An Italian classic – Review of Filli Ponte restaurant
BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
39 Desbrosses Street
On an otherwise forgotten but often passed corner of the West Side Highway, stood Filli Ponte. When I walked up on one very chilly Saturday night, I was surprised by its quaint facade and very out of the way location just a few blocks south of the Holland Tunnel. Walking into Filli Ponte, I was engulfed by the smell of seafood and old money. We were escorted upstairs to the dinning room and greeted by an open space with large windows overlooking the Hudson River and the Jersey City skyline. The large space gave off a homey feel with an exposed beam ceiling and chairs upholstered in what looked like grandma’s couch.
Our waiter came promptly and with a smile, delivering bread, chunks of Pecorino Romano cheese, and a chilled eggplant and tomato salad. While I throughly enjoyed the chunks of cheese, so sharp you could feel it in your nose, I could have (and did) pass on the eggplant. It was too chilly and had too strong of a tomato taste for its own good (although my boyfriend loved the stuff).
For our late night dinner we ordered the Salciccia ( luganega sausage links with broccoli rabe and ricotta cheese, $14), the Carpaccio Battuta di Manzo (paper thin sliced beef with avocado puree and Pecorino Romano cheese, $15), and the Taglioline all’Aragosta (pasta with lobster, asparagus, and sun dried tomato in a tomato cream sauce, $24), all to share.
The Salciccia had a wonderful strong black pepper taste, which was amplified by the sauteed broccoli rabe and spicy ricotta cheese. The Taglioline could have been improved upon with larger chunks of lobster and sans the fairly sizable shell fragment that I found in my pasta. Nothing stood out about the dish to with the tomato-cream sauce overpowering me and I was left wishing I had spent the easily $100 ($30 a pound), Angry Lobster dish that they are known for.
The highlight of my meal came with the beef carpaccio, which I feverishly layered on to the crusty toasted bread and topped with avocado puree and Romano cheese. The medley of textures and flavors melted in my mouth in perfect harmony and left me with nothing more and nothing less than a contented smile.
Rounding out our meal we savored perfect cappuccinos and were treated to a surprisingly good rendition of Italian opera by a patron of the restaurant with one of the worst toupees I have ever seen in my life. There were several other notable characters in the place, the Johnny Bravo look alike for one, and I could see why Filli Ponte has a place in the hearts of so many New Yorkers. From the views to the classic Italian fare to the private wine lockers and impeccable service, Filli Ponte is truly a special experience that should not be missed.