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

          1. Small Plates RE: onecaketwocake Jan 4, 2011 12:54 PM

            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.

            279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

            5 Replies
            1. re: Small Plates
              opinionatedchef RE: Small Plates Jan 4, 2011 01:17 PM

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

              1. re: opinionatedchef
                Small Plates RE: opinionatedchef Jan 10, 2011 09:18 AM

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

              2. re: Small Plates
                SEH RE: Small Plates Jan 10, 2011 09:33 AM

                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
                  Small Plates RE: SEH Jan 10, 2011 12:43 PM

                  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!! :)


                  279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: Small Plates
                    yarm RE: Small Plates Feb 13, 2012 04:01 PM

                    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.


              3. r
                robwat36 RE: onecaketwocake Feb 22, 2011 10:49 AM

                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.

                1. g
                  gramercyfoodie RE: onecaketwocake Mar 20, 2011 10:41 AM

                  Just wanted to chime in on this and say that we tried Bondir this weekend and really loved it. Tops for me of Boston/Cambridge restaurants, on par w/Bergamot. Found the staff to warm, welcoming and attentive and the food was fantastic and reasonably priced.

                  One thing to mention which might be a 'curse' of a fabulous Globe review -- there were empty tables at 8pm on a weekend night. So if you've been waiting to try, go for it. We will be back often.

                  279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gramercyfoodie
                    opinionatedchef RE: gramercyfoodie Mar 20, 2011 08:08 PM

                    thanks much for that note. will do!

                  2. s
                    STL BOS RE: onecaketwocake Mar 21, 2011 09:30 AM

                    I went to Bondir Friday 3/18 and generally thought it was great. The highlights - the space really is just too cozy for words. After reading rave reviews about the drinks table/fireplace I thought it may feel contrived but it didn't. The service was friendly, knowledgeable and professional without being snobby, which is an all too rare feat. The first courses were very good, if limited - there were really only 2 choices (sunchoke bisque and beet salad). Mains - I loved the half-portion option. 2 of us shared 2 half-portions and with a first and dessert each it ended up being a perfect amount. The half-portions here could be a full portion at other places in town. We left very satisfied but not uncomfortably full.

                    The value and atmosphere that Bondir offers is the best part about it IMO. It is a romantic "date night" place with great food and surprisingly low bill. I canceled a RW reservation to go to Bondir and we probably ended up spending about the same for 3 courses each but was much higher quality than a lot of RW places. I will definitely be back - I can't wait to see the menu with spring and summer ingredients.

                    279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    1. opinionatedchef RE: onecaketwocake Apr 24, 2011 09:32 PM

                      finally got here tonight, Easter. Lovely welcoming room; friendly very informed staff. V.good red wines by the glass. All food ingredients very carefully and seriously sourced/highest freshest quality. Reasonable pricing. Very well intentioned and sweet chef/owner.
                      Food highlights:
                      **Duck confit on Keener Grits- unctuous, seductive, full flavored
                      ** scallops with pickled mushrooms on potato puree, w/ fennel foam
                      ** ( v.deep dark) chocolate sorbet
                      ** cranberry walnut bread and nori bread
                      Contrary to other posters, i found the beet salad , duck w/ black lentils, and the tangerine dream- significantly lacking in punch. In general this food is very spartan, subtle. 'Sauces' are simple jus; spices, wine, acid, condiments- do not play a part in the entree flavoring. Because of that I found it, on the whole, too subtle for me . But the menu changes daily; it was a lovely experience; and I'm sure we'll be back.

                      279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        terrycatch RE: opinionatedchef Apr 25, 2011 09:57 AM

                        You are being a tad to generous to an admittedly pleasant establishment. For "subtle" we would offer "bland." Perfectly okay; nothing close to special.

                      2. gini RE: onecaketwocake Oct 27, 2011 06:28 AM

                        Wow - what a great meal at Bondir last night. I want to go back, tonight please!

                        We shared four dishes:

                        Hand Made Burrata with Squash-Marjoram Tart, Shaved Vegetable Salad, Honeyed Walnut Vinaigrette: The sweetness of the salad and squash played off of the salty tang of the burrata and the savory tart. This was a perfect salad. Seriously.

