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Bondir Concord Just Okay

Hit it last week with my SO. Sat at the bar and had three half plates:

- Scituate Lobster Coquillage (really a fluke dish with an oyster on the half shell)

- Rye Flour Bucatini

- Cassoulet sur Assiette

These were all roughly $16 each for a half portion.

The Fluke (lobster coquillage) dish was just not very good. The fluke was flavorless, the fish just not glisteningly fresh, the juice from the oyster had all been spilled, and the lobster reduction tasted kinda funky.

The Rye Flour Bucatini was competently executed, but there was nothing at all exceptional about it. "Oh nice pasta" is about all I could say. The foraged mushrooms and spruce ricotta were not in evidence.

The height of the dinner was the cassoulet, but that merely rose to: "hmm, this is good" and that was only the beans and walnut crumble underneath the meats. The porcelet sausage was overcooked, like a too-dense, too finely ground meatloaf that had over-solidified and was totally flavorless to boot. God it needed some fat. Both of the duck preps just tasted of well... nothing. It's really not hard to make confit that tastes like something, some thyme, a little salt, some black pepper. This confit tasted like the herb truck forgot the delivery that day.

We each had a glass of red wine, and the pours were okay and the wines just fine.

The portion size was not that bad for half portions, though the full sized ones didn't look much bigger.

The bar tender was attentive and thoughtful.

Holey cow Boston, yet another restaurant with haute aspirations that is just soul-less and lacking in flava... Next time I'll just go to Asian Gourmet so can get a meal that actually tastes like something. The total tab was around $110 including tip.

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  1. i'm really surprised that you went there, stripey, given the 'mehs' on recent CH posts, and some before. but i know you just relocated to that bucolic beauty and are hoping to be pleasantly surprised somewhere...... so i'm sorry. wish i could thought-transport you something tasty from boston. Have you ever tried la Boniche in Lowell? We ate there long ago and it certainly made no pretensions of being cutting edge, but i remember it being comfortable and good.

    Also, i don't know how long it takes you to get to China International in Burlington, but the new Woburn center tapas place is just about 20 min. from there i think. (You do know about CI for food shopping, yes? Amazing resource w/o the vast confusion at H Mart, and the owners will walk around and find things for you.)

    2 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        Thanks for the CI tip, opinionated. I went there yesterday (I live near Verril too) and it took a while bec. I didn't know where it was, faster next time. I loved it and also liked the two Indian stores in the same row, and got some Deep frozen dishes, spices, etc. Oops, off topic!

        On topic, I wish Bondir well and the decor looks inviting, but I am not in any hurry to try it based on reports, had hoped for a more affordable mid week neighborhoody place.

      2. "lacking in flava" is a nice way of describing Bondir (Cambridge). what a scam

        1. Huh, that's a shame. I keep going past at non-dinner times and being really excited by the menus, but if the food doesn't match the description, well, meh.

          14 Replies
          1. re: antimony

            I'd still say judge for yourself. I had a very, very good meal at Bondir in Cambridge, and look forward to trying the Concord outpost.

            1. re: antimony

              Save your money... too many others have had meh experiences at both the Cambridge and Concord locations. I tried it cause I am desperate for more local (Concord) chow and had an hour or so to kill before hitting a friends for late cocktails.

              A place that delivers so many meh courses to so many different hounds has definitely proven themselves IMHO not-chow worthy.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                Sorry to hear that, Striper. For my reference (as I am usually sympatico with your opinions), what are your feelings about 80 Thoreau, AKA Bistro, or even Belle's Bistro, for local comparison, now that you're in the area? Have you been to Ginger?

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  AKA I had a weird meal that I posted about a while back. Octopus stew that was clearly pressure cooked to tender and then dumped into some uncooked red wine. Weird and not great. My SOs meal was better but it was just grilled scallops so not really a defining meal. I can't say I have ruled it out, but Was not in a hurry to get back. The Octo was almost inedible which is weird for a chef who got his card punched at Clio.

                  I've only had a light nibble at 80 Thoreau, so can't really comment. Would try it again.

                  Gotta give Ginger a whirl.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    uh oh. you might gonna be disappointed there, stripes.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      Ginger's menu did not wow me and my SO is not a huge sushi fan...

