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Fond


zeffer81
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Wanted to take advantage of the cooler weather Thursday so we called Fond for a reservation at one of their three outdoor bistro tables. Although there were a few table available when we got there at 7:30, the small space filled up pretty quickly.

I started with the sweet corn risotto with avocado and pancetta. It was a pretty substantial amount of risotto and the fresh corn flavors shone through. The pancetta. however, was the highlight of the dish. It was fried and crumbled on top of the dish. I tried to have one or two crunchy nuggets in each bite, and their smokey crunch truly brought the dish alive. I was scraping the bottom of the plate. The husband got a special of foie gras torchon with something fruity--mango and apricot, I believe. He loved the fresh fruitiness of the dish.

Moving onto entrees. I had the pan seared halibut in brown butter with sweet pea ravioli. I'll be honest--I ordered the dish for the ravioli and it was entirely worth it. The fresh sheets of pasta engulfed the bright greenness of the sweet pea, which exploded in my mouth with a satisfying pop. The fact that it was swimming in brown butter was an added bonus :) It came with a side of haricot verts, if I remember correctly. The husband got the grilled beef (strip steak I think?) with gorgonzola, grilled asparagus and some sort of potato. He forgets what kind (it's been a long weekend...) and the menu on the website is not entirely accurate. His meat was prepared perfectly with a nice char on the outside and a rosy pink inside.

We decided to forgo dessert for Capogiro down the street (rasberry sorbet for him; half Mexican chocolate, half rosemary honey goats milk for me) but were tempted by a special of warm bread pudding.

Overall, the food was spectacular and service was solid. One of the co-owners, pastry Chef Jessie, stopped by to greet us and chat for a moment. The staff was friendly and attentive. We chatted with folks at other tables and those strolling down Passyunk Avenue. In general, the food was well-executed without being fussy or over the top. It would be a great place to bring a special date, foodie friend or picky grandmother. The South Philly ambiance just added to the vibe. I was sad to hear of Clementine's closing and hope that the LBF name will help bring people to the neighborhood, because once they have the food they'll definitely come back.

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Can you tell me a little about the restaurant's set up (how big is it? how many tables?)? The food looks fab and I'm looking for a restaurant that can accomodate a party of about 10-12. They don't have a website, so I'm not sure if the restaurant could handle this. Thanks!

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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We ate there last night. The place is small -- about the same size as Bibou, so I don't know how a party of 10 would fit -- but we ate at Pumpkin last week and there was a party of 8 or 9 and another of 6 -- there was space but the room became very noisy.

As for Fond's food -- my husband had the risotto, but without the pancetta because he doesn't like any form of bacon (brought up kosher)and I had the grilled asparagus with fried egg and caramelized shallots. He said the risotto was good but not great and not done the way he likes. The asparagus was accompanied by crisp buttered crumbs which were sensational, as well as yummy caramelized shallots. For entrees, he had the halibut with pea ravioli, and I had the special, skate wings with lentils, which was excellent. He did not find the halibut exceptional. (He's a much tougher grader than I). Dessert was pavlova with grilled peach (md) and irish whiskey cake with caramelized whisky and coookies (him). We split the desserts. Both were excellent but not the kind of desserts we really love (like buttery fruit crumbles, etc., or the cakes on Le Bec Fin's dessert cart).

Bread was served early on, before we ordered. There were 3 kinds of bread, whole grain, baguette and an olive basil bread made by the pastry chef. I didn't try that because I'm really on a low sodium diet and olives are too salty for me.

The service was excellent -- after we claimed our reservation we were greeted by name and called by name throught the meal. One male chef and Jessie, the pastry chef, came out and spoke to us and other customers. Fond is BYO but they take some credit cards and are on Open Table. Over all, the restaurant is very good but, for us, doesn't readh the level of Bibou.

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  • 2 months later...

