Upstairs tapas spot hits the mark

Point 5, directly upstairs from local culinary landmark 915, has some of the best views, and best bites, to be had on all of Duval. Situated right in the sweet spot, just north of Truman, you will get all the people watching variety to be found, without all the commotion of lower addresses. Craft cocktails, tapas-style dishes (often quite healthy), fine wines, great beers, all in a relaxed, urban-feeling atmosphere; I am looking for a negative, and haven’t found one yet.

The amazing cocktails bear separate mention. One of our favorites was the 915 Cocktail, which had a slight spiciness from its St. George Chili Vodka base, balanced perfectly with sweet Prickly Pear Liqueur and Agave Nectar, and tart lime. Also popular was the Andrew’s Manhattan Fashion, served to us by executive bartender, Andrew, himself. This combination of classics — Manhattan and Old Fashioned — will delight any bourbon lover. The wine list, all by-the-glass, is small but surprisingly diverse. Many of the great appellations of the world are represented, including Champagne, Sancerre, Tavel, Rhone, and much of Spain and California.

As previously mentioned, several options are not only tasty, but health-conscious. My personal favorite, the Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli, was unbelievably rich and creamy for a vegetarian dish. It’s paired with an insanely flavorful Parmesan Amaretto Cream Sauce. Moreover, the Walnut & Pistachio Tacos, a completely vegan offering, is actually a clever play on a taco: the shell is a Romaine leaf, the filling a mince of the above mentioned nuts, all topped with cherry tomato and avocado. Drizzle on a little sweet-and-sour, and be amazed by the complexity of this guilt-free treat.

If you are in a more indulgent mood, Point 5 has you covered. The New York Strip Lollipops come to mind, served a perfect medium-rare, and paired with a Spicy Arugula Pesto. This dish once again emphasizes the shareable options Point 5 offers. And the Mahi-Mahi with Orange Ginger Reduction exemplifies the ideal, small portion size of everything brought to our table. This place has its finger on the pulse, and as a diner, I appreciate nothing more than thoughtfulness.

Do not end your experience without trying the Praline Rolled Ice Cream or the Warm Chocolate Tartlet, and you probably will, refreshingly, have room for dessert, having not been stuffed senseless by dinner. Point 5 may be a fraction in name, but it served me a perfect ten!

— Chance Parker originally hails from Texas, and is currently the wine director at Prime Steakhouse in Key West. He has more than 15 years experience in fine dining and catering, and is a certified sommelier, as well as certified specialist of wine.

 Point 5 Lounge, 915 Duval St., Key West, 305.296.0669

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