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        stripes, what part of concord are you in? i find myself trying to think of places (like i was just wondering about Wellesley center and Alta Strada, just like i was wondering about China Intntl last night) but i don't want to suggest things that are far away....

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          The elder Swanks are avid fans of Belle's.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              oh wow. that's my dream, to live near Verrill. love that area with the fields, the forests, winding roads, the river, etc. You spent time in Spain, as I recall. It's not Spain, but you get the fields and the woods altogether. Going towards Verrill is one of the times I get that Spain feeling around here. Different trees but still.

                              Bondir sounded exciting to me until I read the reviews. Ingredients sound great but don't come together. I'm glad you posted an honest review.

                              1. re: Madrid

                                Yah delightful area, verrill and white pond also nearby.

                                1. re: Madrid

                                  My "honest" review is that we found it very enjoyable and all but one dish came together flavor-wise.

                      2. re: justbeingpolite

                        Didn't mean to be such a ranting jerk above, I apologize, I was just disappointed in Bondir.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Welcome to the Acton/Concord area Dining Out with Disappointment Club!! You can earn points with every meh meal. You will earn a lot of points living around here. Sigh.

                  2. I thought Bondir Concord was better than okay. My visit wasn't wonderful and there are still plenty of bugs to work out. (Not sure how long we should give them to get it right). Still I thought the food was very good. The menu may be over-written and some ingredients maybe unnecessarily obscure, but the execution is excellent. In particular, they had a pork tenderloin dish with brussels sprouts that was amazing. Given that I could get away with two half portions for about $30 in total, I think Bondir is a bargain.

                    www.hungrytommy.com

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hungrytommy

                      I had an excellent meal at Bondir–Concord a week or two back (at a four-top that may have ordered the entire menu, IIRC). Though yes, that coquillage dish was the weakest thing we had. All the pastas in particular were in the 9 to 10 range for me; fantastic. Though different from the one described above.

                      Re: the Aka Bistro subthread, I remember sitting at the bar a year or two ago with a couple of co-conspirators and working our way through a sizable percentage of the Japanese menu. Mostly good, a little skewed toward the ambitious-but-not-quite-perfectly-landed. Still hungry, we shared a hanger steak frites from the other menu and it may have been the best steak frites I've had in greater Boston. Since then, I've returned and explored the French offerings, which I think are superb as a rule. Now my M.O., which I recommend, is to order like you're at a Parisian bistro, with a starter or two of Japanese-style crudo for good measure.

                    2. devra first of the Globe gave Bondir 2 1/2 stars yesterday.
                      I have to say i was surprised because i usually agree with her reviews. Alot of local CHs diss her but i am not one of them.

                      http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        i presume you thought it meant it should deserve less?

                        Haven't been, and not Bondir Cambridge's biggest fan, but i'd say it's worth more than 2 stars.

                        I found the review in line with what i have felt at previous meals: his dishes are often good but can feel repetitive (i've often referred to him as being like bob dylan, you might like his stuff a lot but you'll always know what song/plate is his), and it's a style of cuisine that the world has largely caught up to in terms of innovation/novelty.

                        I think it all depends on your frame of reference: if you are used to going to what i think of as 1 star places, i think bondir might be really interesting to you as a first foray into that style of dining. but if you've been around the block a few times, probably less so.

                        1. re: valcfield

                          I for one wouldn't mind eating at place considered the Bob Dylan of the restaurant world.

                          1. re: johndory

                            A matter of taste is what I was going for :)

                            Though I imagine some would have preferred if i say, made a similar, less generous, comparison to Nickelback instead ;)

                          2. re: valcfield

                            You haven't been but think it's worth more than 2 stars? Say what??

                            1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                              So, first, my comment is actually saying i think Bondir *Cambridge*, which i've been to, is worth more than two stars. Sorry for the ambiguous structure!

                              That said, the review did not surprise, in that I would probably speculate Bondir Concord is also worth two stars, because:

                              1. i feel bondir cambridge is worth more than 2 stars

                              2. First, and others seem to believe that in terms of food, the two locations are quite similar (or at least comparing it to when Bond helmed Cambridge)

                              3. Presuming that comparison is accurate-and I don't think anyone here has claimed the contrary, that the food at Concord is some huge departure- than it seems reasonable that bondir concord would also end up with over two stars

                              But of course, that's obviously some speculation, and i'd definitely be interested from people who disagree with First's claim that the food is not a huge (or any) evolution from the original location.

