I love getting dressed up. Flipping through the hangers in the closet, trying to find the just-right look for the night – the make-up, the hair product, the universal shoe quandary – it all comes together to create that night’s character. And we all know a great character deserves a fantastic stage.
Recently, that stage was the new Black Point restaurant on the Short North cap. With its corner walk-up (one of the great vestigial features from the former Sushi Rock space), it’s a place to make a grand entrance: the bar and one of the seating areas opens up like a shiny box, revealing its contents in one long look around.
Take a seat at the marble bar; the tall gray-striped chairs are perfect for perching and watching the comings and goings of beautiful people. And the lighting is on-point, making the place look like a movie set. A blue backlit wall of liquor provides an understated ’90s glamour, while bartenders indulge in next-level mixology. While the Manhattan is the cocktail du jour, – and Black Point does it proud with barrel-aged bourbon and the sweet addition of tawny port – the more memorable drink is the Black Point Cooler. Bottled in house, the carbonated quaff features vodka, fresh lemon juice, St. Germain, Aperol, and bubbles. Poured over ice and a few shards of dry ice, the tangerine-colored drink is your own personal smoke machine.
Over the past few years, the restaurant scene (nationally and in Columbus) has endured a make-under, ushering in an era of casual dress and vibe. Fancy restaurants now seem to be for special events or parents. Black Point, however, is a swanky setting for the younger set. Not as stuffy as its older sibling, Hyde Park, but not as dressed-down as other spots in the Short North.
Sit at the bar and share the King’s Tail Roll, a flavor cruise of sweet lobster and sublime textures. The centerpiece is a lobster tail stripped of its flesh and filled with shiny treats of tempura lobster, with a sliced inside-out roll of asparagus, avocado, daikon, carrot, scallion, and a dusting of tobiko (flying fish roe) topped with a ribbon of spicy sweet chili in the supporting role. Colorful in presentation, the orange of the lobster shell pops against the pure white of the rice.
A perfect entrée is the Pecan-Crusted Grouper with its layers of sweet and salty flavors, from the sweet potato bacon hash to the vanilla maple butter. Showcased on signature white china, the vanilla maple butter slowly melts at the table. And, of course, Black Point being a branch on the Hyde Park family tree, it serves sizzling steaks for those having a more serious sitdown. Afterall, sitting in the slightly elevated dining room, under suggestive artwork, eating a obscene 22-ounce prime bone-in ribeye, is serious dining work. Served with maître d’butter for a classic beef-centric flavor, or dressed up with Béarnaise or horseradish sauce, this steak is a statement in indulgence.
The standout dessert is the throwback Chocolate S’mores. Served in a glass jar, the childhood combo of graham crackers, Hershey’s, and marshmallows gets the chi-chi treatment with flourless chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, graham cracker crunch, and toasted fluff. Sticky and sweet, it’s a fun punctuation mark to any meal.
Black Point has slid into the space between hipster casual anddrive-in-from-the-burbs dressy. Now, go start picking out that outfit.