Classy touches, reliable entrees and excellent value sustain North Point Grill
Alarger-than-life Betty Boop statue – on roller skates, no less – offers a coquettish greeting to customers at North Point Grill. Passing through the frosted double doors, with an uncluttered counter to the right, visitors will spot a sign directing guests to seat themselves.
The spacious dining room under sloped ceilings is equipped with generously apportioned crimson booths.
The service is friendly, and I’ve found that the other diners tend to be good natured and friendly, as well.
I came with every intention of ordering a sirloin steak, but then spotted the special of the day: Meatloaf for Wednesday night. I couldn’t resist. It seemed like perfect comfort food for a cold January night.
Familiarity is a major part of the appeal of the place. It’s easy to remember the location, considering that the restaurant is named after the street on which it lies. I made my first visit to North Point Grill at the bidding of a source, a tough, big-hearted Occupy Winston-Salem regular, who let me interview him while he feasted on tilapia.
He pointed out to me that you could get a splendid meal at a modest price here, but it didn’t take long for me to discern another advantage, no less important: the relaxed and unhurried pace of the meal. One senses that for many of the guests, eating out at the North Point Grill is a treat, and they enjoy the ritual.
When I returned last week, there was only one other party – a gregarious trio of adult friends. The service was prompt and friendly.
I had to ask for a drink menu, but my server brought out a bottle of Sierra Nevada pale ale with a tall frosted mug – a nice touch.
In no time at all, a runner had a generous slab of meatloaf smeared with a sweet rim of tomato paste in front of me. The special came with two vegetables — I went with mashed potatoes with gravy and turnip greens with vinegar — and a “bread,” which means a choice of a sourdough roll, Texas toast, or whole wheat toast. A roll seemed the proper complement.
Meatloaf is a once-in-a-while deal for me, and on this occasion it was perfectly adequate, if not spectacular. Maybe the dish is a reliable standby that is hard to either mess up or take to new heights of excellence. The mashed potatoes were delicious, the turnip greens a little overcooked and under-seasoned for my taste. The roll was buttery, chewy and wonderful.
The food went down quicker than the beer, which is not usually the case with me. I was wishing that I had brought a companion, so that I could justify an appetizer by the time I was halfway through the meal. On my first visit, I’d made a meal out of potato skins – for $5.49, that’s a steal, my friend. The loaded fries use potatoes in a different format as a platform, but feature the same toppings: cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, bacon and chives.
The menu is designed to appeal to suit almost any taste: Salads come in chef, Greek, grilled chicken and steak; dinners range from steaks to chicken souvlaki; pastas run the gamut from spaghetti to Alfredo; seafood includes catfish, scallops and oysters, the latter harvested from the North Carolina coast depending on the season.
The assignment should have been enough justification for dessert, but my server didn’t sell me on it and I didn’t pursue it. I didn’t notice the blackboard listing dessert specials on the counter until I went up to pay – I gather it’s usually on the platter held by Betty Boop.
By the time I pulled out my wallet, I really wanted to try some Reese’s peanut butter chocolate cake. Too late.
This won’t be my last visit to North Point Grill.
North Point Grill is located at 7843 North Point Boulevard in Winston-Salem. Visit northpointgrill.com or call 336.896.0500.