                          3. re: opinionatedchef

                            I think she hit it spot on. It's nothing amazing but a little better than good is right where Bondir Concord belongs. Can't understand the hate. Just looking here there are as many good responses as bad, but people keep claiming it's bad as though it is a settled question. I know First isn't going to change anyone's mind on CH but still good to see another pro-Bondir voice.

                            www.hungrytommy.com

                            1. re: hungrytommy

                              My primary complaint is that the quality of the food is nowhere close to the level of pretense. And I hate pretense. The fish dish I was served was nearly inedible. Overall the chow just didn't taste good.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                I can see the point about pretense (though I don't mind it) and I can't speak to the dish they set in front of you, but what I ate tasted good. I certainly think the menu is over-written and the need to find unique ingredients over-the-top. Like I said in another post I have never had any good food put in front of me at Hammersley so I get that too. I just don't think the door should be shut quite yet on Bondir Concord. I really got the sense from my visit that they have not hit their groove yet. I'm not sure they deserve this long to find it to be honest. Maybe this is as good as they will get, but right now I think they are hovering around good with a potential to be excellent.

                                www.hungrytommy.com

                          4. We went to Bondir Concord about a month ago. All 4 of us thought the food was generally quite good, and we're all reasonably fussy sorts, each in a different way. The check wasn't bad, less pricey than I expected.

                            Where it lost major points for us was beverages. Consensus was they took the "roll their own and be unique" thing too far here. Like they made their own coffee liquor, and didn't have anything like regular Kahlua, and didn't tell you this - my husband nearly gagged on his drink and pronounced it the worst he'd ever had. He was going to order something else, but found whatever was in that was their homemade version too and gave up. One person wanted a simple glass of cranberry juice, and they didn't have it. So he tried to get orange, and all they had was blood orange juice. He said it was really sour and asked for sugar - this didn't help much, since the sugar was sugar cubes (yes, homemade!) that were really difficult to dissolve in a drink. And they served complimentary sparkling water, which might have been a nice touch, except they had it in open pitchers so it was kind of half flat and yucky. I did have a glass of wine, which as mentioned was fine and a reasonable pour, at least they didn't screw up a simple glass of wine.

                            1. Not sure if anyone else has seen this unorthodox response to the Globe review.

                              https://m.facebook.com/BondirConcord/...

                              Would love to hear other hound's opinions... I found it rather odd.

                              35 Replies
                              1. re: verka

                                Wow. Really, wow. That was pretty defensive of a review that many here thought was too positive. He seemed to admit that there are problems that need to be worked out, as I have admitted when trying to defend the place, but he wanted to be given credit for the decor?

                                I can't see how reading his letter would encourage anyone to visit. Honestly, I like Bondir Concord a little less than I did before I read that. Striper - there's your pretense.

                                www.hungrytommy.com

                                  1. re: verka

                                    thanks for sharing! hadn't seen.

                                    It's a bit unfortunate: you could see where this is coming from a well-intentioned place, and shows off that the project is clearly important to him, and i hope that it is received positively by the community they serve, but i think those sorts of responses almost always leave people with a negative impression.

                                    The one thing that i'll note, and it probably relates to why I (and i think this thread) end up feeling so comfortable comparing the two restaurants: i completely understand that the Concord restaurant has a specific context and set of objectives, but if you wanted to avoid the comparisons to the original, it probably would have been best not to give it the same name, and (at least for those of us who follow along) publicly show the cambridge staff, like chef Rachel Miller, moving over, because i think that does make a statement that you want these two places to be compared, or for the second to be seen as a 'sequel' as First put it.

                                    That said, of course, there are other reasons, like branding, that you would choose to keep the same name, but I think you have to either recognize the potential drawbacks of such a move, instead of acting surprised, or find a different way to both use a different name but preserve branding.

                                    1. re: valcfield

                                      Great point about the name. Given his recent response, I bet he couldn't imagine taking his name off it. Maybe he should have called it Jason's.

                                      www.hungrytommy.com

                                      1. re: valcfield

                                        I think I recall that before Bondir Cambridge opened, he said in an interview that he had wanted to call it Bond, but that that name had recently been taken in Boston.