                        Scituate Cod Brandade, Nantucket Bay Scallops, Fingerling Potatoes, Bread Crisp, Lobster Roe Froth: Possibly a little too soggy with all the elements, but still interesting and delicious, though the froth was a bit superfluous.

                        Stone-Ground Barley Rigatoni, Braised Chicken Thigh, Locally Foraged Mushrooms, Chestnuts, Savoy Cabbage, Roasted Squash, Ricotta: Absolutely perfectly braised cabbage & chicken as well as earthy pasta, mushrooms and nuts. A comforting dish to say the least.

                        Roasted Mallard Duck, White Flint Cornmeal Cake, Naples Long Squash, Black Tuscan Kale: I never thought I would say this, but the cornmeal cake stole the show (along with a crispy kale).

                        279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: gini
                          threedogs RE: gini Oct 27, 2011 07:35 AM

                          Oh, how I want to go there!

                          Curious (holidays are coming up & I'm starting to plan my dinner ahead) - could you elaborate on the crispy kale more? Kale has become one of my most favorite foods lately & would love to know how he prepares it at Bondir.

                          This article about the restaurant made me swoon: http://www.eatboutique.com/2011/03/13...

                          279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                          1. re: threedogs
                            gini RE: threedogs Oct 27, 2011 08:45 AM

                            It was kale: crispy and salty!

                            1. re: threedogs
                              opinionatedchef RE: threedogs Oct 27, 2011 02:21 PM

                              while we frequently cook kale, stir fried and steamed w// garlic and evoo; it is delicious deep fried. maybe that's what he does.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                threedogs RE: opinionatedchef Oct 27, 2011 02:29 PM

                                I dry it, seasoned & salted, in the oven. Delish - but always looking for more ways to eat/serve it.

                                1. re: threedogs
                                  opinionatedchef RE: threedogs Oct 29, 2011 10:22 PM

                                  well that certainly sounds alot more healthy! what temp and how and how long? th you.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                                    threedogs RE: opinionatedchef Oct 30, 2011 06:31 AM

                                    At the risk of getting this deleted - I set the oven on the lowest temp & (now) dry til very, very crisp. Usually I season it w/a mixture of soy sauce, oil (olive or sesame) & spices. I never time it - tried to get some links for you, but my main compute - an aged iMac - seems to be broken (I don't dare to turn it on again) so I'm using a slow-as-molasses laptop & I can't get any to load. Just do a search for kale chips. Awesome way to eat kale. I get creative & try to change the way I make it - kale is so healthy and inexpensive!

                                    I'm curious if Bondir makes it in a different manner. Would love to be able to see how they prepare *all* their food - man, I live & breathe this stuff!

                                    279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                    1. re: threedogs
                                      FoodDabbler RE: threedogs Oct 30, 2011 06:39 AM

                                      See this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617694 on CH itself, started by a certain familiar yumyum.

                                      1. re: FoodDabbler
                                        The Chowhound Team RE: FoodDabbler Oct 30, 2011 09:47 PM

                                        Just a reminder to continue the cooking discussion at the thread linked above, thanks!

                            2. re: gini
                              Bob Dobalina RE: gini Oct 27, 2011 08:11 AM

                              In light of the discussion involving appropriate fish names, is there such a thing as "Scituate Cod?" Are there cod in the bay? I thought you had to go out on the ocean to get these fish.

                              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                loper RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 27, 2011 06:48 PM

                                cod do come nearshore, particularly as the weather gets colder. When they were more abundant it was common to catch them with rod and reel off the beach during the winter. In this instance, probably referring to the port of origin.

                                1. re: loper
                                  Bob Dobalina RE: loper Oct 28, 2011 05:59 AM

                                  Thanks, loper - appreciate the response.

                                  1. re: loper
                                    FoodDabbler RE: loper Oct 28, 2011 06:10 AM

                                    Isn't it true that they were once so abundant that all you had to do was to stand by the shore with your mouth open and they'd jump right in?

                                    1. re: FoodDabbler
                                      StriperGuy RE: FoodDabbler Oct 28, 2011 06:50 AM

                                      It was close to that with lobster, cod, and whales back in the day. There are descriptions of so many whales in Wellfleet harbor that you could cross over to Great Beach hill walking on their backs.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                        FoodDabbler RE: StriperGuy Oct 29, 2011 09:15 PM

                                        I am not impressed by the old days unless I hear that you could walk on the backs of cod while eating them.

