A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a media tasting of Bond's new food and cocktail menus. I was in awe of how beautiful the space is from the moment I ascended the staircase and entered the lounge. The decor and name pay tribute to the restaurant and lounge's heritage. Sparkling chandeliers dangle from 20-foot-high ornate ceilings, plush chairs abound, and oversized bonds adorn the walls.
I arrived with Meghan and Daisy, and we found Lin already enjoying a cocktail. We all settled in at one of the reserved tables and caught up while poring over the menus and snacking on housemade potato chips and dip.
For my first drink, I decided to try The Fed, which features Bacardi Oakheart Rum, St-Germain, fresh lime juice, and ginger soda. I found it similar to a dark and stormy but sweeter and less spicy.
Soon waiters started bringing out plates of food, round after round. First to arrive were the Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. They were filled with shrimp, chicken, and a spicy peanut sauce. I loved the mixture of flavors the compact bite offered: peanutty and minty, sweet and spicy, bursting with cilantro.
Next up was a simple appetizer of heirloom tomatoes stuffed with Stracchino cheese in a dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I thought it was such a cute idea to stuff the tomatoes. And the creamy, smooth, mild-flavored cheese was just the right stuffing.
The next dish ended up being my favorite of all the offerings: crispy Point Judith calamari with sweet chili sauce, black sesame seeds, and cilantro. I'd never had calamari dressed this way, and I couldn't stop eating the spicy-sweet rings. We kept this dish on the table for most of the evening and the rings remained crispy for quite a while.
The next dish, the grilled baby corn with Espelette, cotija cheese, aioli, and lime, was the only one I wasn't fond of. Something about the flavor and texture of baby corn just doesn't do it for me. I loved the accompaniments though and think this dish would be wonderful with regular corn on the cob sliced into medallions.
The sweet soy and ginger chicken wings won me over on presentation alone. I've never seen such fancy, lounge-worthy chicken wings. And not only did they impress with their looks, but they were quite tasty too and easy to eat. I learned that the chef poaches the wings first, which makes them very tender and moist. Then they get great flavor from a little charring and some candied ginger.
At that point I was ready for another drink and chose The Appraisal, which the menu said was made with Beefeater Gin, St-Germain, brown sugar, and grapes and peas. I didn't find any grapes in my drink, which was full of gin flavor and on the sweet side.
When I saw lobster and chorizo quesadillas on the menu, I was thinking of the typical pub fare quesadilla, but what arrived at our table was a long plate of beautifully presented bite-size quesadilla rolls. These were chock-full of lobster, queso blanco, sweet corn, and smoky chorizo. This was another appetizer I could see myself coming back for.
The final savory dish was the flat bread pizza with Great Hill Blue, grilled stone fruit, pancetta, and arugula. Had I not had so many other appetizers, I would have polished off the whole thing. I loved the combination of flavors and the chewy-crispy crust.
We had a little break between "dinner" and dessert during which we enjoyed the sounds of jazz singer Gian Farone. You can hear emerging jazz artists at Bond every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Dessert is pretty much always the most anticipated course for me, and I couldn't wait to see what Bond had to offer. We received the chocolate tasting, which featured milk chocolate powder, Guanaja ice cream, white chocolate brûlée, and smoked chocolate cake. Of these, I really only liked the first two. The chocolate powder was fun and interesting. I expected it to be powdery like hot cocoa mix, but it actually melted away to smooth chocolate on your tongue. The ice cream was rich and intense and served atop chocolate pearls. The brûlée was just okay and the smoked chocolate cake reminded me of Laphroaig, and that's not a good thing.
We also tried the strawberry rhubarb gratin with mascarpone mousse, mint, and black pepper sable. This was awesome. The mascarpone mousse reminded me of panna cotta, and the soft rhubarb and fresh strawberries added a light component to the dessert.
The last dessert was the sticky toffee pudding with brown butter ice cream and Booker's Whiskey caramel. I set myself up to not like this dessert, as sticky toffee pudding is usually too mushy for me, but this one was both moist and firm, and the caramel and ice cream were flavorful accompaniments. I kept going back for more.
I can't believe I've gone this long without venturing into Bond. I truly enjoyed nearly everything we had and loved the swanky, elegant atmosphere. I can't wait to go back, especially for calamari and lobster quesadillas.
Thank you to Mallory for inviting me, to everyone at Bond for making us feel welcome and providing us with such great service, and especially to executive chef Mark Sapienza for sending out such an incredible spread.
This tasting was complimentary, but as always these are my honest opinions.
Have you had any noteworthy dishes lately?