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Jan 29, 2014 12:14 PM

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.


                    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.


                      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.


                            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.