gluten-free pizza and more at Albany’s The Point

After many years of living la vida country, my mother and stepfather decided to part ways with their 200+ year-old farmhouse and move back to Albany proper. These days they reside in a lovely brick and Tudor-style house in the city’s Pine Hills neighborhood. Since I currently lack my own car, this location is proving far more convenient than the old place.

I’d been to the Point a couple of times for drinks since I’ve been here, but I hadn’t had dinner there until the other night. The last time I’d been in The Point before moving to Chicago, it was still Peking/Alibis, a strange juxtaposition of a Chinese restaurant and a would-be chichi martini bar that appeared to suffer from a serious case of multiple personality disorder given the decor’s wildly anachronistic ambiance that included a disco ball, paintings of 1920s silhouetted dancers doing what appeared to be the Charleston, and bamboo furniture. All of this was highlighted by loud hiphop music that made it nearly impossible for you to hear what your companion was saying and a menu filled with overly sweet and dessert-like cocktails that had no business carrying the martini name. Needless to say, it was not a place I wanted to visit more than once.

But the Point is different. It’s a lot like it’s next-door sister restaurant, Cafe Madison, only a little dressed up. Kind of a nighttime version of CM, basically. I was thrilled to notice the gluten-friendly nature of the menu. You can request gluten-free crackers to go with the complimentary olive tapenade they provide, which I happily crunched on while bk and his friend ate the bread. I also noticed that dishes were carefully marked gluten-free, and all pasta dishes could be made with gluten-free pasta instead. Even better, the menu also said that all pizzas could be made with GF dough. Clearly I had to go for that.

I ended up opting for  a simple pie made with garlic, mozzarella, ricotta and roma tomatoes. I was pretty impressed with the crust on this baby, and I was also impressed to see that at $9, it was surprisingly affordable for a GF personal-sized pizza — actually, it was the same price as the regular one. I’d ordered a side salad to start so I ended up taking half my pie home for dinner the next day. My main complaint with this pie actually was that the tomato pieces were a little too large to bite into because they were, for some reason, scorchingly hot compared to the rest of the pie. I ended up taking them off and eating them once they’d cooled down.

I think the Point adds a nice entry to the Albany dining scene. It’s casual but not too casual, and it’s still nice without being overly expensive. I hope it sticks around – I think it still has a few kinks to work out but I think it has the potential to do quite well.

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