Where: Bondir – 279A Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
When: Januar, 2012
I’ve been wanting to try Bondir since it opened last year and even more so after reading that it was rated one of the top ten new restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit. I had tried to go a couple months ago but was unable to get a reservation (apparently it typically takes 3-4 weeks to get a Friday or Saturday night table – yikes). Luckily, with only a few days notice I was able to get one of their 14 tables for last Saturday night.
I got there a couple minutes early and sat in their little waiting area quickly falling in love. The decor is my current obsession – french farmhouse. I love the pale green and cream walls. I love the wood benches and bird themed cushions. I love the brick fireplace and tree trunk tables. I love the random glass globes. I love the flowery plates on the simple clean tablecloths. Basically, I want to live in Bondir.
The service was fantastic, we had our server but then there was always another staff member sneaking up to refill our water and wine glasses and clear plates. Our server went over the menu with us and explained that all menu items come in half or full portions and typically three half portions is a good size for a meal. We started with a bottle of the Pinot Noir which was very good and perfect for the “feels like 4 degrees” Boston weather out there. We were quickly brought some bread that is made in-house. The three slices we received were 9 Grain, The Sea, and Bronze Fennel Seed. The Sea slice was very unusual with nori seaweed and shrimp (as well as a few other ingredients I can’t remember).
I started the meal with the Butterball Potato and Celeriac Chowder with Roasted Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika Oil. It was creamy but not heavy and the roasted hazelnuts added a really nice crunch to it which I haven’t had in other soups. I was surprised with every bite (thanks, short term memory). Libby started with the Spice-Poached Red Beet,Baby Lettuces and Fines Herbes and Kañiwa, with Blood Orange-Pistachio Vinaigrette which looked really good.
For our entrees, I was a little stumped. There was a scallop dish that looked amazing but I am pretty convinced (although not 100% positive) that I am allergic to scallops so that wasn’t a risk I was ready to take. Not tonight anyways. There was a roasted lamb dish that looked really good as well but I thought it might be a bit heavy for me. I opted for the Keener White Corn Grits with Pan-Fried Tamworth Ham, Fresh Maine Shrimp Bisque, Cabbage, Dahlia, and Chili Vinaigrette as I love corn, ham, and shrimp. The dish was very good although it was a little heavier and fattier than I was in the mood for. I was hoping for more refined and light but I don’t think this is Bondir’s fault though, I should have known better by the description. It was really well prepared and flavorful. Libby got the Fresh Perigord Black Truffle Triticale Flour Rigatoni, Garlic Chives, and Parmigiano Reggiano after our server’s recommendation as the truffle had just arrived from France. After a little research I learnt that this particular truffle is considered to be the world’s finest black truffle available. Oh la la, I can see why the server was so excited about it! Libby said it was delicious and she would rate it a 5 out of 5. This was also the single most expensive dish I have seen on a menu. I don’t often talk about money and prices but this dish was $60 for the full portion. My wallet thanks me for not being a huge fan of truffle.
We were pretty full after two half portions but ordered the Weston Wheel cheese plate (Raw Sheep’s Milk, Woodcock Farm, Weston, Vermont with Squash Mostarda, and Pickled Concord Grapes) to balance out the meal. We debated between port and coffee and, naturally, the port won.
We left Bondir happy and full.
Leaving Bondir brought back all sorts of random memories as I lived in a house across the street on Columbia about 7 years ago. It was an old run down house (which now looks new and renovated, bravo) which we discovered had a goat buried in the back yard. I shared the place with 3 messy boys (one of which, a death metal drummer, chased me out by making a move on me one night) that I didn’t know and my downstairs neighbor got robbed at fake gunpoint by a 13 year old just a couple blocks away. I didn’t live there long but left with more wacky memories than I know what to do with. How the neighborhood has changed!
We headed down the road for a night cap at Cuchi Cuchi. Cuchi Cuchi has been on my “must go” list for a while now and now that I have been in there I am even more eager to get there for a meal. CUTE! We sat at the bar and asked the bartender the differences between some of the Cognacs on the menu and he quickly offered a crash course on some of the different kinds. We tried 2 cognacs, a brandy, and an armagnac. He was patient in explaining the differences and clearly loved what he does. I settled on the armagnac and Libby had a brandy. He even warmed our snifters for us – charmed!
Great night but needless to say I did not make it to yoga the next morning.