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Bondir, Cambridge

Bondir has been on the top of my go to list for ages.  Since it made Bon Appetit’s 2011 best new restaurant list, it’s always been on everyone else’s to go list, as well. But after months of scheduling and rescheduling, Steve and I went with his friend Bryan and Kerry. The space is small and intimate; there’s a fireplace in the front area. The meal starts with 3 homemade breads including one called “the sea,” made with seaweed and dried shrimp powder. Steve did not partake in “the sea” bread.

You have the option to order half sized portions of all the entrees. This certainly enables you to try more of the food. We got: a spinach pappardelle, Scituate scallops, duck confit, a clam and fresh chickpea dish, Waygu beef brisket sauerbraten, and Maryland shad roe.

Steve loved the spinach pasta; he later mentioned that he would have been happy with just a full order of it all to himself. The scallops were excellent; they had a great sear, but were tender, sweet and briny. The duck was good, but a little dried out. I was most excited about the shad roe. I’ve never had it before and couldn’t wait to try it. Its season is short and marks the arrival of spring, like daffodils. People who love it, really love it and get fanatical about it. The shad roe was larger than I had expected – visually similar to a 6 inch sausage that has been split and grilled. I would describe the flavor as a cross between liver and fish. I didn’t dislike it and as the meal went on the flavor grew on me, but I don’t see why it inspires such love in some people. Steve did not partake in shad roe.

We shared the 2 dessert offerings of the day: tangerine dream, a layered concoction of genoise, tangerine, thyme ice cream and meringue brulee and a chocolate panna cotta. Both were quite good, but the tangerine dream was unique and surprising.

The service was attentive, and the space is cozy. The entrees are $28-30 (1/2 orders are $14-17). We enjoyed a nice bottle of wine that Kerry chose. I think it was a lovely meal, but I think it didn’t manage to meet my (extremely) high expectations.

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