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Thursday
Jul292010

Brunch at Highpoint Bistro & Bar

*NOTE: This restaurant has since closed.*

  • Cuisine: creative American
  • Atmosphere: spacious, bright, high ceilings, upscale diner
  • Attire: smart-casual
  • Ideal for: 1x1/small groups, brunch, creative/eclectic cuisine, cheese burger
  • Price: all brunch items under $20 
  • Phone: 646-410-0120
  • Location: 216 7th Avenue (between 22nd and 23rd Streets)
  • Website: click *here*
  • Directionswww.hopstop.com/?city=newyork
  •  

    *All photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr

    In a bittersweet tribute to Shelby's last weekend in New York, we decided to consummate her final Sunday by meeting for brunch at the newly-opened Highpoint Bistro & Bar.

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: high ceilings, banquet and table seating - overall, a bright and modern interior spaceAside from a couple of other occupied tables, Shelbs and I basically had free reign of where we wanted to sit.  While settling in to our spacious four-top abode, a server approached and handed each of us a brunch menu.  Since Highpoint's offerings appeared radically varied - from "Tuna Tartare Tacos" and "Watermelon Steak Au Poivre" to "Stuffed French Toast" - Shelbs and I felt prompted to order a handful of dishes and split everything down the middle.  

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: le menuA shopping cart filled with homemade, golf ball-sized donut holes christened our meal.  While I appreciated the fact that they were made on the premises, I found the fried dough's exterior to taste similar to the crust on day-old sandwich bread.  As my teeth sunk further in to the donut's interior, I was taken aback by its overwhelming density and dryness.

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: donut holesHighpoint Bistro & Bar: donut-hole cut in halfThe next item we received was the "Bacon, Egg and Cheese Spring Rolls" which, like the donut holes before them, arrived in a shopping cart.  Being that Highpoint's chef, Phil Deffina, had previously worked with - and was influenced by - David Burke (the king of innovative and creatively executed cuisine), I really appreciated the uniqueness of this dish.  Spring rolls are the ultimate "portable" snack and, instead of filling them with a boring melange of julienned carrots and cabbage, the holy trinity of breakfast ingredients - bacon, egg, and cheese - was used in instead.  A piping-hot, crispy exterior gave way to soft, velvety scrambled eggs that were dotted with smoky bacon chips and melted cheese.  A small dish of ketchup was served as an accompaniment.    

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Spring RollsHighpoint Bistro & Bar: a look inside the "Bacon, Egg and Cheese Spring Rolls"The next dish we received was the "Tuna Tartare Tacos."  Of all the plates that we sampled, I must admit that this particular one was my least favorite.  Sushi-grade chopped tuna was lightly dressed, then stuffed in to mini shells; a dollop of avocado mousse and tobiko crowned each taco.  Seaweed salad served as an accompaniment.  My issues with this dish were the following:

    • I loathe tobiko
    • While I appreciated the Asian-Mexican fusion on the plate, I found the seaweed salad to be a slimy afterthought
    • The taco shells were too hard and arid, which created an overwhelming contrast to the delicate texture of the fresh tuna 
    • I loathe tobiko

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: Tuna Tartare Tacos"Buffalo Chicken Lollipops" were the next plate of morsels that we received.  Minced white-meat chicken was bound with blue cheese and hot-sauce - formed in to bite-sized balls - enveloped in thin wonton dough - then deep-fried.  A wooden lollipop stick pierced the middle of each "pop."

    Each of the four lollipops rested atop a cucumber slice, and were positioned near a small mound of pickled juilienned carrots.  Cool and creamy "blue cheese fondue" served as an appropriate dip.  From the dish's level of creativity to the flavor and texture, these pops hit high marks.

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: Buffalo Chicken LollipopsAnd finally, we received the entree that I had been yearning for, the Black Angus Cheeseburger.  Served atop a fluffy, toasted brioche bun were the following ingredients: butter lettuce, sliced white onions, tomato, and a generous glob of ooey-gooey melted gruyere cheese that enveloped a 1/2" mound of medium-rare Black Angus.  I utilized the accompanying hand-cut fries to sop up all of the delicious juices that oozed on to my plate after each bite of my cheeseburger.       

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: Black Angus CheeseburgerHighpoint Bistro & Bar: hand-cut French friesAs if we had any more room in our stomachs, our final entree arrived.  I've had Stuffed French Toast before, but never have I been witness to such a mammoth portion of this sweet treat.  Standing almost 2" tall, the griddled brioche was crowned, not stuffed, with a generous dollop of orange-cardamom cream and marmalade.  While still tasty, I would have preferred that the interior of the brioche be more pudding-like.  I asked for a side of maple syrup to further aid in moistening the toast.     

    Highpoint Bistro & Bar: Stuffed French Toast

    Conclusion: my meal at Highpoint Bistro & Bar had its share of ups - bacon/egg/cheese spring rolls, chicken lollipops, cheeseburger, fries - and downs - tuna tartare tacos, donuts - in terms of the food, but the service that we received was warm and accommodating.  Since this is a new restaurant, after all, I don't think that it would be fair of me to write it off or not return.  As with any new venture, time is the only remedy for both learning and growing pains.  With the talent behind Highpoint Bistro & Bar, I ultimately believe that it will succeed.  Chelsea desperately needs this innovative, yet comfortable, concept.   

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