There's a certain energy you get when you walk into a restaurant. And when it's hitting on all cylinders it can be electric. That's the feeling we got when we entered FONDA, a new Mexican spot in Park Slope.
It's owned by chef Roberto Santibañez, formerly of Rosa Mexicana. The place is strikingly simple in its design with bold colors and an oversized Mexican mirror above the bar. You're want to stop here first for a signiture margerita ($8) with lots of salt around the rim. We found ourselves drinking quite a few (The wait for a table can be an hour or more.) as we munched on the house guacamole ($9) served in a stone bowl called a molcajete. It's loaded with a delicious mix of fresh avacado and cilantro. For added kick, have it spiked with jalapeno peppers.
The menu at FONDA is rather simple with maybe eight or night appetizers and a dozenor so entrees. We started with crispy chicken flautas ($7), one topped with a spicy salsa verde; another with a smoky chipotle sauce. Somewhat less daring is the fish salpicon ($10), a mix of fried fish, onions and cilantro that's eaten solo or scooped into soft tortillas for little make-shift tacos. I thought it could have used an extra splash of lime... so splash away. A pulled duck appetizer on the menu, called duck zarape, is served sandwiched between two tortillas in a tomato habenaro sauce. Unfortunately it was sold out when we visited, but offers a another reason for a return trip.
Entrees are equally satisfying. Grilled skirt steak ($17) was tender and juicy served on a bed of fried tortillas and red cabbage in a vinaigrette sauce. Then there is the Marco Polo ($14) which resembled a chicken stew cooked in banana leaves. Tender pieces of achiote-braised chicken submerged in a tomato-habanero sauce. This dish would be perfect on a cold winter day. Another winner is the pork adobo ($14), tender chunks of pork shoulder cooked in a deliciously rich mulatto chile sauce and topped with pickled onions.
And be sure to save room for desserts. The best buy is the dessert sampler ($11), a trio of perfectly prepared sweets; including berries and cream served with lemon cookies, a thick chocolate pudding topped with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon encrusted nuts, and rich fudge brownies with a chocolate dipping sauce. Yum!
We could really find no fault with our meal. In other words, FONDA is fabulous which may explain the long lines!