Thursday, November 4, 2010

Good Food and Celebrity Spotting

Cafe Ponte, unquestionably one the the best restaurants in the area was the location for a lovely dinner with Frank tonight, before he leaves on a four-day business trip to New Orleans. Tough duty, my friend, but I do understand it is a weekend and you have to work the trade show floor... ouch ! You can read prior comments about Cafe Ponte by clicking this LINK to my July 2010 post. More on our meal in a moment. Cafe Ponte is on Ulmerton Road in Clearwater, close to the Home Shopping Network. Many of the nationally known chefs dine at Cafe Ponte when they are in town pushing their products on HSN. Wolfgang Puck is a frequent visitor, and Thomas Keller (not pushing on HSN) put the pressure on Chris Ponte to come up with a dinner for "The Man" from The French Laundry.  Tonight at the next table, Frank spotted Ellie Krieger of Food Network fame. We get to put an "X" next to another culinary celebrity. She looks just like she does on TV.

More importantly, let's talk food. (doh!) Cafe Ponte has a fixe prix menu on weeknights which in my opinion is a bargain considering what you get, portion size, service, and quality of the meal. You get to select any appetizer, entree, and dessert from the entire menu, with only a few items, like fois gras or osso buco meriting a small up-charge. 

The meal began with a complementary amuse-bouche of Chris' famous Wild Mushroom Bisque with a light Truffle cream. The soup is served in an espresso cup which is all you need of the rich and extremely flavorful bisque.  For our appetizer course we both ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartar, formed using a ring mold surrounded by thinly sliced radishes, and over a bed of pureed avocado. Around the creation is a soy glaze and green olive oil. 

Our main course tonight was Diver Scallops (Frank) served with short rib sauce, creamy corn polenta, sautéed morel mushrooms and asparagus in a caramelized shallot sauce (extracted from the menu since I couldn't remember all of the ingredients). It was excellent, as I was offered a taste. I opted for the Steak Au Poivre, a 14 ounce chairman reserve age steak, black peppercorn crusted, roasted garlic mash, sautéed wild mushroom. Yummy!

Next up, dessert. I selected the Apple and Cherry Crisp served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Frank enjoyed the Raspberry Creme Brulee. Both were very good and a great way to conclude a first class meal. 

This may be a splurge restaurant, but the fixe prix menu makes it more affordable. And you never know who you might spot at the next table. 

That's all I'm Saying


arcadian said...

I'll await the english translation. I'm sure it will be published soon.

Dick said...

I have a food dictionary i could loan you, then you could translate away anytime. GRIN. You would have enjoyed the steak.