Dinner At Bondir, Concord, Mass.
Hi, friends! You may have noticed that I was kind of quiet this past week. That's because I was in Aruba, finally getting some warmth and sunshine and spending quality time with my mom and sisters (posts to come on some great restaurants there)! Before I left, though, Jeff and I made a last-minute decision to go out to dinner, and after looking over lots of menus from various restaurants I want to try, we decided to see if we could get a table at Bondir in Concord. There was a spot available at 8:45, and even though that's a bit later than we'd normally go out, we took it. Concord is about a half-hour drive from us, so the late reservation gave us plenty of time to get ready (and time for me to do some last-minute packing) and to make the drive out there.
We parked on Walden Street, where Bondir is located, and I looked around at all the stores (closed because it was after hours) lining the street and was confused as to where Bondir might be in the midst of them. We walked a little ways down the street, and at the end of the row of stores, set back a little, was the restaurant.
The front of the restaurant, near the windows, looked romantic and cozy, but we were led through the bar area to a small table right by the open kitchen. (I actually preferred sitting there so I could see the action.) Chef Jason Bond stood at the pass all night, checking every dish that came out of the kitchen. I was impressed. (I was also impressed with that gorgeous pot used as bucket for open wine bottles and that rustic wood table -- the whole restaurant has a rustic, industrial yet cozy feel, which I love.)
The menu at Bondir changes nightly (ensuring everything is very fresh), so we had checked it out online before we went and had an idea of what we wanted to order. Our waiter came over to explain why all the dishes besides the soup and salad had two prices: You can get half orders or full orders. This makes life much easier for someone who is as indecisive about food as I am! I always want to try everything!
We settled in with our drinks -- I had the French 75, which at Bondir is less sweet than other versions I've had and very zippy, and Jeff had a Hefeweizen -- and looked over the menu one last time. We decided to go with four half portions of entrees and figured we'd add something on if that wasn't enough food -- it was. While we waited for our entrees, we got to try some breads (I've heard so much about Bondir's breads). On the night we went, there was an emmer and einkorn sourdough and a warthog wheat with Magnum hops and cranberries. Both were really good and served with soft butter; I loved the flavor and texture of the bread with cranberries.
Our first plate to arrive was the fava leaf pappardelle with roasted rabbit ragu, fava beans, and Parmigiano Reggiano. The pappardelle is made in house and has the fava leaves incorporated into the dough. It was was nice and thin and cooked al dente. The rabbit ragu, made from local rabbit, was so tender and had hints of carrot. The combination of pasta, rabbit, salty cheese, and fava beans made for our second favorite dish of the night.
Next we tried the handmade burrata with a roasted Berkshire pork rib, oro blanco grapefruit, brown butter gingerbread crumbs, 50-year sherry vinegar, and petite greens. I thought the pork, greens, and burrata were all very good (the burrata was so creamy and the pork so flavorful), but I wasn't quite sure how all the components tied together. I scooped heaps of burrata onto the greens and topped the ensemble with bites of pork.
The dish we thought we'd be fighting over -- and almost ordered a full portion of -- was the roasted Rohan duck breast and confit leg with turnip with rosemary and apple and a little olive puree. The duck breast was nicely cooked with crispy skin and sat atop a smooth puree of turnip. The confit leg blew the duck breast away though. I liked all the elements on this plate from the oil-cured olive puree to the super-thin apple slice to a slab of turnip that was hiding beneath the duck leg.
But I guess they saved the best for last, because our favorite dish was the roasted Berkshire pork loin with warthog wheat berries, horseradish crème fraiche, roasted treviso, buckwheat honey, pickled ramps, and red wine jus. I just about cleaned this plate. The server who brought over the pork mentioned that the pork is brined, and you could tell in just one bite. The thin slices were supermoist. Everything on the plate imparted so much flavor. I kind of want horseradish crème fraiche with every meat now (it was so much more interesting than a typical horseradish sauce). And those wheat berries were incredible -- so well seasoned, and with that nice nuttiness wheat berries are known for.
We had a little room left and each decided to get a scoop of ice cream (you get the option of one to three scoops, which is nice if you just want a little something sweet at the end of your meal). Jeff choose the Seville orange frozen yogurt, and I went for the dark chocolate-orange gelato. Both were served in beautiful quenelles. The frozen yogurt sounded good in theory, but it tasted really pithy and left a bitter aftertaste (our waiter actually removed it from the bill when he saw we weren't enjoying it). My gelato, on the other hand, was very good. It started with deep dark chocolate notes and finished with bright orange notes. The texture was not as smooth as I expected, but I ate every last bite, nonetheless. I figure it might be made with a grainier chocolate, like Taza.
With our bill came some last little sweet bites: a house-made bark and some hazelnut meringues. Both were excellent.
Jeff and I really liked the atmosphere at Bondir and enjoyed the food, most notably the Berkshire pork loin and fava leaf pappardelle with rabbit ragu. Our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable (about the cocktails, food, and even that adorable serving dish our bark and meringues came in) and friendly and helped us make tough choices, like whether to get the swordfish or pappardelle. We truly had a nice last night out before I headed off on my trip.
Concord is a bit off the beaten path for us, but Bondir was worth our trek.
What are some restaurants that you don't mind traveling to?
Labels: Restaurant reviews and events