Chef Recommends: Roast Beef Sandwich
Chef Chris Ponte or Café Ponte recommends Pane Rustica’s lunch special
Chris Ponte may be one of Tampa Bay’s most decorated chefs but despite his national recognition and critical acclaim, he still has some blue on his collar. Zagat-rated, Golden Spoon recognized and a Hall of Fame member of the Nation’s Restaurant News top restaurants, Café Ponte is an upscale New York-style café fusing traditional French culinary techniques with contemporary American classics. His own menu is loaded with high-end entrees and creative culinary masterpieces but it’s this simple roast beef sandwich that Chef Chris calls his favorite dish in the Bay area.
blu: When was the first time you had Pane Rustica’s roast beef sandwich?
Chef: The first time was about two years ago. Now every Saturday before I go to work, I stop here for lunch and get my fix.
blu: Of all dishes, why is this roast beef sandwich your favorite in Tampa Bay?
Chef: You know, the majority of people like staples like this that are just straight forward with good quality products. It’s cooked to medium-rare perfection with these great oven-roasted tomatoes that add a nice acidity and sweetness to the meat. Then he melts a slice of provolone, adds a nice spiced aioli and puts it on this great rosemary foccacia. It sounds simple but the simplicity of it makes it so great. And the consistency is awesome. Every time it’s perfectly made.
blu: What’s new at Café Ponte?
Chef: We’ve just unveiled our fall menu that will feature some great dishes like our cured meat plate with house prosciutto, salami and pork belly, butternut squash agnolotti, a lobster fondue, braised octopus and some great fall cocktails.
Cafe Ponte is located at 13505 Icot Blvd., Ste. 214 Clearwater, FL 33760. For reservations, call 727.538.5768.
Pane Rustica is located at 3225 S. MacDill Ave. Tampa, FL 33629. For reservations, call 813.902.8828.