5.9
LA

The Ponte

Perfect For: Corporate Cards Wasting Your Time and Money
PHOTOS: Jakob Layman

It’s your 10th birthday. Your mom secured the prime party room at laser tag and all your friends showed up ready to compete. It’s a good day. But then you start opening the gifts, and come to find out, one by one, that everybody bought you a shirt. Some are a little different, but some are the exact same because there’s only one Target in your town. And suddenly, your best day ever has become a lot more boring.

This is what dining at The Ponte is like. You’re generally excited to be there, but as the meal wears on, you wish it all hadn’t become so dull.

Located on Beverly Blvd, The Ponte is a very pretty space - if slightly disjointed. The interior has a mid-century modern, don’t-touch-anything-it’s-your-boss’s-house affect to it and the patio, with ivy-covered walls and string lighting, feels like Scottsdale’s graduation dinner venue of the year. The good news is everything is nice to look at and that cocktail you ordered is hitting all the right spots, so you don’t care if nothing goes together. But you will care when the food starts to arrive.

Jakob Layman

The Ponte’s menu reads like a “Now That’s What I Call Italian Food: 2003!” culinary album. There’s a $65 prime rib, some wood-roasted prawns, a margherita pizza, and their signature pomodoro pasta. But as each one hits the table, you realize it - these are all birthday gift shirts. Some look nice, and some are definitely higher quality than others, but overall, you simply wish you were getting something else. The margherita pizza is bland and the hamachi crudo might be good, but we don’t actually know because it’s so covered with relish and every pickled vegetable they could find. And the famous pomodoro pasta? It’s fine. In the same way giving a button-down to a 4th grader for his birthday is fine.

And that’s the overarching theme at The Ponte - acceptable. You can take your parents here for some run-of-the-mill pasta and a night out on the patio, and it would be acceptable. You could snag a table inside and drink some cocktails during a first date, and it would also be acceptable. But there’s no excuse for being acceptable when a restaurant has all the resources to be great. And unlike all those shirts you got at laser tag, there’s no return policy here.

Food Rundown

Pasta al Pomodoro

This is the exact same recipe/dish that made Scarpetta a Beverly Hills institution for all those years, but unfortunately, it’s just forgettable now. Is it an offensive plate of pasta? No. Is it a plate of pasta you could get anywhere in LA these days? Yes.

Margherita Pizza

The crust on this guy is actually pretty great. The problem is the tomato sauce on top is so entirely flavorless, it doesn’t matter how good of a crunch the dough has.

Hamachi Crudo

Covered in a bunch of sauces, a raisin relish, pickled cauliflower, and mint, we only ask one question - what are they trying to hide here?

Tuscan-Style Chicken Liver Pate

This is a good pate. The awkward little bread saucers you’re supposed to put it on are not as great.

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