Thursday, May 21, 2009

If you haven't been to Ponte Vecchio, what are you waiting for?

Continuing with the theme of adventurous dining, my meat-a-tarian boyfriend and I went to Ponte Vecchio the other night for their 5 course vegetarian food and wine pairing. My boyfriend went kicking and screaming. I was super excited to check out a new vegetarian friendly restaurant.

When we parked in the free parking lot (a novelty for most downtown-ish restaurants these days), this was the view:

Incredible, right? This ended up being our view for the entire evening since we were seated at a large (enormous, actually) table outside with all of the other vegetarian diners. The view got even better as the sun went down and the bridge lit up...but back to the food.

When we were seated at the table, we were presented with a menu of the evening's food and wine pairings. I was a little nervous, as I always am, when my boyfriend is subjected to an all vegetarian meal. I'm not so sure that he's as concerned about me at a steakhouse, but...

The first course consisted of a cream of asparagus soup with a taleggio and almond panini along with my favorite wine of the evening, Yalumbia Viogner. The soup was really quite delicious and had a little bit of a warm spice to it. The panini was light and airy, despite appearing like it would be a crunchy toast. I generally like Viogner wines, and this one was really quite good.

I forgot to take a picture of the second course (blame it on the wine), and it was one of the prettiest dishes. It was a cucumber and mango salad with chopped peanuts sprinkled on top with a grapefruit and maple vinegarette. It was served along with my boyfriend's favorite wine of the evening, Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc. The fruitiness of the wine matched the salad perfectly.

The third course was my favorite dish. It was roasted wild mushrooms with a slice of sweet potato and corn in a smoky sauce. The chef later told us that it's traditionally made with bacon, to give it a smoky flavor, but used smoked paprika and was able to create a similar flavor. It was paired with Morgan Pinot Noir. Try as I might, I just can't get into red wine. But my boyfriend enjoyed drinking mine.

The fourth course was an edamame and red pepper risotto cake with caramelized onions, plum puree, and grilled pear. I'm pretty "meh" about risotto, but I thought it had good flavor. I especially liked the onions. Again, I wasn't able to enjoy the Paul Dolan Zinfandel red wine, but my boyfriend sure did. (As he reminded me the next day when he wasn't feeling the greatest.)

The final course included fresh berries - blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, in a creme anglaise sauce with minty tasting garnish. It wasn't mint, but it was really too dark to see or take a picture of. It came with St. Supery Moscato. I love Moscato wines for their sweetness, and this wine went so well with dessert.

All in all, it was a great evening. The staff was very attentive, and the general manager, Brittany, was constantly checking on guests to make sure they were enjoying themselves. I think that's a staple of this restaurant. It seems to have a sophisticated, yet homey feel where everyone who works there really cares about making sure you have a great experience. Even my meat-a-tarian was impressed with the food and wine served. Although he hopes that we can go back sometime soon so he can try one of their meaty entrees. This restaurant is really a hidden gem. Forget the hype about the trendy restaurants around town - this is a restaurant that provides a great atmosphere, fantastic service, and even better food. They need the support of Clevelanders to stay afloat in this awful economy. Won't you help them?

1 comment:

  1. St. Supery Moscato is one of my all time favoties!