BY KAREN GORDON
As you enter Ponte Mollo Ristorante, owner Marco will warmly greet you. Marco came to this country in 1998 from northern Italy. He speaks with great pride about his grandfather being a skilled Barolo winemaker and his grandmother being in the hotel business.
The cozy restaurant is long and narrow, with a couple of romantic corners and tables of different sizes and shapes. The interior is an eclectic mix of industrial chic, prints, posters and candles.
A highlight of this dining experience began with an appetizer that was absolutely delectable: sushi-quality tuna tartare decorated with pickled cucumber, daikon, red onion and an avocado mash. Next came grilled baby octopus with slivers of red roasted peppers, rosemary and sea salt — delicious! A hearty bowl of delicately sweet onion soup, with a thick slice of bread topped with melted Fontina cheese and sautéed eggplant tortino with goat cheese and basil followed.
A must-have was presented next: amazing risotto with porcini mushrooms and mascarpone cheese. The risotto itself is worth a trip to Ponte Mollo — al dente, with a layering of flavors that are subtle, delightful, not overpowering and very satisfying. Homemade mini ravioli, veal and parsley was tasty, and eight pasta dishes were on the menu.
The crispy salmon, maple, kale, with cauliflower puree is another standout. The salmon was cooked to perfection with a delicious crispy skin and a generous serving. The veal Milanese, topped with arugula, tomatoes and a lemon dressing was tender and good. Marco has a varied main course menu and specials, such as roasted LI wild bass, Barolo-braised brisket and grilled lamb chops — and of course filet mignon and seafood.
A wedge of delicious homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream and espresso rounded out the perfect dining experience.
Growing up in Barolo country, Marco has a passion for wines with a wine list that can accommodate most everyone’s budget and level of sophistication. The wine bar is inviting and well stocked. Spirits are also served. This is just the beginning for Marco and his wife Lisa. He has exciting plans that he will share at a future time!
There is a separate room for parties, an inviting place for business or personal celebrations.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch) and 4 p.m. to close (dinner); Saturday, 4 p.m. to close (dinner); Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch) and 4 p.m. to close (dinner).
Ponte Mollo Ristorante
96 Northern Blvd., Great Neck