Midtown: 47 years after its inception, La Fonda del Sol partially opened last night in the MetLife Building with former Sumile and BarFry chef Josh DeChellis at the helm. The second grandiose restaurant to open this week, La Fonda is a revival of Joe Baum's iconic 1960's Rockefeller Center restaurant. The owners hope the new version, designed by Adam Tihany, will be a vibrant but sophisticated reflection of the original. The history behind the place, the chef cred, and her looks may get the restaurant far. But as is the case with Trigo, At Vermilion, Pranna, Rouge Tomate, and the like, opening a huge, expensively designed space might not be the wisest move in this climate.
The restaurant consists of a cafe and bar on the ground floor and a dining room and private dining room on an raised tier. The two spaces are separated by an illuminated glass wall behind the bar, so diners in the cafe can see into the dining room.
As it was back in the 60's, the focus here is Spanish food with a bit of a Latin influence, and DeChellis plans a large selection of tapas. As expected, the upper level formal dining room will be pricier than the brighter and more casual cafe, but Patina Restaurant Group’s chief executive, Nick Valenti, reports it will be "priced for the current environment."
The cafe opened last night and the dining room will open next week. More info here.