                                        1. re: Madrid

                                          I feel for him and anyone who works this hard to create something as personal as a chef-driven restaurant. I was sad that I didn't love Bondir Cambridge because I certainly thought it was trying hard. For me, there is so much competition for my business and such a drive to try the "newest" new thing that I have begun to rebel and decide to give my money by repeat business to a handful of wonderful stable local places that simply never fail to make me welcome even if they don't wow me every time. For me these are Washington Square Tavern, Lineage, Ribelle, Rendezvous and Shanghai Gate. Every once in a while we'll try something new (loved Asta) or celebrate at someplace old and worthy (L'Espalier for us). But somehow it seems time to commit to a particular community and drop out of the "show me something new" race. Bondir just didn't belong in my "regulars" and wasn't quite good enough to fit into my "special occasionals."

                                          1. re: teezeetoo

                                            I stand at my keyboard and applaud teezeetoo for this sentiment. I find so many of the new places don't really want me as a customer. I like to be comfortable in restaurants.

                                            I eat less than I once did and don't want a tasting menu. I like to elect my own food and feel welcome.

                                            I have a regular list that I don't get to often enough so I find the new and exciting less attractive.

                                            Penny
                                            http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                      2. re: verka

                                        Oh my gosh really... don't whine, fix it.

                                        Comparing yourself, with that spotty hit or miss cuisine AND pretense, to Babette's feast? The food I had wasn't even in the same universe as what I imagine the chow in that sweet movie must have been like.

                                        1. re: verka

                                          More talk about design, materials, plating style, china, the walls, and philosophy then there was
                                          about passion for food. Show us the flava.

                                          1. re: verka

                                            I think it's usually a PR mistake to do anything that calls additional attention to a review that you think was unfair. The tone of the response also struck me as all wrong: way too defensive.

                                            Even reviews by pros as locally prominent as Devra fade from view pretty quickly these days, especially now that the Globe has a paywall. I think a more effective response from a business and PR perspective would have been one that said, "We're grateful for all the nice things Devra said about us in the Globe review", pretending there were no negatives.

                                            Better yet, don't respond directly at all: act like you've been there before, move along, and continue to cultivate loyal regulars and positive word-of-mouth.

                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                Agreed.

                                                A couple things were especially surprising to me, but I'm not sure I read them right. Did he basically assert that going to his restaurant "only" three times was not enough to get a good enough feeling for the place to review it? Also, did he really want to speak with Devra *before* she filed the review? C'mon.

                                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                                  The beacon of professional ethics on the matter, the Association of Food Journalists, recommends a minimum of two visits for a full-length review. Other generally-recognized guidelines include waiting at least four weeks after a restaurant opens to the general public, though there's increasing pressure in the social media era to visit and review earlier (which I resist).

                                                  The Improper suggests three visits; I always do at least three, often four, sometimes five. (I think I did six or seven for Ribelle.) That makes professional restaurant reviewing largely a money-losing proposition for me, except for the rare occasions when I'm allowed to review a more budget-priced establishment. I'm fortunate in that I don't have to rely on food writing to pay my rent; that would make it a non-starter for me.

                                                  I suspect Devra always does three visits (not counting the new first-look Quick Bite bit she's doing), but she's presumably on salary at the Globe and gets more generous expense reimbursement than the typical paid reviewer. It's one of many reasons that professional reviewing is going by the wayside; almost nobody who is doing it properly is getting paid enough to eke out a living at it.

                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    I would be surprised if she did not do at least three.

                                                    I find her pretty professional and at least, fair.

                                                    Re-reading the review, its not like she buries the place, phrases like:

                                                    "There are some lovely things to eat here" and "The food is often delicious, the staff welcoming, the decor a similar mix of antique and modern, this time with a whiff of olde New England."

                                                    crop up with some regularity. She was disappointed obviously but 2 1/2 seems about right.

                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  I just read on Zagat that Rachel Miller is leaving Bondir. Maybe that was known here. She says that it has nothing to do with the review just bad timing, but if he knew he was losing her maybe that's why he made the mistake of this response. Can't imagine having a clear head when you are losing your best person.

                                                  http://www.zagat.com/b/boston/jason-b...

