Earlier this week I was invited to dine at my choice of two restaurants as part of a blogger dinner series with a PR firm. Highpoint Bistro & Bar was my second choice but after eating there the other night it was in no way a consolation prize for my first choice not being available.
I’ve walked by (and I’m sure many of you have too) Highpoint MANY times and honestly never knew it existed. Perhaps it’s the craziness of 7th Avenue, maybe the fact that I go straight to 8th for food, who knows… but what I DO know is that Highpoint Bar & Bistro is a delicious revelation that I can’t wait to experience again.
From the outside it looks like nothing special and even when you walk inside it’s unassuming but Highpoint will impress you with their fantastic food and super friendly, accommodating and helpful service. The menu is creative and offers a variety of options for vegetarians, gluten-free diners, and meat freaks. The food reminds me of David Burke, where things aren’t what they seem and are presented in surprising ways. Everything we had was cooked and seasoned with such perfection that every ingredient complemented each other instead of overpowering each bite.
from left to right:
Tomato “Tartare,” Watermelon “Steak” au Poivre, Short Rib “Stroganoff” & Caramel Experiment
While one thing missed the mark (the “angry” calamari wasn’t deep-fried enough– it was soggy and soft), everything else was on point. Had the manager not said that their “specialty” was the watermelon “steak” I would have NEVER eaten the most interesting dish I’ve had since Alinea. Shaped to look like a t-bone and grilled to caramelize the natural sugars, it’s un-freaking-believable. I want to order this on every hot summer day for a refreshing and somehow filling meal (even though the dish is mostly water with the jicama, watermelon, and grapefruit). I only had a small bite of my friend’s Short Rib Stroganoff (no pasta for me right now) but the beef was incredibly flavorful and oh so tender…the meat melted in your mouth. The minute I forgo this gluten-free diet I am headed straight to Highpoint for that dish….I’m not joking.
Drinks are strong and the juices are made in-house daily….no Rose Syrup or artificial fruit juices here! My “waterboo” was delicious and the jalapeno margarita had a kick that helped usher in our fantastic dessert course. I had no clue what to expect when we ordered “The Caramel Experiment” to round out our meal. The description said himalayan rock salt, marshmallows, meringue, pretzels, and candied pecans, but what on earth would this look like when it came out? At first glance the plate is messy….so many things spread out onto the plate with three vessels- one empty himalayan rock salt bowl, one glass filled with caramel, and a third filled with chocolate. Our waiter poured house made caramel into the rock salt bowl and scraped the sides to emit the natural salt and blend into the warm caramel. “Do what you want,” he said and left us to our own devices as we dipped popcorn, strawberries, apples, meringue drops, raspberries, candied pecans and other bite size goodies into each vessel. It’s kitschy, but makes dessert fun and is really really really tasty. It also may overwhelm some, but that’s why it’s made for two
What a great surprise Highpoint Bistro & Bar was….it reminded me that I can’t judge a book by its cover. On a street filled with sushi joints and subpar fast food, Highpoint needs to get a little more credit for classing up 7th Avenue. I very much look forward to my next visit and hope some of you give it a try as well!
216 7th Avenue (between 22nd & 23rd Streets)