The Ponte has surged to the front, eh! In a town that has more Italian restaurants than Naples has noodles The Ponte soars and shines. Straight ahead three chord Italian food with a few jazz riffs tossed in.
Terrine was previously operating in the space when the valves seized and it suddenly flat lined. Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta in the next bed stepped up and in.
The place has been Tuscanized. It’s now that Tuscan farm house you’ve dreamed of buying until you looked at your latest 401k. Some faux paint and voila, voila turns to ecco, The Ponte is open for biz. The space is more charming that it ever was as Terrine. The romantic patio suitable for anything your version of romance dictates is in tact, but the main room is rimmed with a new comfortable padded bench adding to the adult atmosphere.
The fare is exceptional with all house made Italian treats starting with addictive Focaccia and Herbed Olive Oil that arrives as you make your nest.
The Vibe: Who stops by? Neighbors, Boomers and Bloomers in Beemers who will be happy to trade L.A.’s Best Fish ‘n Chips at Terrine for the Ponte Spaghetti Pomodoro.
The Staff: Really nice people who want you to treat you right even if the Hollywood Stars Tour Bus just dropped you off. I asked Somm Emily to recommend a few of the kitchen’s favorite spots around town and by the entree course she submitted a term paper with annotations and foot notes.
The Bar Program: As focused as Caesar’s Army and just as strong. Signature cocktails that are unique and well thought out to accompany a beautiful wine list.
My Amaretto Sour had Lazzaroni Amaretto, Wray and Nephew Rum, Lemon Juice, Miracle Mile Rum Bitters and Egg Whites. After the first one I wanted to slip on a tunic and punch a lion in the nose.
il Cibo: No need to woof 12 hours on Air Italia to get authentic Italian food. No need to plead with the hostess at Bestia to eat in your car if they will serve you there, either.
The Gem SaladUbiquitous greenery in L.A. is elevated to the Hope Diamond here.
Anchovy Vinaigrette that takes no back seat, Avocado, Sugar Snap Peas, House Pickled Shallots, Brioche Crumbs and Parm take this salad to the Red Carpet.
Seasonal Mushrooms on 3 hour boiled Milk Polenta was thick enough to hold a re-bar straight up.How to recover a fumble. The Branzino and Trout arrived quickly. The runner set them down on my table instead the one next over. No one asked for Trout (you should) and the Branzino was not due until after we licked the first plates clean. “The entrees are yours on us,” said Server Kevin. My ancient Mum immediately forked the fish into her Ma maw.Then another Branzino came out with the rest of the entrees so Mum wouldn’t have to sit there watching the rest of the table tuck into their mains or Branzino mate for life. Either way it was very classy. Chalk it up to opening jitters. So, let’s not be hair splitters.
The Braised Short Ribs with roasted Root Vegetables and Spaetzle
An ode to Western Europe’s Greatest Hits. The Short Ribs were as juicy as Melania’s curves and as soft as Trump’s stance on Putin. Dense and thick. (The Short Ribs, not the Trumps. Okay…the Trumps).
The Octopus with Butter Beans, Guanciale Vinaigrette and Condensed Tomatoes was more memorable than Hank in Finding Dory and I liked him a lot.
The Tagliatelle Cacio e Pepe with Spring Vegetables
It was toothy and tasty with Pork Ragu on Fusilli, Fava Beans, Pecorino Romano and Mint. A dish as bold as my 9 pound Chihuahua.
What do you do when you have class? Spiff the table an Amaro even though the service fault hand been long forgotten. It had been Love-Love all night. (Except for Mum who grumbled about having to down two Branzinos but then Mum would complain if she had to go downtown to pick up her Power Ball Winnings).
Got room for dessert? No? Make some.
The Chocolate Torte
I’d like to report as I’m the sort of sport who’ll resort to a face stuffing when it’s Jivara Choclolate Mousseline and Toasted Almond Gelato.