Ponte Vecchio, Old Bridge NJ
We were given a gift certificate to this restaurant and decided on going last night. We have been to their sister restaurant, Loucas in Edison, many times and have always enjoyed our dinners.
Both Ponte Vecchio and Loucas have essentially the same menu and atmosphere. Both restaurants at peak hours are frenetic with people coming and going. At those times its not the place for a romantic evening but the food is remarkably consistent, always cooked as requested and full of flavor.
Sat down to our 8:00 reservation and a loaf of crusty warm bread was placed on the table with a ramekin of freshly poured infused olive oil. Good start.
We decided on the Hot Antipasto for two which consisted of Shrimp Scampi, Stuffed Mushrooms, Mussels, Clams, Eggplant Rollatini and Shoe String Zucchini. Each had its own sprinkle of sauce, which made each distinctive and delicious. The mushrooms were stuffed with crab rather than a typical sausage based stuffing. A large platter, plenty for two to share.
Entrees were a special of macadamia crusted grouper topped with a mango salsa and a drizzle of chardonnay beurre blanc sauce on top of wilted spinach. At first I thought there was too much salsa but DW said it was a winner and after tasting I agree. Also came with roasted potatoes. I had the baked filet of Tilapia Oreganata which was Topped with Herb Bread Crumbs glazed with that same Chardonnay Beurre Blanc Sauce. Very simple but very flavorful. Came with crisp veggies and roasted potatoes.
Both entrees were very good choices. Forgot to add that a nice complimentary house salad with whole grain mustard vinaigrette was included with my wifes dinner.
Too full for dessert, we finished our wine, a 2005 Sandler Pinot Noir. The bill for the app for two and two dinner entrees came to $59.00 before tax and tip.
Ponte Vecchio turned out to be virtually identical to Loucas. Its not cutting edge Italian but its also not like the number of boring places along Rt 9. The food is fresh and prepared with care.
If you can, I would recommend to try going during the week for an evening of more relaxed dining to fully appreciate the tasty food.
Here is the wbsite if your interested.
tom246, thanks for the review. dh and i have been to PV 5+ times, but we have recently written it off due to two bad experiences. our first inclination not to return came when we showed up at 4:45 on a Saturday with no reservations. i understand that PV is a popular spot, but we thought that since we were so early (and the restaurant was completely empty of patrons) that they could squeeze us in. "do you have a reservation?", asked the MD. when we told him no he said that the restaurant was "entirely booked for the evening" and almost laughed at us for even asking. this is while we were standing in the midst of 30+ open tables. did they really plan to seat the entire place by 5:45 when we would have finished eating? we still laugh about that.
the last time ate there (as they were generous enough to allow us a table), i ordered a white fish entree that came with a salsa on top of the fish. when the entree came out, the fish fillet had some sort of francaise-style coating on it. since i do not eat eggs and i do not enjoy my fish fillets coated, i asked the waiter if there was some sort of coating on the fish and he insisted it was only coated in milk. i sent it back anyway, and requested a broiled fillet with my entree. what he brought back after 15 minutes was the same coated fillet, this time with no salsa! i sent it back again, and requested whatever fish they could bring me without a coating on it. this turned out to be the swordfish, which was nice, but around two hours too late. the whole time, no manager visited our table, and we were left sitting there, hungry and frustrated. looking back, we should have requested the manager after the first round of fish returns. although we have had many nice meals at PV, this experience turned us off so much i don't know if we'll ever go back.
I have never been treated so badly by a "SUPPOSED" high end restaurant. I've been treated better by Mcdonalds. I called to cancel a reservation and the hostess told me I was rediculous and hung up the phone in my ear. When I tried to call back to speak to the manager, she hung up on me again. I then went over there, since I live across the Street, and was treated equally as bad by the Manager. He stuck up for the hostess and looked at me like "what do you want me to do"? Never even apologized for the way I was treated. I worked for a High End restaurant and if I ever treated a customer that way, I would have been fired and our manager treated customers like GOLD! My family and I used to eat here all the time, and will NEVER go back. My sister also usually has huge meetup groups here, and has stated that after the way they treated me, they will NEVER go back as well. I plan on finding out who the owner is because I highly doubt he is aware how this manager is running his establishment
I wonder if the hostess was the same we had a problem with. We have eaten there many times and a few months ago planned a gathering of 10 girlfriends that were coming from different locations around the state. Due to some traffic we were late in getting there but had called ahead to let them know and some of the party did arrive in time but were not seated. We were 10-15 minutes late.
As we got soups and salads our entrees came literally a second later and we were not pleased. We asked the waiter to take them back until we were ready. The hostess came over and said that was no option and (loudly) said if we hadn't been late this wouldn't have happened.
She was beyond rude.
Long story short we ended up leaving w/out getting any entrees and we did not pay the bill. We offered to pay for what we were served but the manager said he would take care of it.
He lost a lot of money that night and future money from us. Very poorly run!
I've been trying to remember the name of this restaurant. The day after mom's funeral, in late October, my 80's-ish very cool chowhound aunt and uncle took my brother, our spouses and me to Ponte Vecchio for a late lunch. The memory is blurry, (the funeral confusion or the wine?), but we do remember how good the food was. We had the regular and cajun calamari, and the hot /cold antipasto plate(it was huge!). My wife had the orange roughy (sp?) w/ mango salsa, my brother the veal parm and I the lump crab meat. I can't remember the rest. All was excellent. My uncle was known to the wait staff and service was very attentive. We will return in April for sure.
Thanks for that review, tom246. We've never been to either of those sister Italians. I've wondered about Ponte Vecchio, which is only a few minutes from our house (across the way from Thai Thai, which we have been to a few times). We once thought about tryng P.V. but shied away because I had not read any reviews, and we didn't want to have to deal with the kind of barely mediocre Italian restaurant which, as you noted, are in abundance in the area. Glad to hear you had a good experience. If we do go, it will definitely be mid-week.