Although the New York-based steakhouse's name has nothing to do with the 007 agent, I couldn't help but imagine him walking out of the restaurant after his meal and tossing some kind of "device" over his shoulder to remove any traces that he was ever there. Sure, he would have had a few cocktails first--as the bar is where Bond 45 seems to do its best work--but what's going on in the kitchen leaves a lot to be desired.
The Italian Steakhouse/Seafood Restaurant/Prohibition Bar is lauded as being "high end," but it seems to rest comfortably in that "assumption" without really having to prove it. I discovered this after selecting its National Harbor location for a restaurant week choice. Unfortunately, the wait staff was not eager to inform patrons of that. In fact, it almost seemed like a secret and, if you didn't ask for the special menu specifically, it was not going to be mentioned. Something I've never experienced at ANY restaurant during restaurant week. But I digress....
Actually, no, I won't. After receiving said menu, I wasn't shocked to discover that filet mignon was one of their entree choices (after all, it is a steakhouse); I was shocked, however, to discover that it would cost you an additional $15 to order one on top of the set $35.13 restaurant week price. How sad, considering that's what restaurant week is designed for: to give those who normally would not patronize an establishment an opportunity to enjoy its offerings at a reasonable price for one week. Well, that wasn't reasonable--or kind--at all. Therefore, I passed. However, my dinner partner ordered it and was persuaded to get her steak topped with jumbo lump crab meat for an additional $12, which was presented unimpressively as an overbaked, miniature crab cake struggling to balance itself on top of her mignon.
I instead opted for the Maine Lobster Frutti di Mare with Strozzapreti Pasta, a combination of a 2 lb. lobster, manila clams, P.E.I. mussels and shrimp in pomodoro sauce. The presentation was a bit more impressive but the dish was over salted and pulling half of a lobster out of a saucy base and attempting to crack it makes for a messy evening, especially when the waiter forgets to bring you lobster crackers. I gave up a third of the way through; so did my dinner partner, since her steak wasn't as warm as she requested. In the end, we were left with a messy table, half eaten food, and a bill that was totally not reflective of the "bargain" we hoped restaurant week at Bond 45 would have afforded us. That's when we threw in our napkins and headed to the bar to continue with the best thing we had that entire evening: good conversation.
Fortunately, that was sweetened by the bartender's offering to make us a new drink they were testing called a "Union Square," a nice blend of Amsterdam Gin, strawberries, basil, lime and lemon juices and agave nectar. It was moderately priced at $13, as all of their cocktails are. But truth be told, I would have griped less about paying $35 for it than I did my meal. I do want to mention that to give the restaurant a fair four-course review, we did order the Fravioli Grandi--2 large fried ravioli, burrata mozzarella & stracchino cheeses, with Prosciutto di Parma--for starters and the classic tiramisu for dessert. The former created a game of "find the cheese buried somewhere in this pastry"; the latter was a typical flavored offering in an oversized slice.
Bond 45's decor is inviting enough to get you in the door, with its old world Italian charm and touches of dark, rich wood fixtures, eclectic art, and gold accoutrements on its walls, mirrors, and ceilings. And its location on the Harbor's Waterfront Street, has secured it in a prime real estate spot. But how they'll keep old patrons coming back again and again remains a mystery. Fortunately for them, with the Harbor being a tourist spot, they may not have to impress anyone enough to worry about return visitors--including me, unless it's for one of its cocktails. Other than that, my "mission" at Bond 45 is complete.
149 Waterfront St,
National Harbor, MD 20745