after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Fond Brings Back the PORK BELLY

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t says:  g and I went back to Fond with a bunch of peeps – it was the night they brought in their Fall menu.  While we were excited from our past Fond experience, I was especially excited for the menu change, as it marked the return of their super-awesome, super-ridiculous PORK BELLY (remember: Pork Caps)!  Because we had so many peeps, I’ve pooled together their reviews for you here.  Sorry – not a whole lot of pictures, though (it was dark in there).

I will start off and post the wine list that I created for the night:

the wine list for the evening

smn says:  SO MUCH FUN. Can we please do it again? Like soon?  The restaurant was fantastic- welcoming staff, neat area of the city, cozy feeling inside. The food was equally fantastic. The amuse bouche [t says: I think it was some kind of root vegetable soup] made my mouth oh-so-happy. I could have had a whole bowl of it, along with more of the tasty olive bread! Speaking of bowls, the the cauliflower veloute was soooo good. Could have had more of that, too, even without the dollop of greek yogurt/saffron. My scallops were delish and cooked perfectly. Surprisingly, dessert didn’t blow me away. I didn’t love the passionfruit sauce, and without a sauce of some sort the mousse cake was just mousse cake. I loved every single glass of wine put in front of me- nicely done, t. I also sampled g’s short rib and kp’s PORK BELLY- yummo all around! As for dz, he also liked the amuse bouche, enjoyed his salad appetizer (in part because of the large portion size), and inhaled his tuna dish. One observation on my end is that Fond is lacking a solid vegetarian dish to round out the menu.

kp says:  So here’s my take …

Re:  Foie Gras App:  The foie gras was expertly seared with a nice crunch leading to a nice creamy interior. The flavoring (a sweet accent of sweet potatoes, turnips and pecans) was a nice but a little overpowering and too sweet over the foie gras. Maybe just hint of next time would be much better, the carmelized were a little lost in the mix too.

PORK BELLY ... looks like a slab of meat, but it's so much more.

Re:  Berkshire PORK BELLY: Holy crap- this thing was porktastic. One of the first times i have the PORK BELLY expertly crisped on the outside but the meat still easily falls apart- you could eat with a spoon. The escarole was nice cut to the fattiness of the meat and buttery sweet potatoes but I think there needs to be a more stronger cut to balance that fattiness. The sweet potatoes were the perfect accent of delicate sweetness to the meat and again was expertly prepared, it so well caramelized. PS If your really nice to the waiter they may offer Sirachi- which for one bite of the PORK is nice (but I love spice).

Re: Cannolis:  These little cream filled delights were amazing and the brown butter apples and cider were just the perfect fall accent to bring to this dish. The pastry remained crunchilious the mascarpone filling was and airy delight!

t says:  I went for the tuna crudo.  Shocker, I know!  We had a nice white, so I eschewed the escargots I normally go for in favor of the fish.  Take a peek:

tuna over asian pear and sesame seeds

It was a delightful dish, with all the right flavors – but composition was a little off.  I think it was because those sticks of pear were a little hard to eat and juggle on the same fork as the fish and the sauce.  Great flavors, but just needed a better way to put it into my mouth.

Next up, I went for the PORK BELLY, as kp mentioned already above.  It was every bit as delicious as I remember it from the past.  Without a doubt the best piece of PIG you can get.  It’s all about the contrast between the top crisp layer and the rest of the tender meat with just the right amount of fat (so I guess whoever’s providing them with PIG should also get credit).  But I also agree with kp – it needs a little something else to brighten the plate.  It’s kind of like making football players take ballet to keep them light on their feet – but come on – this is one helluva kick-ass football player nonetheless.

The surprise of the evening was the shortrib.


The shortrib was g’s dish.  I had some.  HOLY.  CRAP.  I haven’t had a shortrib this good since the slab of shortrib included in Talula Garden’s beef duo.  It was fall-apart-tender and glazed in that rich thick sauce.  I can’t tell you what was in it, but what I can tell you is that if I go back, I’d actually not be able to choose between the shortrib or the PORK BELLY.  But of course – there are worse things in life than being forced to choose between the two.  I don’t recall the accompaniments (?Brussels sprouts? ?onion spatzle?), but like the PORK BELLY, I don’t recall there being much counterpoint to the rich lusciousness of cow meat.

In the end, I think everyone enjoyed their dishes at Fond.  The apps and mains are done superbly well.  For some dishes, all the right flavors are there, but maybe a dish here or there could use a little more tweaking in terms of composition/presentation.  For others (i.e. the pork belly and shortrib), I don’t think you can find better cooked slabs of meat in Philly.  Period.  With a little bit of brightening, these are best-dish-dish-I-ever-had worthy (crazy good!).  The desserts around the table were all thought of as “good”, but not really life-altering.  They ended the meal on a sweet note which [I believe] is necessary, but I don’t think they’re going to change anyone’s life – but I’m not even sure if that’s a fair assessment – “ragging” on dessert because it wasn’t life-changing?  Hmmm.  I guess there are worse situations for Fond to be in …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

31 October 2011 at 10:53pm

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