A few weeks ago I traveled to Boston to check out a spot in Cambridge that had been recommended to me by a chef. I can’t always listen to what people say and take their advice but when actual accomplished chefs direct me to a place, I take it seriously. Bondir is a small farm to table restaurant with a fireplace in the waiting area. This was nice to sit by while I waited for my table on a cold night. The atmosphere was awesome and the servers were equally friendly and hilarious. Chef/Owner Jason Bond has an accomplished track record but what I like best about him is his experience in “root cellar” harvest preservation. The following is a little history on Jason taken straight from the Bondir website.
Cooking in conjunction with Chef de Cuisine Brendan Joy, I knew I was in for a beautifully prepared meal, shall we?
So this night I was in for a perfectly sized, perfectly portioned five course meal. First was one of my all time favorites and you can ask my friend Michael (from Burrata of the Month Club *see @reformedwigger on instagram), the burrata. This was very different than your run of the mill burrata. There was a small portion of good consistency burrata on the bottom of the bowl but then on top there was a layer that was very foam like, with a meringe texture, I enjoyed this. Served with preserved tomato and coriander, this dish really popped, but there was something that made it special. Atop everything lay one leaf of “iceplant.” Crystalline iceplant, is known as Mesembryanthemum cristallinum in Latin and ficoïde glaciale in French. It’s a succulent, leafy plant that originated in South Africa and belongs to the same family as tetragon, another unusual green I’m very fond of. The leaves of the iceplant are thick and fleshy, with a frosted look, as if they were covered with tiny dew droplets. Depending on the variety, they may be flat and large, about the size of a hand or smaller and sold attached to the stem. Imagine a piece of aloe that tasted good, that’s my low brow description of an iceplant. I had never eaten iceplant so I was happy to diversify my palate.
Next was a nice sized portion of Rhode Island parsnip. This was TASTY! Little cider, little macadamia, but the sabayon??? Sabayon or zabione is a light whipped custard comprised of mostly egg yolk, sugar and some sort of liquor. Sabayon is mainly served in Italian desserts. This sabayon was a little savory if my memory serves me correctly. This meal was starting to get sexy.
Next was by far my favorite course, the lemon spaghetti. This was so perfectly cooked and just burst with so many flavors. I text my friend John while eating this and told him how good it tasted, he replied with, “I bet, those guys kill it… but lemon spaghetti sounds like a synth rock band. A band that would play with Tame Impala.” HA! As far as actual spaghetti goes, this was a 10!
Next was the Hen Leg Ballotine. Now before I go in on this, you need to know what ballotine actually means. A ballotine is traditionally a boned thigh part of the chicken, duck or other poultry stuffed with forcemeat and other ingredients. It is tied to hold its shape and sometimes stitched up with a trussing needle. A ballotine is cooked by roasting, braising or poaching. A ballotine is often shaped like a sausage or re-formed to look like the leg, often with a cleaned piece of bone left in the end. In today's commercial kitchens a ballotine is often made from other parts of poultry like the leg meat, also today's ballotine may be made using many types of meat and not always poultry. The daikon and the maitake on this plate were excellent, however I did not care for the ballotine itself. It looked good, the presentation of the plate was perfect, but I just didn’t like the consistency. The meat was spongy, and in the world of ballotine this was probably good, I had just never had anything like this. Maybe one day I will experience another ballotine and I will be open-minded.
Time for dessert and I was excited, I LOVE mascarpone cheesecake. This dessert was excellent and it had a lovely presentation. Imagine a hard bed layer of house made graham cracker, the cheesecake on top of that, and the green strawberry granita shaved atop the cheesecake. Granita is just a sexier term for shaved ice, or Italian ice. This made for a nice clean contrast between the cold tartness of the ice and the creamy fullness of the cheesecake.
Bondir was insanely good, the service, the attention to detail, the ambiance, everything. I’m really excited to return for the summer menu, and you can bet your sweet ass I will be returning.
I hereby give Bondir...
This has been another installment of Benn Breaks Bread. Join me next week when I review a very intense hip hop brunch at Alden & Harlow in Cambridge, MA.