                                        1. re: FoodDabbler
                                          hckybg RE: FoodDabbler Oct 30, 2011 05:08 PM

                                          They'd jump in your mouth if you stood on the dock--*but first they would batter and fry themselves!*

                                  2. re: Bob Dobalina
                                    9lives RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 30, 2011 08:32 AM

                                    We caught some cod on Stellwagen Bank recently and Scituate has a small fishing fleet..



                                2. yumyum RE: onecaketwocake Dec 1, 2011 09:42 AM

                                  Going to Bondir tomorrow night... anyone been lately? Anything special to recommend?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: yumyum
                                    chocojosh RE: yumyum Dec 1, 2011 10:59 AM

                                    I went sunday night and had some great pork belly on grits. My wife had the teff polenta with vegetable mignardises and that was very nice too. I'd recommend apple trifle dessert too if they still have it.

                                    1. re: yumyum
                                      MC Slim JB RE: yumyum Dec 1, 2011 11:29 AM

                                      The house made burrata is pretty special, as is the chocolate panna cotta.


                                      1. re: yumyum
                                        Bob Dobalina RE: yumyum Dec 1, 2011 11:40 AM

                                        Double dog dare you to order a full plate of this:

                                        Fresh White Alba Truffle

                                        Herb Rigatoni, Garlic Chives, Swiss Raclette


                                        1. re: yumyum
                                          FoodDabbler RE: yumyum Dec 3, 2011 11:39 AM

                                          It's hours since you ate there. Where are the pictures?

                                          1. re: FoodDabbler
                                            yumyum RE: FoodDabbler Dec 5, 2011 08:03 AM

                                            I'm getting there. Lots going on right now....

                                            Long story short, one of the most exquisite meals I've had in a long time.

                                            ....and I have pix!

                                            Just give me a minute to get back to ya! Peace.

                                        2. h
                                          heypielady RE: onecaketwocake Feb 13, 2012 10:38 AM

                                          MR and I had a lovely meal at Bondir on Friday night. I hadn't been since December 2010 and I'm not sure why it took me so long to get back there.

                                          The minute I got there I felt the need to return more often. The room is so comfortable to me. It was MRs birthday and it was as if somebody from the restaurant went into his brain and downloaded the exact wintry playlist he wanted to hear while eating. That is to say it was excellent.

                                          A couple of the entrees jumped out at us on the menu so much so that I felt like I wasn't really playing along with the concept of the restaurant by ordering a bunch of half portions to taste. Not that anyone seemed to mind. We had the "celerisotto" with lobster, fluke, and smelts which was unique and delicate. They make a "risotto" with celery root and somehow it holds its texture without turning to mush. Something I'm sure I could not accomplish at home.

                                          We also had the gnocchi with lamb neck, foraged mushrooms, and hazelnut pesto. This was truly outstanding... much bigger flavors than the seafood dish.

                                          I really wanted to get the caccio e pepe with fresh truffles which looked and smelled amazing but I was just too full. I also made caccio e pepe last week and really nailed it so I just didn't call to me as much as the gnocchi... but man those truffles looked amazing.

                                          I hope to return soon maybe with a couple more friends to try a lot more dishes. I think I really need to go at least once a season since the menu changes so much. I liked Bondir the first time I went enough that I wanted to go again but I think they are just leaps and bounds better now than when they first opened.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: heypielady
                                            DoubleMan RE: heypielady Feb 13, 2012 11:45 AM

                                            It's good to hear that you had a nice trip. My recent trip was sort of the opposite - significantly worse than a number of earlier trips.