                                                  www.hungrytommy.com

                                                  1. re: hungrytommy

                                                    Hadn't seen that, thanks for sharing!

                                                    You could also then read the response as more of a vote of confidence for what Rachel and Co did there (trying to disconnect her leaving from his perception of the work), or as perhaps a morale booster for the remaining team, who have been feeling the hit?

                                                    I don't know how good restaurants are about internal communications in general, but maybe this was more just a poor choice of where to publish the letter (openly on fb as opposed to just staff)?

                                                    1. re: hungrytommy

                                                      Hey Tommy, I take it one step further...

                                                      I can't imagine losing your best person, who just got her own restaurant to run, if you are really doing that good a job at the helm.

                                                      Losing your best person is a symptom of other problems in an organization, and perhaps a reason to pour yourself a stiff drink or three, but is NEVER and excuse for public whining.

                                                      Fiannly, it is really a challenge/opportunity to the person running the organization to make it better.

                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        Oh for crying out loud, Striper, focus on the drapes!

                                                        1. re: hyde

                                                          And whether the carpet matches them!

                                                        2. re: StriperGuy

                                                          Maybe it's a symptom of a larger issue, or maybe it's part of a common cycle. I believe Miller was largely running the store in Cambridge while Bond went off to get Concord going. She recently got wider recognition, like in Zagat's "30 Under 30". Maybe having gained the confidence that she can run a small place on her own, she decided she's tired of working for somebody else.

                                                          Smart restaurateurs welcome this cycle, as it reflects well on their mentoring skills and helps them attract budding young talent. I don't know the backstory here, but I wouldn't jump to assume it's reflective of some deeper woe.

                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            I'm a little amazed at how quick people are to ascribe motives to events about which they have little knowledge. When I think of how many wonderful chefs were launched out into their own venues with the help and support of their mentors (think Chris Schlesinger and Danny Myers for example) I often think how very generous the community of chefs can be (yes, I know, not always). So why ratchet up the antagonism here? You didn't like your meal at Bondir Concord and I wasn't knocked out by mine at Bondir Cambridge. That doesn't lead to whacking a chef you don't know over the head with verbal brickbats.

                                                            1. re: teezeetoo

                                                              In the end it's the pretense, and the public whining that I have issue with... not someone I'd like to work for, and obviously someone Miller no longer wants to work for for whatever reason.

                                                              The combination of pretense, mediocre food, public whining, and your key employee leaving. I don't believe in coincidences and in my book the brickbats are deserved.

                                                              With regard to staff turnover MCSlim said it spot on:

                                                              "Smart restaurateurs welcome this cycle, as it reflects well on their mentoring skills and helps them attract budding young talent."

                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                Adding to the pressure is the fact that this was an extremely expensive buildout wherein everything was handpicked by Jason and company, and no expense was spared(on dishes, bathroom tile, commissioned Pheasant mural, you name it). Now Bondir is in violation of the Town of Concord's historical district bylaws and has to spend close to $75,000 to redo the entire front facade of the building as well as relocate the handicapped entrance. Their original plan had been approved by the HC, but for some odd reason they decided to go off on their own(perhaps to make sure they opened on time on Nov. 21 or to save money) and just changed the plan last minute and simply built what they wanted. A big NO NO in Concord. Anyways, they had to put in a makeshift handicapped entrance in the back that is quite inconvenient and dangerously icy on these snowy days They only have a few months to rectify their transgression. Quite a headache for them I am sure!

                                                                1. re: SophiaH

                                                                  The guardians of historical preservation in Concord and Lexington are powerful, exacting and merciless. It's always a huge, usually expensive mistake to draw their ire.

                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                  1. re: SophiaH

                                                                    The retired retired folks with too much free time on their hands on the Concord Historical commission just love it when you ignore them... "Oh say we have a violation, let's shut down the business and make their life a living hell. That shade of paint is three colors darker than any of the approved palet."

                                                                    That said Concord IS a Global tourist destination based on the history of the darned place...

                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      I am stunned they took this route.

                                                                      As someone who has dealt with the likes of historical societies in both the South End and Nantucket, let me say, merciless is being kind.

                                                                      He had to have known this would cost him big.

