A cozy atmosphere for noshing
279A Broadway, Cambridge
“Bondir’’ means “to jump’’ in French, but it’s also a play on the name of chef Jason Bond, who did indeed take a leap when he left his perch at Beacon Hill Bistro to open his own restaurant. Bondir, which began serving at the end of November, is located in the former Con Sol space outside Central Square.
Bond created wonderful French food at Beacon Hill Bistro, merging tradition and creativity. Now he looks homeward, taking a similar approach with what he’s calling “sustainable modern American cuisine.’’ It represents the bounty of New England, showcasing the region’s produce, fish, meat, and grain. The menu changes frequently, but you might find roasted Macomber turnip soup with fricassee of pancetta, walnuts, and mushrooms; chestnut cavatelli with Tamworth pork ragu, white carrots, and mozzarella salata; or a laying hen and noodle stew with roasted onion and aged Vermont cheese. Also in the kitchen is Lan Lam (Craigie on Main, Troquet). Bread is baked in house, in intriguing flavors such as walnut-cherry, bronze fennel seed, and sepia-nori. Best of all, almost every dish at Bondir is available as a full or half-size serving. Finally, someone has found a way to bridge the divide between those who love small-plates dining and those who complain about the portion sizes.
The tiny restaurant is filled with antiques scavenged from shops and auctions — mismatched dishes, wood benches purchased from a church, a harvest table. There’s also a fireplace, around which guests can gather to have pate or hot cocoa or whatever is being offered that night. Bond may eventually even cook a few snacks on the open flames. He says he is “thinking about an ‘apres ski’ type arrangement, with just a few warm dishes for people to nibble: chestnuts, a tortilla, a raclette? . . . What I wish we could have was a ski trail to the restaurant in the wintertime. And a snow bank to stick your skis into.’’ Bondir isn’t quite a chalet, but it offers plenty to keep Cambridge cozy.