                                            I was excited for the seafood risotto with kaffir. Turned out to be just an ok risotto with way too much kaffir - it was like taking a dish and spraying it with perfume so that you only got the one dominant flavor and aroma, and kaffir is a flavor i usually like. It was, frankly, pretty gross. Total bummer, and for a small portion at $30, a ripoff. Another dish that I anticipated was the braised shortrib with harissa. Given the past trips to Bondir, I was expecting a beautiful braise with incredibly rich, developed flavors with some warm spice from the harissa. Instead, the meat completely lacked that richness normally achieved from braising and just had this sour taste that left the meat almost tasting like another animal. And there was no harissa flavor that I could detect. The meat portion was also not much bigger than the shortrib app at Oleana, which I think is much better overall, and for $13, instead of $30, no contest when it comes to value. The vegetable mignardises were tasty, but again, $28 for a modest portion of well-cooked but not innovative root vegetables, no matter what their provenance, is not a great value. The best dish we had that night was the grits with duck confit, which turned out to be sort of a misnomer because the confit was clearly the bulk of the dish, with two smallish legs, and the grits were maybe 1/4-1/3 of a cup. Both were incredibly tasty, but we all wanted more grits.

                                            I love the idea of Bondir and their approach, but this last trip was nothing compared to earlier trips. To me, it changed from a real neighborhood gem with superb cooking and great value to an unspectacular $80+ per person place (after tax and tip on 5 fulls, three halves, two desserts, and a $65 bottle of wine for four - the waitress actually recommended ordering more food for a group of four, which is kind of ridiculous, but also not untrue) with very small portions that requires reservations a month in advance and isn't worth it. I'll go again, but I'm in no rush.

                                            1. re: DoubleMan
                                              heypielady RE: DoubleMan Feb 13, 2012 12:31 PM

                                              That is interesting DM. I'm glad I had the opposite experience. In fact, when we had the celerisotto I was kind of amazed that the celery root, which I think of as a very dominating flavor, as being totally balanced with the rest of the ingredients in the dish. Not overpowering at all. I'm sorry the dishes you got were so out of balance.

                                              Out of curiosity, why was the kaffir dish so expensive. The only dish on the menu on Friday that was that much was the truffle dish. Obviously the fresh truffles increase the price... so what was the ingredient in your dish?

                                              I guess I also didn't feel the monetary pinch as much either since we only got two full entrees that were definitely enough food. (I was actually lamenting that I couldn't squeeze in another dish to try). We split a sorbet for dessert just to linger a bit longer (really delicious quince with cambodian black pepper). While MR enjoyed a few beers and tawny port, I have not been imbibing recently so I only had one of their homemade sodas

                                              1. re: heypielady
                                                DoubleMan RE: heypielady Feb 13, 2012 01:02 PM

                                                It was a risotto of scallop and squid with the kaffir. Not much of either protein. It was a "full" or "large" portion, but we still found it to be very small. After dividing maybe three bites each between four people, we left a few bites on the plate that none of us wanted to finish.

                                                I'm surprised one full was enough for each of you. To me, the fulls there seem like ever so slightly large appetizers found at many other restaurants.

                                                1. re: DoubleMan
                                                  heypielady RE: DoubleMan Feb 13, 2012 01:41 PM

                                                  I think if it was later in the night I probably could have eaten more. The latest I could get was a 6:15 reservation and I had lunch at about 1:00 so maybe that had something to do with it. I was more surprised one entree was enough for my husband. But the gnocchi was very rich.

                                          2. c
                                            Cachetes RE: onecaketwocake Mar 25, 2012 06:38 PM

                                            Thanks to all who recommended Bondir! My husband and I finally made it last night (to celebrate our 10th anniversary!), and agreed that the food and ambiance were wonderful. I've seen others on CH complain about reservations, and we had no problems. A few weeks out, I made a call, and they returned it promptly to confirm. Excellent, all systems go.

                                            The night started a bit slowly, since our table wasn't ready until 1/2 hour after our reservation. But, they were appropriately apologetic (not too much, but a cordial acknowledgment of the wait, and an offer to top off our drinks - perfect). But the food was worth the wait. The highlights were a garlic and almond soup - a dish that could easily fall victim to either big flavor, but it was perfectly flavorful and balanced. We also really enjoyed the rabbit with fava leaf papardelle - who knew it was possible to eat rabbit ribs? But that tiny little bite was one of the most flavorful and exciting bites of food that I've had in a long time. The multitude of different flavors in that dish, again, worked very well together (as they did in my beet salad). My husband also really liked his Tamworth hot and cold, especially the head/neck meat (I think that's what was in it). We had some other dishes as well, the shad roe (which my husband adored as well) and I had the cod, which was perfectly cooked and delicious (in duck fat, did I hear the waiter say?? when he said that, I had to try it and it was delicious, though not as unique a flavor experience as the rabbit dish). We skipped dessert because I think we must have overordered.