                                                                    2. re: SophiaH

                                                                      As I think about it further I did think the black facade was a bit incongruous and out of character for Concord. Turns out it was... I'm the last guy to side with the Concord Historic Commission, but in this case I can see the point. That black flat facade is much more Chelsea/Soho/Newbury Street than Concord. It really does stand out like a sore thumb.

                                                                      Chalk another one up for the pretentious chef.

                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                        Say what you want about the food, facade, whatever, but please do not jump to conclusions in calling someone you do not know "pretentious." I think I can speak for everyone who knows Jason Bond, both professionally and personally in saying that he is 100% pretense free.

                                                                        1. re: Debrouillard

                                                                          Having read his way too long post about his refined esthetic sensibilities (china and wallpaper) I beg to differ.

                                                            2. re: hungrytommy

                                                              Could it be that the Feb. 6th Boston Herald article quoting Rachel Miller saying she raises her own crickets and crushes them and puts them in her pastry flour have something to do with her leaving? There is a picture of her in Bondir with a plate of crushed crickets. Not sure Concord folks would be happy to know their pasta had crickets in it. Anyways, just a thought. Seems like she was still Sous Chef on the 6th, and now she is not!

                                                              1. re: SophiaH

                                                                Interesting timewise to know that as of feb 6th that's still what she was listed as, but, no, they've talked about experimenting with crickets for... something like a year now.

                                                                1. re: valcfield

                                                                  You are right about the crickets. Timing is bad though since I have heard there has been local skepticism about some of the menu items.

                                                                  1. re: SophiaH

                                                                    Strip T's has had crickets on the menu and it does not appear to have hurt their business. Then again, they may appeal to a more adventurous clientele.

                                                                    1. re: SophiaH

                                                                      These local skeptics you speak of can always enjoy pot roast night at the Colonial Inn, while they wonder why there aren't more dining options in the area.

                                                            3. re: verka

                                                              I was thinking Dr Evil, "The details of my life are quite inconsequential...very well, where do I begin."

                                                            4. It would be nice to have some of the more talented chefs open locations in the burbs. At least that's how I feel about it. We have had a few come to Metro West and be successful. Now we have the latest addition Bondir in Concord. What's the plan? Go 1 time and then start a thread on Chowhound dissing the place. You are a respected poster so pretty soon more people jump on the bandwagon. Before you know it the owner is being blamed for the food, losing his Sous Chef, violating the zoning laws and posting a letter describing his disappointment in a critics review. I am sure with any luck at all we can have him out of business in 6 months. Then we can go back and ask ourselves " why don't we have any good restaurants out here".

                                                              26 Replies
                                                              1. re: PAUL

                                                                Seems to me like all of these issues, starting most especially with the food, are fair game for Chowhound. I don't think anyone here wants to see any good place fail, but if your business is so fragile that it can't survive a bunch of food geeks talking about it in an online discussion forum, maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                1. re: PAUL

                                                                  hard to see how a less than glowing review on Chowhound could cause a zoning violation or losing a sous chef. And if the owner/chef isn't responsible for the food, who is?

                                                                  1. re: PAUL

                                                                    Paul, i do think your comments are very valid. But also, the Boston board used to be alot more nasty than it has been this last year. It is much more civil now, with more of a generous community spirit. But this particular thread, like the Neptune Oyster chef thread of a year or so ago- has been pretty harsh. Interesting, the backlash on both threads seems to have been caused by social media letters by the chefs of the respective restnts....

                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                      I still think it was a big mistake to write that letter, but I think most of what Paul is saying is spot on. I think it is fair to discuss all of these issues. I have a problem with the way in which they are being discussed. The tone for this post is too condescending as though we are the ultimate authority, either individually or at least collectively.

                                                                      www.hungrytommy.com

                                                                      1. re: hungrytommy

                                                                        i agree, thank you , hungrytommy for saying this better than i did!

                                                                    2. re: PAUL

                                                                      Read my original fairly straightforward, fair "it's about the food" review. I know overpriced, precious (after 5 other hounds have had the same experience.) My post was written in the context of several similar posts by other hounds. I went hoping to post "hey this place is great, give it a chance."

                                                                      Only got out the gasoline can when the chef appeared to be such a crybaby on the internet. At that point alls fair.

