The Lasagna at Ponte Vecchio: Enough Chances

Categories: On the Menu

Lasagna at Ponte Vecchio 2.JPG
At the end of last year, Katharine Shilcutt requested feedback from EOW readers. She wanted to know what you'd like to see more of in 2011. Two commenters, Kyle and Ash, indicated that they'd like to see more coverage on downtown eateries, with a focus on tunnel fare. As a fellow downtown worker-drone, and one who often has precious little time for a "lunch hour," I can understand the longing for reliable options within walking distance. So, to the tunnels!

This one's a bit of a stretch, since it's on the surface level rather than in the underground rabbit-warren itself. But it's easily reachable by subterranean routes. Plus, it's right outside my office at the corner of Smith and Dallas.

Ponte Vecchio opened back in 2008, and immediately intrigued me with its promise of well prepared, inexpensive Italian food just a short elevator ride away. The online menu (which no longer seems to exist) looked promising, with items like osso buco and braised lamb shank listed at extremely reasonable prices.

I checked the place out pretty soon after it opened. I didn't see either the $8 osso buco or the tantalizing lamb, so I ordered lasagna, thinking it would stand as a good litmus test for the overall quality of the food, testing the kitchen's ability with sauces, pasta, and managing multi-step cooking. I was less than impressed.

After quite some time, I recently decided to the lasagna another go. I had to wait 15 minutes or so for my steam-table lasagna. There was a placard for it in the serving line, but no food. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as it could have meant that I was getting the freshest possible product.

Unfortunately, when I got it back upstairs, the lasagna looked as grim as I'd remembered. The hefty dose of grated parmesan topping didn't inspire confidence, nor did the growing pool of oily-orange liquid forming around the base of the casserole.

The second warning sign came when my fork met with almost literally no resistance when cutting off a bite. I don't want my lasagna to require a knife, but I should need to exert a little pressure to get through it. That bite confirmed what I already knew - the noodles were overcooked to the point of mushiness, giving the whole dish a texture more akin to meaty custard than baked pasta.

Sadly, the taste was similarly unappetizing. It was so heavily over-salted that it was actually difficult to eat. Only sheer willpower and blinding hunger got me through it. It's a shame, too, because the flavor of the meat actually seemed like it was pretty good, under all that sodium. I'd say I need to go back again to find out, but I think I've given Ponte Vecchio's lasagna enough chances.


Location Info

Ponte Vecchio - CLOSED

507 Dallas St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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10 comments
Nicole
Nicole

For lasagna downtown, I love Perbacco.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

I haven't worked downtown in a decade, but the two places you could make me drive back just for lunch are Doozo's dumplings and Treebeards seafood gumbo (served Thursday & Friday only; at least it was then.) Treebeards also had a damn good red beans and rice. As to newer places, Hubcap keeps shining and don't forget that Vic & Anthony's does a damn good burger for lunch on Fridays, as well.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

Sadly, good downtown restaurants are few and far between, especially in the tunnels.

Most of these places realize that their draw is location; their customer base isn't going to walk far, and isn't going to get in the car and schlep across downtown to eat.

When I'm downtown, I end up at either Hubcap Grill or Samba Grille. Both turn out consistently excellent food. Almost every place else has been disappointing.

Kyle
Kyle

Yuck! Don't try Chutney's. It's so gross.

trisch
trisch

I'm still upset the pho place that previously occupied this space shut down. I gave Ponte Vecchio one try a couple of years ago to see if it could help me get over the mourning. The food was so underwhelming, it just made me even sadder.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Fatty, the thing that most excites me about the fact that my business unit is moving into 4HC is the fact that Doozo dumplings will be at hand. Treebeard's is a regular for me. Hubcap and V&A take a bit too long for my particular timing realities, though that won't be as much of an issue once I'm on that side of downtown.

Kyle
Kyle

All correct, though I will note that Baoz in the tunnels has now surpassed Doozo in the Downtown Dumpling War.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Hubcap and Samba are great, but also a bit time consuming for those of us who don't actually get a "lunch hour" as such. I'm on a mission to find places I can get to, grab food, and be back at my desk in about 30 minutes. As a matter of necessity, I have different standards for those expeditions.

stwilhelm
stwilhelm

Treebeards is coming to the Park Shops food court this spring! I can't wait!

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Well that sounds like a "Battle Dumplings" challenge if I ever heard one!

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