La Fonda Del Sol, the revival of the 1960s original with BarFry/Sumile Chef Josh DeChellis behind the stoves has garnered some mostly positive reviews thusfar from both bloggers and boarders. However as usual, there are a handful of dissenters who found the tapas uneven, the service stilted, and the concept not even remotely close to the original. And let’s face it, as good as the food might be, its midtown MetLife building location means it’s inevitably going to have trouble drawing customers beyond the business lunch crowd. Regardless, here’s the news as it stands today: good, bad, and all points in between.
The Good News: Mr. Cutlets gives the food the early thumbs-up over on The Feedbag: “I stopped in at La Fonda Del Sol yesterday, the elaborate new Spanish restaurant and tapas bar attached to Grand Central Station. Here is the short news: it’s really good! I expected nothing less, of course, from chef Josh DeChellis, one of New York’s most talented tocques, and one who has been bouncing around quite a bit the last couple of years. Fonda Del Sol will likely be his breakout, even though it doesn’t even draw on his greatest strength, Japanese cookery” [The Feedbag]
The Bad News: This Eater commenter is unhappy with the food, the ambiance, the service, well just about everything: “Went last week - if the "tapas" are any indication, I don't need to return. Has anyone connected to the venue ever been to Spain? The front room lacks any sense of intimacy, recalling an airport restaurant. The service was overly attentive - but totally unfamiliar with the menu, reciting what they had been taught in training. The wine list was.....you get the idea. And the music! Ave Maria! Rumbas, bulerias, seguiryas, fandangos, canciones popular, por favor - anything besides that blaring Tijuana Brass-style "bullfight" music that you are playing now!” [Eater Comments]
The Great News: And over on Menupages, an elated (and possibly shilly-sounding) Spaniard is totally geeked about the place: “As a Spaniard I always have the highest expectation when I visit a new Spanish restaurant in NY. As a rule of thumb I have found that it is very hard to reproduce good Spanish food in this city. Well, I'm happy to report that La Fonda del Sol joins a selected few restaurants in my list of the ones that got it right. The bar area is specially a good deal. The tapas are great (except for the empanadas and the veal croquets) I specially recommend the cod croquets, the manchego croquets, the blister roasted pimientos, the patas bravas, and the garbanzo and chorizo soup. “ [Menupages]
The Very Good News: Another Menupager is also pleased: “La Fonda has been open a couple of weeks. It has a great bar atmosphere offering tapas, specialty drinks and a nice selection of wines by the glass. The dining room is more formal with a different menu. The food is very good. The staff is very friendly and professional. La Fonda is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and offers an experience not available in this area.” [Menupages]
The Not So Good News: One nostalgic Eater commenter is upset that this new incarnation has almost nothing to do with the original: “I was so looking forward to La Fonda del Sol as were so many of my friends who are old enough to have enjoyed the original and young enough to still enjoy it now with young friends and family. What happened to the look, the feel, the fiesta atmosphere, the white stucco walls? It was a very special place in the 60's and would be spactauclar now in it's original form, not like anything that exists. Why would one "reopen" a La Fonda del Sol which has nothing at all to do with the fabulous original???” [Eater Comments]