                                                                      We want FOOD in metro west, not precious, overpriced, stuff that don't taste like much. Can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                        "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"

                                                                        1. re: PAUL

                                                                          we are huge fans of Bondir cambridge& only dined at the Concord place once( it was wonderful)
                                                                          This thread is very nasty, indeed.

                                                                          1. re: kewpie

                                                                            I don't think this thread is nasty. Just filled with people's opinions. If you like Bondir or have a vested interest in the restaurant, you think this thread nasty. If you are more skeptical of Jason Bonds "all star, untouchable chef/owner status," you have a right to your opinion.

                                                                            Personally, I think we should let the restaurant experience speak for itself. I happen to agree with Devra First's review.
                                                                            Having eaten at Bondir Concord and being a Concord resident, talked first hand with at least a dozen people who have eaten there, I think the review right on. It is a work in progress and a very good rating is about right. I could list the problems diners have had with the restaurant--noisy, pretentious menu, cold food, long wait between orders, dropped orders, mutton that was inedible, diners not caring about the name of the duck they were eating, etc., etc.
                                                                            However, I am sure that over time all these glitches will be worked out. The review is what it is at this particular point in time in the life of the restaurant. For some diners, he hits a home run, for more than a few others, there is work to be done.

                                                                            That is why I did not care for Bond's rebuttal because it shows he was spoiled in Cambridge. It is a little harder to build and staff a 80 seat restaurant in the suburbs than a 26 seater in Cambridge, where foodies abide in spades and where good waitstaff is readily available. I am sure he expected a 4 rating from Devra since Cambridge got a 3.5. To not appreciate his vision and food artistry fully was unacceptable to him. Ultimately, the bottom line is can he keep his restaurant full and can he make money for himself and his investors. Having a little more humility and learning from professional reviewers such as Devra what is working in his restaurant and what is not for diners, might be in order. If this perspective of mine is nasty, so be it.

                                                                            1. re: SophiaH

                                                                              Welcome to Chowhound!
                                                                              I think that the tone of any post/ thread can be nasty. not just if I like a particular place. I tend to read a lot of the threads, Not about food, home cooking , san fran boards- and sometimes they turn.( well, not on home cooking!)
                                                                              yes, we like dining at Bondir Cambridge. I actually dont agree with Jason Bonds rebuttal. we live in cambridge, so the concord place wont be in our regular rotation, but I like to wish any new business well. this actually reminds me of the early days of T.W. Food, and all the posts about the menu, space, etc........
                                                                              no vested interest in any restaurant-- but I do get to dine out most evenings!
                                                                              and you are welcome to your perspective- thats what its about, right?

                                                                          2. re: PAUL

                                                                            Not sure I understand your point.

                                                                            I'm not in a hurry to have that particular hand feed me again, cause the food just wasn't that good.

                                                                            So what I'm doing is biting the hand that gave me a mediocre meal that I don't care to repeat. It turns out the hand is attached to a chef whose attitude in public is one I don't really care for.

                                                                            Take a look at the Pigalle thread where the owner came unhinged on the internet, I didn't really participate in that one, but getting defensive on the web is not a great marketing tactic for any business.

                                                                            Serving clients wonderful products that they want to return for again and again however is...

                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                              I am surprised you are so down on this place after 1 visit. At any rate here is my point. I suspect most of the people on this board appreciate good food. If a person really cares about good food, then they should do everything they can to help a new restaurant get started. I am talking about any new restaurant. When they are certain that the food is not going to be any good then they can start to criticize as they see fit. If you feel you had reached that point with Bondir so be it. I think your post was premature and ill advised...............That's my point!

                                                                              1. re: PAUL

                                                                                I don't think diners have any obligation to "help" a restaurant. Professionals have an obligation to do multiple visits before weighing in; amateurs often don't have the luxury of giving a place three or four visits before making a judgement, especially a comparatively costly one like Bondir.

                                                                                So, yes: I think we can easily glean that StriperGuy's pronouncements are based on a single visit, with all the obvious limitations of that minimal sample size. But that constitutes probably 90% of the opinions on this board. It's the nature of the beast.

                                                                                Caveat emptor. YMMV. Fool me once, shame on... shame on you; fool me... you can't get fooled again.

                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                  No "Obligation" was indicated. Just a desire to give a new place a chance and see what happens. You never know, it might even be good.

                                                                                2. re: PAUL

                                                                                  I understand.

