La Fonda Del Sol
LOCATION 200 Park Avenue (at 44th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue) MetLife Building, New York, NY 10166
OPENED January 19, 2009
RESERVATIONS (212) 867-6767, additional: (212) 867-6867 http://www.patinagroup.com/east/lafondadelsol/
OWNER/OPERATOR Patina Restaurant Group
Nick Valenti, Restaurateur and CEO
EXECUTIVE CHEF Josh DeChellis
GENERAL MANAGER Santiago Pesantez
WINE DIRECTOR Nicholas Nahigian
MENU Modern Spanish Cuisine, with Latin influences and a focus on tapas.
Separate menus for the bar room and the dining room.
LAYOUT The split-level area consists of a bar room on the ground floor and a dining room on the upper level, separated by an illuminated glass wall behind the bar with an etched pattern.
INTERIOR DESIGNER Adam D. Tihany
DESIGN A sophisticated color palette mixes vibrant and neutral shades to revitalize the restaurant for the 21st century while still honoring its abstract, iconic design roots by Alexander Girard. Banquettes are upholstered in a vivid striped Paul Smith fabric; café floor is made up of black and white checkerboard terrazzo complemented by the geometric square ceiling pattern; bright red chairs and bar stools provide a pop of color. The dining room has an intimate atmosphere with dark brown limed oak panels and up-lighting, as well as a wine room. A three-dimensional oculus in the ceiling creates depth.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Mirko Ilic
SQUARE FEET 8,000
CAPACITY 80 seats in lounge, 24 stools at tapas bar
106 in main dining room
Review By Nancy Walman
LA FONDA DEL SOL
A Classic: Even Better The Second Time Around
Patina Restaurant Group opened La Fonda del Sol on January 19, 2009, with Josh DeChellis as Executive Chef – 47 years after its inception. The restaurant provides an unprecedented stage for modern Spanish cuisine in New York. The menu includes an expansive selection of dishes from across Spain, with a focus on tapas.
“I was inspired not to duplicate our iconic property from the 1960’s, but rather to reinterpret its culinary ambition, high style and design,” said Patina Restaurant Group’s renowned restaurateur Nick Valenti. “La Fonda del Sol was ahead of its time and had a fresh, exotic appeal that I wanted to bring back.”
Chef Josh DeChellis’ extended stays in Spain, working at Martín Berasategui in Lasarte, Adolfo in Toledo and Arzak in San Sebastián, have allowed him to not only research but also to experience the unparalleled variety and nuances of the country’s cuisine and culture. Born in Bogota, Colombia, his background lends a Latin overlay to the menu at La Fonda del Sol, as does his creativity and clean, authentic style honed during his years as chef at some of New York’s most interesting restaurants including Sumile and Bar Fry.
La Fonda is bound to establish DeChellis as one of America’s most talented young chefs. Of a multi-course dinner, there wasn’t one clinker. Exquisite baby scallops were served raw in their shell with a squeeze of Meyer’s lemon as a teaser. This was followed by sushi grade Tuna Tacos with avocado and jalapeño pickled onion and the traditional Salt Cod Croquetas (like a Brandade) with romesco sauce. The next appetizer course consisted of Potted Duckling and Pork
with Oloroso Sherry wine on toasted bread, dramatically mixed tableside, the subtle flavor, a devastating and clever play on “Rillettes.” Equally wonderful, were melt in your mouth Braised Pork Cheeks with
judiones beans, sausage and parsnips and fresh asparagus with hand carved acorn fed Iberian ham and breaded Quail Egg on Micro Greens proved that less is definitely more and simple is always better.
For entrees we chose the not to be missed Cochinillo/Suckling Pig, with smoked dates and almonds. The parchment crisp skin and moist meat arrived in an aesthetic and contemporary presentation. Wild Halibut with shaved Hearts of Palm was lovely and Potatoes Brava, a side, should win the award as the best potato dish of the year.
You must precede desserts with Artisan Cheeses: Idiazabal, Valdeon Blue, Caña de Cabra, and Manchego or slices of “Pata Negra,” a remarkable ham, previously unavailable in America, with a glass of the unique dark dessert wine from Uruguay. But save room for a truly “Wicked” Chocolate Cake with Manjari Chocolate, Guajillo Chile, Cinnamon and Milk Ice Cream and the best Bunyols/Cinnamon Fritters we’ve ever tasted, here, served with Salty Caramel, Maracuya, Peppercorn Rose, and Orange Chocolate sauces.
The wine list is beautifully chosen and very reasonably priced (check out the two Cavas), as is the food. There is a fine selection by the glass. Signature cocktails are generous, wonderful and creative with the Margarita and Pisco Sour stealing the show. Service is rewarding, benevolent and professional.
The original La Fonda Del Sol was one of the first theme restaurants, created by Joe Baum and designed by Alexander Girard in the early sixties. Abstract and iconic, Girard’s design was reverent in its use of cultural references and folk art, and incorporated graphics, signs, menus, and matchboxes, in addition to tableware and uniforms.
This time around, The Patina Group commissioned Tihany Design to conceive the new space. Tihany utilized a sophisticated color palette mixing vibrant and neutral shades and sunburst graphics throughout – even extending to the china – to revitalize the restaurant for the 21st century, while still honoring its historical design roots. Tihany’s innovative design has breathed an inspired second wind into the original concept for a modern and lively result.
The split-level area consists of a café bar on the ground floor, and a dining room on the upper level. The two spaces are separated by an illuminated glass wall behind the bar with an etched sunburst pattern in order to enable guests in the café to see the action in the dining room. The café floor is made up of black and white checkerboard terrazzo reminiscent of the original La Fonda Del Sol, which is complemented by the geometric square ceiling pattern. Classic limed oak panels cover the walls while bright red chairs and bar stools, both with metal bases, provide a pop of color.
From the café bar, a softly lit stairwell leads guests up a short distance to the dining room. A carpet with sunburst patterns in hues of violet, mulberry, and cream atop dark brown covers the floor, harmonizing with a three-dimensional oculus ceiling feature to create depth. Gold leaf coats the highest point of the oculus. Dark brown limed oak panels with up-lighting at the top edge cover walls creating an intimate atmosphere. With a sophisticated color palette throughout, the back banquette is upholstered in brown, burgundy, and mulberry striped fabric, with custom dining room chairs in similar plum shades; all evocative of vibrant Latin American colors. Bursts of breathtaking flowers accentuate the whole. A wine room offering a premium selection of wine is visible in the back of the dining room. A photographic installation of abstract images representing matadors continues the vivid color story.
The Fabulous Tuna Tacos
La Fonda del Sol is located at 200 Park Avenue (enter on 44th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue) in the MetLife Building.Guests can make reservation by calling (212) 867-6767.
New York has finally received the luxury Spanish restaurant it has been waiting for. La Fonda del Sol is a dream come true and the finest Spanish restaurant in Manhattan. It is absolutely on a par with the city’s best French and Italian restaurants and rates A Major on the Walman Report.
Copyright 2009 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved