after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Fond … “A Hundred and Fifty Thousand Percent Right!”

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t says:  In a mini-FTC (any gathering of 4 of the five of us: g, t, a, v, and/or kp), all but kp headed to Fond.  It was a meal that started at around 9:30 I think.  It ended after 1am.  I’m sure it could have gone longer had we had more wine.  Here’s a picture-show of what happened …

8/2011.  Friday Dinner.  Party of 4.  We arrived with quite a few bottles of wine that night.  Riesling, Champagne (the ‘good stuff’), 1.5 bottles of red.  There may have been one other.  I can’t remember – a might remember, but the details are not as important as the fact that we offered some to our server, who happened to be one of the owners, Tory.  Brilliant move.

A liquid amuse bouche ...

We started the meal off with a “Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho”.  It was refreshing, cleansing, sweet, spicy, awesome.  Someone remarked, “hey! it’s like a Bloody Mary … but with watermelon.”  Upon informing Tory of our opinion (no idea why we felt it was necessary to do so), he chuckled with us and agreed.  “It only needs vodka.”  This amuse was so good that it inspired g and d to try and concoct one at home.  While not as successful as the original, messing around with pureeing watermelons was good fun and we’ll give it another whirl for everyone at a brunch one day.  I hope everyone’s ready for “Blushing Mary”.

The veal breast and sweetbreads and broccoli rabe terrine.

I ventured the “special” terrine appetizer.  I will say simply that this is the best thing I ate that night and easily the best terrine I’ve ever had.  Of course, it has the distinct advantage of being a warm dish, whereas most terrines I’ve had have been cold (I like warm dishes).  For some reason, my notes indicate that someone said, “The heat is broughten”.  Apparently, the terrine was so good that we felt obliged to violate some fairly basic rules of grammar …  It actually defies description, so I’m moving on …

g got the yellow fin tuna crudo.  She always gets the yellow fin tuna crudo.  It’s that good.  I have nothing else to report …

v had the corn risotto, for which I lack a picture.  Her response consisted of “Wow!” followed by unintelligible sounds/noises/silence.  Eventually, she said something about how “it was like Mexican food” or “a high class cream corn” or “a fancy Thanksgiving”.  She agreed with g’s assessment: “I feel like i can make this at home … but I know I can’t”.  At this point, someone was declared by v to be “a hundred and fifty thousand percent right”, but the context is unclear – g thinks it might have been something she said … so all we know is that something about Fond’s corn risotto is “a hundred and fifty thousand percent right”.

Something v got? Foie?

v also ventured the Foie.  I have no notes – I assume she liked it.  Either that, or this dish, too, strickened her with silence.

a's wing of skate and gnocchi

a’s lone comment regarding his skate was: “This is some badass skate”.  Upon further inquiry, we’ve decided that this skate had been donning tattoos and riding a motorcycle (without a helmet, of course) immediately before being caught …

Harpoon-caught Swordfish

The harpoon-caught swordfish was my entree.  Actually, it was perhaps the weakest of the entrees at the table.  But that’s not to say it was “bad”.  On the contrary – much was very delicious.  The fish was superbly cooked, retaining some its fish-like qualities in terms of texture, not the least bit resembling those thick, steak-tough swordfish pieces I’ve seen elsewhere.  But unfortunately, in terms of flavor, it wasn’t really pushing an envelope.  The angel hair cake was intriguing as an accompaniment – it reminded everyone of ramen – I guess due to the umami from the mushroom and salt of the broth?  End result: superb cookery in the dish, but more subtle than I was expecting.

Skirt Steak

g got steak.  Big surprise.  Her response: “You guys, i’m so happy right now”.  And that cheese concoction in the upper-left, something that g normally shies away from, she enjoyed very much.  Once again – so close to overtaking Bibou – her fave for steak – it’s only missing that reduction that Pierre makes that’s so intoxicating …

chocolate dessert (guess who ordered it?)

For dessert, I went with a dark chocolate mousse (surprised?), accompanied by candied ginger, coconut, and that wafer which I believe was cocoa nibs (but I could be wrong).  While I’m no stranger to chocolate-ginger combo, I enjoyed the twist of coconut in the dish.

The other chocolate dessert ...

Unfortunately, a ordered the real chocolate winner for dessert – I was extremely jealous.  Lucky for me, he was sharing …  Oh – I forgot to tell you what it was: malt chocolate ice cream accompanied by peanut brittle and a peanut butter ganache.  It was like the best kandy kake I’ve ever had.

The non-chooclate dessert of the evening ..., fig, pistachio tart, some kind of ice cream

g and v ventured the fig and pistachio tart dessert. “It’s kind of like baklava … but better”.  I still don’t understand why someone would want to eat that over chocolate.

a had the final food-related quote of the night: “Oh SHIT that was good.”

Ok, so you realize now that we were light on descriptions, mostly because you’d get tired of the superlatives we’d be using.  Take our word for it: Fond delivered truly great food.  It’s not the kind of food coming out of some fancy-shmancy restaurant (there were no foams or mists or crazy-looking food vessels) – it’s homey and it’s tasty.  It’s the stuff that we imagine chefs would make at home, even though we fully realize that this is most certainly not a reality.  Better yet: it’s the stuff we wish we could make at home.

What rivaled the food that night was the service.  We shared a glass or two of our liquors with Tory, who we didn’t realize was a co-owner.  End result: he was really nice to us.  He didn’t give us free food or anything, but he took us to the back patio and showed off their “chef’s table” space.  For around $100/head, you get some insane meal for you and 7 guests.  Immediately, we had flashbacks of Talula’s Table.  We’ve got to do that.

Later, as the other patrons left, the staff and Tory visited our table and started chatting with us.  We met the famous “Steve” – PhillyMag’s “Best Waiter of 2011”.  We’ve had him once before – before his fame/fortune.  He’s good.  But this night, we got to know him – he is funny.  Select quotes include:

-“Stop touching my hair it’s Friday night.”
-“I’m trying to get two years in a row.”
-“Yea, the foie – its a nice piece you could share it… but I wouldn’t – it’s too damn good.”
-“Not because I work here but it’s the best swordfish I ever had.”

There were other quotes but either included more expletives or were surrounded by a controversial/racy context (this is a family-friendly blog!), so I can’t put them here.  Trust us – he actually is funny.

Then Omar, a server from Lacroix came in and chatted with us some.  Topics ranged from countries in central and South America, how surprisingly tall a is, and why v hates Lacroix.  Hilarious.  Time flew and before you knew it, some members of the party were enjoying a shot of some sort of unidentified alcohol and we were being invited to a happy hour celebrating their second anniversary.

In summary, the food was excellent.  The service was friendly.  We’ll be going back, guaranteed.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

23 September 2011 at 2:51pm

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