                                                                                  I would not pass judgement on any restaurant after one visit all by itself, in a vacuum, particularly if a dozen hounds I respected LOVED the place. I might just chalk it up to an off night and give it another whirl at some point after the dust had settled.

                                                                                  Prior to dining at Bondir the reviews on this board were very mixed. I read a decent number of mediocre reviews and some real raves. But heck it's in my newish back yard.

                                                                                  So I decided to see for myself...

                                                                                  I'm all about the food. Hole in the wall, or 5 star dining, the chow should be delicious.

                                                                                  Let me also add some context. Boston has a pretty good history of delivering high concept restaurants where in the end the food is not quite so important as the concept. This is cerebral Boston after all, and far too many places lose sight of THE FOOD in a quest for "locally sourced, organic, farm to table, heirloom, molecular whatever..." Personally, while I appreciate where food comes from and how it is prepared, in the end I don't give a darn at all, I just want it to taste good.

                                                                                  A chef who is more concerned about the china, the drapes, and one review (accurate or not) in The Boston Glob (typo intentional) than the food, just plain pisses me off.

                                                                                  So if I had had the meal I described above with no other feedback, no harm, no foul, worth one more try, agreed.

                                                                                  Half a dozen respected hounds visiting one location or another have had bad experiences; combine that with snotty posts on facebook; heck Luther, up thread called the place "a scam." Them's strong words from a chowhound who generally knows his food pretty well.

                                                                                  I have all the data I need, that's my point in all of this. The collective wisdom of the Chow-Borg usually (not always) jibes pretty well with my own feelings about whether a place is worthy. The jury is in, the verdict (for me) is complete, next time I want fluke with a lobster reduction I'll make it myself. Life is too short to eat at a restaurant that has bummed out 6 different hounds. That is what this web site is about, using the opinions of others you trust to help guide you towards the good stuff.

                                                                                  Speaking of Concord, have you tried Asian Gourmet?

                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                    I have been to Asian Gourmet only once. I went with my wife and ordered off the Taiwanese menu. Didn't get to try much but I enjoyed what we had. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on Bondir. One thing we won't disagree on is that it is all about the food. As long as it is flavorful I don't care how they did it. I am always amazed about how many places open up and spend lots of money, time and hard work and then forget about the food. I am pretty sure from reading some of your previous posts you are familiar with Domenic's in Waltham. I take the phone orders on Friday and am there other times during the week. If you stop in Just ask for P-man and say hello.

                                                                                    1. re: PAUL

                                                                                      Very cool, Domenic's is an institution, in the very best way.

                                                                                      1. re: PAUL

                                                                                        Love Domenic's. Wish I could go there more often. (Way out of the way for me.)

                                                                                        1. re: PAUL

                                                                                          Another Domenic's lover. The real thing.

                                                                                          1. re: PAUL

                                                                                            When I worked in Waltham, I made myself a kind of hero to a lot of colleagues by introducing them to Domenic's, or bringing in a bunch of sandwiches, arancini and mini-cannoli to cater working lunches. Miss it.

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              Ditto - Domenic's was one of my favorite things about working in Waltham. It was a happy day when I discovered a side route that shaved about 10 minutes off the round trip there by avoiding Main St. traffic. I could eat an eggplant panino right about now!

                                                                                              1. re: MichaelB

                                                                                                That melanzane panino is soooo good. It's just as good the next day, too. The Dom's special is excellent, too. We are fortunate to live fairly close and get them every few weeks. What a great place, and it's so nice that they stay open until around 7:30 or so.

                                                                                            2. re: PAUL

                                                                                              I'm one of the few that thinks Dom's is just ok. THe bread being the best of what they make, sandwiches I've had there weren't all that. Language barrier with the servers just makes it impossible for me to order them exactly how I want. it That said, I was tempted by the oyster po boy tweets that went out last week - snow put a damper on getting there though.

                                                                                    2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                      To some extent I think this is what Paul is talking about. I don't see the need to name call.

                                                                                    3. re: PAUL

                                                                                      Folks, we'd like to ask that everyone get back to discussing the food at Bondir, rather than discussing whether it not it's OK to post negative reviews here. We welcome all opinions on the chow, both positive and negative, and we'd love to hear yours about Bondir. Thanks!