Monday, November 1, 2010

Restaurants: BONDA, Fairfield, CT


Bonda is back…and this time it’s right in Fairfield! Bonda was previously located in Westport near the train station, and was better known as a take-out/catering establishment called Abbondanza. In fact, for ages I thought it was only for take-out, and did not realize that to the left of the catering store-front was a fabulous, sit-down restaurant. Luckily for me, we have Westport friends who were ‘in the know’ and shared this gem with us. However, apparently I wasn’t the only one who was misinformed about Bonda’s identity, and so prompted the relocation and switch to become a full-service restaurant, and only a full-service restaurant.

Owner and executive chef Jamie Cooper is thrilled about relocating to Fairfield, on Hillside Road in the former La Colline Verte space (more recently this spot housed Fraiche). As a native Fairfielder, Cooper seems happy to be working close to home, focusing on what he does best, which is turning out great food in a fun, funky, beautifully designed space. For those of you who previously dined at this location, you will barely recognize the new Bonda dining room. Decked out in the signature Bonda-bright orange, Cooper’s wife Kim was the creative eye behind the renovation. The first thing you’ll notice upon entry is a full bar, perfect for before or after-dinner cocktails. According to Cooper, it is the first bar in Greenfield Hill in over one hundred years. The bar then gives way to the first of two dining rooms, both decked out with oversized vintage prints. The back room is more intimate with its aubergine-colored walls, for a quieter dining experience. However, the vibe in both rooms manages to be classic and hip all at the same time.
The food at Bonda is as reliably delicious as it was at the Westport location. Each of the several times I’ve dined, my meal has been excellent. The cuisine is best described as “new American” as it borrows from many cultures but does not focus on just one (menu will be online soon). Cooper said when developing his menu he chose to include a variety of options so meals at Bonda could range from a casual burger (the Bonda Burger has caramelized onions and cheddar and is served on a toasted English muffin), to a fancier ‘special occasion’ meal (you’ll love the Grilled Romaine with Parsley-Caper Vinaigrette as a starter and Pan Roasted Wild Pacific Salmon over Cauliflower-White Bean Puree as an entree). Some of the other dishes I particularly enjoyed are the classic Iceberg Wedge with Organic Berkshire Bacon, the Fresh Papparadelle with Braised Rabbit Ragu, and the Maple Brined Pork Chop with Butternut-Sage Mash.

Lately it seems as though Fairfield has become quite the dining destination, and Bonda just made it even better.

75 Hillside Road
Fairfield, CT
Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday beginning at 5:00pm

For more information on my Connecticut cooking classes, check out The Secret Ingredient Cooking School website, or my Season to Taste blog for everyday recipe ideas!

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