Located on a remote stretch of Broadway Ave in Cambridge is a culinary delight that will entice from the minute you lay eyes on it right until your next visit..which will surely be not too much thereafter!Jason Bond's Bondir just celebrated its first year anniversary and they certainly have cause to celebrate. Only open for a year, this 28 seat restaurant has been dubbed 2011's best new restaurant by Boston Magazine - not to mention the other rave reviews that had placed this little hole in the wall at the top of my to-visit list.
On Monday, I finally managed to frequent Bondir and all the waiting was well worth it. Bondir is a top spot and Chef Jason delivers solid, tasty dishes without any presumption.
At Bondir, the menu changes daily, allowing Chef to showcase any of the ingredients he himself has picked up during the day or earlier that week. Our meal started off with one slice of each of their homebaked breads. My favorite was 'The Sea', which was baked with swirls of seaweed, squid ink and speckles of dried shrimp...it was a challenge not to fill up on the bread before the real eating began!
I started with the Roasted Butternut Squash soup, a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Complexity of flavor was added with the spiced homemade marshmallow, crisp shallots (for a nice crunch) and bee pollen.
My friend had the hand-made burrata served alongside a shaved vegetable salad and spiced beets. This dish was fresh and colorful, although it fell well short of the killer soup.
We could not resist indulging in the Fresh White Alba Truffle shaved over handmade buckwheat cavatelli and raclette. Although the dish arrived in fanfare with the truffles being shaved right in front of your nose (the smell was rich and pungent), the taste of the truffles was a little lost amidst the strong taste of raclette. None of it was spared though!
Conveniently, with all of the dishes, you can opt for a half portion. This way, you can try many things for half the price..and half the stomach space!
Next was the Scituate scallop dish. This was one of my favorites, it was beautifully arranged with a pungent scent of dill wafting up as it was placed in front of you. The scallops were nice and meaty, color and texture was added with bright red pickled cranberries, baby leeks, and a roxburry russet apple. A complicated dish like this is often hard to pull off, but apart from the foam (which was more for visual effect), everything held up nicely.
Chef Jason is known for his skill with pig, he thus had two pork dishes on the menu and to my delight, one was a roasted-pork belly served with beautifully charred brocoli and heirloom keener grits. I especially liked the contrast between the crispy-crisp top and the soft, smooth pork belly. It was delicious!
Last on the savory was the Roasted Tamworth Pork Loin. The meat was tender and sweet, accompaniements were interesting with a honey-braised watermelon radish and red cabbage. This dish is perfect for a cold winter evening. Unfortunately, Monday was a beautiful 60 degrees...Boston temperatures are lagging behind the culinary scene!
To finish, we tried the dark chocolate sorbet, was rich and speckled with strong cocao nibs.
More to the point, we had their Roxbury Russet Apple Trifle. I LOVE trifles and apart from the cup inside a cup which kept sliding around, the layers in this trifle were delightful. A perfect cross over from fall to winter with brown butter genoise, vermouth and vanilla. A scoop of thyme-buttermilk ice cream and a meringue brulee topped it off.
By the time the courses had ceased to arrive, I was very disappointed - not because I did not enjoy them - but rather because all the eating was over...
Bondir was an experience that quite lived up to my expectations. The atmosphere is cosy and warm, the service is likewise - nothing feels pretentious and Jason Bond himself is the epitomy of a humble genius.
Every dish is constructed with thought and intention, this menu will do perfectly in the winter.
I can't wait to go back as seasons change and the menus along with them!