The Ponte recently took over the space that once housed the restaurant Terrine. The turnaround was swift, and the place doesn't look that much different — Terrine's burnished mirrors and brasserie interior have been replaced by a vaguely midcentury look, with gold velvet booths and starburst light fixtures. But the configuration remains the same, and the property's main asset — its twinkling back patio anchored by a Javanese bishopwood tree — is basically unaltered. The tables now have cloths; the chairs are more Roman cafe, less rustic California picnic. Chef Scott Conant is running the kitchen, and nothing is being reinvented from his other efforts. There's the spaghetti pomodoro, the dish for which Conant is most famous. It's a thing of simple beauty, a swirling pile of al dente noodles and bright red sauce. And there's the creamy bowl of polenta topped with seasonal mushrooms, bacon and truffles. There are exceedingly dainty agnolotti, stuffed with braised duck and topped with a foie gras emulsion, English peas and pickled spring onions. This food is decadent and elegant and very well executed. Aside from the occasional plucky pizza, there's a slight throwback quality to the food at the Ponte, mainly embodied in the extreme richness of everything.
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