                                            Someone mentioned small portions and high prices. I can respect that someone might leave there and not feel satisfied - we all have different appetites. I thought the prices and sizes were perfect. The half portions we ordered were really generous (as half-portions go). As for prices, it must take an enormous amount of time to hand peel the blood oranges, crisp the individual leaves of arugula, gently dollop the tiny little caviar eggs into the soup, and properly prepare multiple portions of tiny little rabbit ribs. Moreover, each of the dishes must take quite of bit of forethought, as the chef considers the multitude of different flavors and thinks of how they might go together (I know, I sound like a food novice right now, which for this type of cuisine I am; I can also understand how being bold and inventive can lead to some flops, though none of our dishes fell into that category). I guess I just don't think it's a place you judge value by portion size, but rather by inventiveness, ingredients, skills, and sheer hard work.

                                            Thanks for a great recommendation!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Cachetes
                                              Dave MP RE: Cachetes Mar 26, 2012 05:24 PM

                                              Thanks for the great and thoughtful report!

                                            2. rlh RE: onecaketwocake Nov 19, 2013 07:55 PM

                                              I haven't found much in terms of recent reports, but largely based on the raves in this thread, we went for a husband / wife joint birthday dinner last night - with mixed results.

                                              The space is small, warm, and seems inviting with the fireplace at the entrance and rustic decorative charms throughout. The service started oddly with an awkward greeting (e.g., no offer to take coats though others obviously had done this) and unfortunately continued that way throughout the meal.

                                              Service was not good. Our waiter was competent but basically surly (his wine recommendation was good - paired well with the meal and seemed a pretty good value / reasonable markup ($72 for a 2011 premier cru Mercurey red burgundy). The place felt generally unwelcoming, overly serious about itself, and with a cold edge vs. warm, welcoming hospitality we love at so many places we frequent. We felt also felt pushed into the prix fix menu option as no a la carte details or prices were provided on the menu or by the waiter.

                                              The food was comprised of pristine ingredients thoughtfully put into combinations, however, EVERY dish was a deconstructed pile of those ingredients vs. a thoughtful integration showing technique and finesse. The best was the housemade rigatoni pasta with Vermont Waygu style beef bolognese sauce. The breads did not have distinct flavors (supposedly cracklins in one, dried shrimp in another - we could not discern much difference other than appearance) or any crunch in the crust, though they were fresh and the butter was soft and flavorful.

                                              The dim lighting and very small pieces making up everything made our plan of sharing most of the meal quite a challenge (along the lines of "was that the only tiny turnip, or was it piece of potato? and "is that all of the lentils under that plate?"). The duck confit was awesome, but the accompanying slivers of rare breast while tender were mostly flavorless and underseasoned. The strip sirloin was also lacked much flavor intensity and seemed underseasoned.

                                              The steamed gingerbread dessert was delicious, but again, it arrived in distinct, unintegrated piles on the plate. We also ordered the paw paw frozen yogurt along with preserved cranberry sorbet and sorrel ice cream. The sorrel ice cream was inedible - it just tasted bad.

                                              As what appeared to be an afterthought, two separate scoops of dark chocolate ice cream arrived with tiny candles in tiny teacups on the side to honor each of our birthdays. Had this arrived sooner or if we had know about it, our dessert choices would have been different. While a dark, rich chocolate aroma and flavor seemed nice, the really gritty texture of undissolved sugar was just wrong - most of this offering went uneaten.

                                              We had such high hopes, but don't expect to return. Bergamot, for example, does a far superior job of satisfying this type of need and price point in this locale.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: rlh
                                                opinionatedchef RE: rlh Nov 19, 2013 11:19 PM

                                                bummer. Precious plating is one of my hatest things.

                                                1. re: rlh
                                                  jgg13 RE: rlh Nov 20, 2013 06:05 AM

                                                  Interesting - I wonder if Bond's shift to the Concord outpost is causing issues?

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