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Cafe Ponte Restaurant Review: If you're tempted to pre-judge the food by the exterior, you may miss a first-rate dining experience. This strip mall eatery has a creative and envelope-pushing menu of familiar items such as pizza and pasta but with subtle touches that elevates it beyond the ordinary. The bar is a popular place to see and be seen---and to choose from three different Grand Marniers that range in age from 100 to 150 years. Starters on the lunch menu include an heirloom tomato soup with focaccia croutons and Parmesan cheese and a fig and prosciutto tart with caramelized onions, Gorgonzola and a port-balsamic glaze. The Ponte burger is made with Angus beef gussied up with red onion jam and black truffle aïoli, served with pomme frites. The dinner menu allows chef Chris Ponte to stretch his wings a bit; appetizers include a mini Kobe beef burger and tuna tartare. Chilean sea bass and yellowtail snapper, when available, are given tender treatment, as are mains like slow-cooked lamb shanks and the duo of duck---braised thighs and pan-roasted breast prepared with nine spices. For dessert, if the flourless chocolate cake is on the menu, grab a slice, or go for the raspberry crème brûlée.