105 Norman Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222
Cuisine: French Bistro
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great
Cards: All Major
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday & Sunday 5pm – 10pm; Friday & Saturday 5pm – 10:30pm; Monday closed
Booze: Full bar
Subway: G train to Nassau
The menu features good-looking starters such as marinated mussels with white beans, tomato confit and fennel, and rabbit terrine with apple mustard, hazelnuts and toast. Mains include a daube de bouef with red wine glazed vegetables, and hake with sherry caper vinaigrette and black lentils. There’s also a griddled burger with dill relish and French fries if you’re in line for something a little more American. I tried the skate with carrot browned butter puree, fennel and lemon parsley sauce. It was superb, with the anise flavor of the fennel playing deliciously against the sweet carrot and the slightly salty, perfectly cooked skate wings. I also had a beautifully moist almond cake with poached pears and a salted caramel sauce.
The sun-drenched eatery, which took over for Polish spot Antek (the former owner is a silent partner in the new venture), exudes the Neighborhood Spot vibe with its bright, cheerful interior that beckons for lingering brunches and wine-filled dinners. The distinctive blue walls and warm wooden furniture lend a cozy, New England type of atmosphere, which makes sense considering chef and owner Jake Eberle grew up in Maine. Between childhood and the present, Eberle cut his teeth in kitchens like Lambs Club, a more in-your-face-type of environment than the one he’s cultivating at his own place. The opening dinner menu boasts simple, neo-bistro fare, which Eberle tells Greenpointers means “resourceful chefs who’re doing as much as possible on their own and attracting a dining audience who’re receptive to whatever’s happening in the kitchen.” Think dishes like marinated mussels with white beans, tomato confit and fennel ($9), rabbit terrine with golden delicious mustard and hazelnuts ($14) and duxelles-stuffed chicken served over creamed broccoli with broccoli stem jus ($19). Some of those big chef words sounds hifalutin, but the food speaks a more common tongue on the plate, with simple flavors and expertly prepared proteins.
Grub Street says:
Upon first glance, Le Fond looks like fairly standard (albeit handsome) neighborhood restaurant on Norman Avenue. It’s not particularly fancy or expensive, but chef Jacob Eberle’s dishes reveal real talent. This is the first restaurant from Eberle — a Le Cordon Bleu alum who most recently worked as the chef de cuisine at the Lambs Club — and his goal is to cook classic French food “without having it look old-fashioned or dated.” The result is a menu filled with cheese beignets, smoked ham-hock rillettes, duxelles-stuffed chicken, and daube de boeuf. “You’re not going to see a ton of micro-herbs and delicate garnishes,” Eberle says. “It’s not tweezer food. I want honest, Mom-and-Pop French restaurant cooking.”
Eberle’s dishes are accessible — the kind of food you could eat on a Sunday night or during happy hour at the bar in the back of the restaurant — but he takes technique seriously. Le fond means stock, a foundational element of French cooking, and it’s the defining component in Eberle’s dishes: “That sauce-building process is important to what we’re doing,” he says. “The braised short rib is the most emblematic dish of the restaurant. You take a humble cut, braise it, and you get an intense, sticky-sweet flavor.”