Highpoint Bistro and Bar: Blogger Tasting Night

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Dear Food Diary:
The fairly new Chelsea joint Highpoint hosted a night of tasting for 15 lucky bloggers, yelpers and tweeters two weeks ago. Chef Phil Deffina orchestrated a dinner filled with a wide range of dishes (offered on the regular menu).
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With a glass of Chenin Blanc St, Just Saumur Blanc 2008, Loire at hand, the food started rolling out and our tasting began.

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Cute things first, their naan like bread came in these adorable shopping carts, a good representation of east meets west perhaps?
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There were sprinkles with parsley and a tangy yogurt dipping sauce to accompany this soft chewy carb.
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The table was delighted by the presentation of Kobe Beef Corn Dogs, which looked awfully similar to David Burke’s cheesecake lollipop by the way. I’m one of those County Fair enthusiasts who loves the corn dogs as they are. These were was good as any, with the sweet onion relish and mustard on the side, but the kobe beef aspect didn’t stand out, actually I couldn’t taste the difference. Sure it was a good beef wiener, but that was that.
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Uhhhhs and Ahhhhs circulated around the table. I felt to special when the Chilled Blue Point Oyster was presented in front of me. Yep, salt and red peppercorns beneath a circular block of ice and the oyster on top. Does everyone who comes here on a regular night get this kind of art on a plate I asked? Yes, this is how they are served I was assured. Well, two thumbs up for that. However, though the mustard seed mignonette gave it a nice kick and pop, I couldn’t find the chai masala that my palate was so eagerly awaiting. And that caramel popcorn on top seemed totally out of place, a good oyster can be dressed up elegantly without the need of a halloween costume.
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I looked forward to the Truffled Steak Tartar , but it wasn’t unanimous. Some of my fellow diners were concerned about consuming raw meat others had problems with the quail egg on top. Being the carnivore that I am, I had no such issues. The beef was clearly of good quality, the truffle oil permeated every piece and the quail egg covered each bite with a soft gooey texture. On top a crunchy toasted brioche, it was lovely. My only issue was the huge quantity and the large chunks. I wish they were cut finer and more delicately, so there’s little less chewing involved. I’m not one who turns down red meat, but there’s only so much raw one can handle. And when the toasts run out, eating it solo just wasn’t as pleasant.
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Seared Salmon was cooked well, but not as fun and tasty as what was around it. The Moroccan cous cous, with chorizo stole the show, with the slight toothsome chew and meaty spicyness. The citrus salad stood on the side unexcited.
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Stuffed Suckling Pig had me excited all night. I read the menu description over and over again like a little school girl reading Dr.Seuss. Herb spatzle, I remember it being nice, but it didn’t grab my attention, the stuffed cabbage was awfully bland. Having squash, pickled onions and baby turnips on the side was cute and pretty generic. Now, moving on to the piggy… I couldn’t wait to dig into that piece of meat, fat, skin and all. Oh yes, come to mama! Tender juicy meat with a good layer of fat and a crisp chewy skin, right up my foodie alley. I saw some folks leave the fat and skin behind, it made me wanna go over there and smack them, but I refrained… “have table manners, have table manners…” I kept repeating… “Be a lady CCG, be a lady…” but seriously! What the heck is the matter with not eating the best part, I was honestly upset for the piggy that died in vain, well… sorta… at least I know I fully enjoyed it. Not the best piece of pork I’ve ever had, but certainly satisfying and hitting the spot.
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After the pork love affair, the Petite Filet Mignon came… I was so stuffed, I wanted to ask for a petite petite filet, but since the beautiful piece of meat was presented in front of me, I had no choice but to eat it… yup, it’s tough being a food blogger sometimes. The salsify root underneath had a hint of sweetness, only to be magnified by the sweet potato. Having a Shrimp ravioli was a nice play on a simpler surf and turf. Overall an ok dish, it might of helped adding a little more salt to the steak.
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Their Caramel Experiment was a fun and encouraging way to play with your food, no matter what your mama once said. As the waiter poured the caramel onto a Himalayan rock salt block and smudged it around, it naturally made salty caramel, genious!
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Afterwards, we dunked, dipped, smudged fruits, candied pecans, popcorn, brownies, cupcakes and marshmallow on and in the caramel fonduesque style. My favorite was their house-made marshmallows with salty caramel, melt in your mouth fluffyness with a hint of salt and buttery sweetness.
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As if the caramel overload wasn’t enough, our sweet tooths were then spoiled with a dessert duo of Creme Brulee Egglings & House-made Moon Pie.
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I loved loved loved these little egglings. Not only was it super kawaii, but the thick creamy vanilla custard and that burnt sugar hard top was perfectly executed.
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The house-made moon pie was a soft gooey chocolate explosion in between fluffy marshmallow, surrounded by little pearls of puffs to add texture and play.
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The chef emphasized on their use of local produce and purveyors (rather popular in the restaurant scene these days). Serving what’s seasonal.

Overall, it was a good dinner. The general presentation of the dishes were creative and won some woos and wows, while the food itself had hits and misses. It’s a cozy neighborhood joint, serving well known dishes with their own twist, fitting into the new American category at very decent prices.

P.S. Chubby’s RATING: 
216 7th Ave (between 22th st & 23rd st)

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