Underground tunnels and escape hatches on the roof may not have a lot to do with impressive food on the table, but they sure do make for a fun dining experience. Luckily for Tennesseans, the High Point restaurant serves up both intrigue and fine cuisine in its charming setting high atop Monteagle Mountain.
Housed in a three-story 1929 mansion purportedly financed by Al Capone and visited by John Dillinger, the High Point is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Local legend has it that the floors were constructed with a lining of sand to muffle bullets; the escape routes aided in the illegal transfer of liquor during Prohibition. Today, the restaurant has a bit of fun with the connection, pointing out that its location is midway between Chicago and Miami – obviously the attraction for Capone and company, too.
A word to the wise: Gangsters usually frequent pretty high-class joints, and the High Point is no slouchy meat and-three. This is the kind of place that you take your girlfriend before you pop the question. The kind of restaurant to celebrate an anniversary, a promotion, a graduation or a special birthday. Prices aren’t cheap, but owners Ron and Jama Turner take great care in planning a menu – amazingly ambitious – that rarely disappoints.
Surely there’s something for everyone with 40 beef, pork, fowl and seafood entrees. Appetizers especially worth noting are the Savannah Crab Cakes – almond-crusted with a coconut Dijon cream sauce – and the signature Lobster Bisque with its hint of sherry. Salads are far beyond ordinary; two favorites are the Blackberry Winter Salad and the Lemon Caesar with kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.
Entrees include a wide choice of steaks, imaginative seafood dishes – try the St. Augustine grouper sautéed in lime paprika – and Chef Eric Gibson’s notable duck and lamb creations – the Tennessee Duck and Herb Dijon Lamb Chops in particular. Prices range from $21 to $35.
Leave room for the decadent desserts: maybe a grilled pound cake, classic crème brulée or Bananas Foster.
To get there
High Point, 224 E. Main St. in Monteagle, is open for dinner only, 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Reservations are recommended; call 931-924-4600. A second High Point is now open in downtown Chattanooga.