The colder, darker months are upon us — which help set the scene at Fond.
The cozy corner spot in South Philadelphia provides a panoramic view of a lively East Passyunk intersection, and inside, Fond’s candle-lit ambience pairs well with its contemporary American menu.
While Fond leans more toward classic French flavors and techniques, other influences find their way onto the menu to add flair and excitement. An amuse-bouche shot of the wonderful and bold mushroom bisque set the tone for the meal. Small plates like the Hamachi ceviche ($14) stand out with pleasant acidic and briny flavors, punctuated by the toasted cancha corn. Their pâté du jour ($13), which was comprised of chicken and liver, was hearty and brightened further in its execution by the presence of assertive rhubarb-strawberry mustard, which brought the entire dish together. An outstanding small plate was the grilled duck hearts ($12), which were perfectly cooked and tender. The dish incorporated some Mediterranean flavors like tahini yogurt, black sesame and cucumbers to balance out the bold meatiness of the hearts.
Larger plates at Fond were equally intriguing. Dishes like the lamb stroganoff ($30) and the braised lamb with truffle risotto ($30) brought out layers of comfort-dish charm and refined techniques that hit the spot beautifully. On the more exotic end of the spectrum, the pork belly ($28) had a thick and crisp fried-exterior layer protecting the juicy, tender interior like pork armor. Getting a little of both in one bite is an interesting marriage of textures, and the cheddar grits and pork pull everything together nicely.
Given the scope of the menu and the cozy bistro vibe of the space, Fond is a relaxed fine-dining experience one should experience with good company. Make sure you bring someone along whom you are, at the very least, fond of.
If you go:
1537 S. 11th St.
Tues.-Fri.: 5:30-10 p.m.
Sat.: 5-10 p.m.
Sun.: 5-9 p.m.