I just enjoyed a lovely meal at Fond this evening. I wouldn't even compare it to Bibou. Apples and oranges. Bibou is decidedly French bistro cooking, and a bit more rustic. The plates at Fond were more composed and more "modern" (for lack of a better term) in their approach. From the amuse bouche of a shot glass of silken asparagus soup, to the chicken liver mousse of two perfect quenelles of the lightest and creamiest chicken liver mousse ever with shaved fennel, shaved onions, thinly sliced apples and spicy cucumber to accompany atop the toasted baguette crostinis, everything was pitch perfect. Great contrasts of flavor, textures and combinations of elements that were the perfect foil to each other. Tuna crudo with a pomegranate sauce, a yogurt sauce and fresh pomegranate seeds strewn on the plate. The acidity of the the yogurt and pomegranate played absolutely perfectly with the fatty tuna. The sweetbreads with cinnamon gastrique literally gave me goosebumps when I smelled them set down on the table. We had to stop ourselves from ordering another plate full. This is beautiful food that's so well thought out you wish you'd thought of it yourself. GORGEOUS food. It's pretty, plated like works of art and tastes amazing. My friend and I also shared the monkfish entree with lentils and oyster mushrooms and the rack of New Zealand lamb with potato latke and lamb jus. And they were both as delicious as they sound. Service was professional and well informed. Really makes me giddy to see folks with passion succeeding at sharing that with their clientele. Go soon. It's well worth the cost of admission and will be more difficult to get into once others have been once. It's the sort of place that makes you want to go back as soon as you're able to try those other things you were thinking about ordering. My dining companion is ready to drive all the way up from Cape May again just because she hadn't enjoyed such good food in quite some time. Fond will be seeing my smiling face again as soon as I'm able. It won't be too long, I'm certain. My thanks to the staff for being so gracious and hospitable. I hope I can return the hospitality some night when they can get away and visit me at OH.

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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Went there for the second time Wednesday. First time I went, I got the impression everything they served was on the sweet side: good, but cumulatively a little cloying. Turns out it was just my ordering, the four items we got from the savory menu (sweetbreads, ravioli, pork belly... something else) just happened to be on the sweet side. Since then, it's become apparent the menu is pretty balanced, on the whole, and delicious: this time, we had the scallops, split as an appetizer along with the ravioli, the steak and the chicken. The steak probably could have done without either the cheese or the beets, but I still mopped up the plate. Good food, particularly the scallops.

Really just wanted to chime in with the information that they definitely can do large parties: there was a group of 12-15 people in that night, they just assembled a long table in the back on the right. Loud, but they seemed to be having a good time.

Oh, and they definitely do have a website:

http://www.fondphilly.com/

Edited by Capaneus (log)
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Can you tell me a little about the restaurant's set up (how big is it? how many tables?)? The food looks fab and I'm looking for a restaurant that can accomodate a party of about 10-12. They don't have a website, so I'm not sure if the restaurant could handle this. Thanks!

Restaurant seats 34, can squeeze in 36 if needed.

The first "big" (buying out the entire restaurant) dinner they are doing is for the Delaware Valley Chaine des Rotisseurs.

A recent scouting expedition went very well, where we sampled almost the entire menu (skipped the soup in favor of the specials).

We started with appetizers of Tuna Crudo, Sweatbreads, Butternut squash ravioli, a special of tuna flatbread and the crowd favorite - chicken liver mouse, which we paired with a Bollinger Grande Annee 1999. All the dishes were really good, the exception perhaps being the tuna flatbread, which was OK, but did not shine as bright.

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Among the mains prepared by chef Lee Styer, we sampled were the super terrific Pork Belly (perhaps the best in the city - yes, I know that is a big claim, but just try it - I can see why Laban is a fan), well cooked lamb chops, a strip steak special (not pictured) and the monkfish which was cooked properly but did not shine as much.

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Desserts made by Pastry Chef Jessie Prawlucki are worth sampling. We got the Chocolate and peanut butter brittle, a special of gingerbread pudding, passionfruit crepes and Irish coffee souffle. Jessie said she is looking to change the menu soon, but I hope they don't change it too frequently, lest others may not have an opportunity to sample these.

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Overall, the food, service and value were terrific. The kitchen staff is young, but it does not show in their food vision and execution and they have the added bonus of being eager and looking to please the clientele under the experienced front of the house guidance of Tory Keomanivong, a vetran of Lacroix and Founders (Bellevue).

Hope this one stays around and grows to more restaurants - hopefully in the burbs too :smile:

Edited by percyn (log)
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