Monday, February 25, 2008

Logan @ the Heights

Never will I take for granted the great dining and imbibing opportunities provided in Mount Pleasant. Wanting for a happy hour or a place to meet friends? There's Marx Cafe, Tonic, Don Juan's, Haydee's or the Raven. All within walking distance. No having to ride Metro like those poor VA folks going to Adams Morgan on the weekend and no chancing it on the road driving. Our watering holes and restaurants are part of what makes Mt P a livable, fun and complete neighborhood. However, they say variety is the spice of life and as far as eating out, I totally agree!

Only four blocks from the end if the 42 bus line is the Heights (officially, a way too long "Logan @ the Heights Restaurant and Bar"). The address is 3115 14th Street NW. Its one block north of the Columbia Heights Metro station and located on the first floor of the Kenyon Square Condominium building. I really like this place. Its so close to the Metro, its sometimes the only place I can get a few friends to agree to meet after work or in the evening. Its not that far from Mount Pleasant and, obviously in the heart of Columbia Heights. The bartenders are friendly and tend to remember your name (or at least your drink) and the happy hour used to be one of the best in town (they had $2 Stella drafts!). Alas, it was too popular and they had to change up a bit and make the prices more realistic. Still cheap enough for the working man or woman. Check out the full menu here. The Heights is owned and run by EatWell DC; same folks who run Logan Tavern, Merkado Kitchen and Grillfish.

The food seems to fit the ambiance of the space, or vice versa. The menu is affordable enough to allow visiting on a whim, but nice enough to take a date or your parents. Wood paneling reaches up about 2/3 way to the ceiling, but gives way to the pre-formed concrete walls of the Kenyon Sq building. Large print black and white photos of Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights landmarks adorn the walls. The kitchen is "open," you can see it from the floor, and the tables are covered not with white linen, but with white, tear-off-the-roll construction paper.

As for Logan Tavern or Merkado on P Street, I've never been; but it the food is comparable to the Heights, I may pay a visit or two now. I was quite pleased. On a recent visit I had one of their surprisingly good vegetarian options, the crispy tofu and veggie stir fry over jasmine rice. The menus is veggie and even vegan friendly (ALL six of the sides are vegetarian). The tofu was fried nicely and the sauce had a little bite, but was not spicy enough to hide the flavors. The rice was plain jasmine and cooked just fine. They won't beat out any real Chinese or Korean restaurants, but the dish was well beyond servicable and I've had it several times since my initial visit.

Happy hour is my other favorite pastime at the Heights. The long bar can accommodate, oh, 20 people or so and there are 2 flat screens way up above the bar; far enough away not to be a distraction, but if you want to watch the game or news, you can. The Heights is NOT a sports bar, thank goodness. If there is one drawback to Tonic on Mount Pleasant Street, its the substantial crowds on busy sports nights. The Heights has plenty of tables and breaks out the patio furniture during the good weather months. Just as you enter the place, you come upon the 'community table.' If the bar is full, but you're a single diner and don't require a whole booth or table, sit here! Its quite fun. Like sitting at a fancy, candle-lit dinner at home around the dinner table.... with total strangers. There's a strong chance one may be a neighbor of yours. The web site describes the Heights a true neighborhood bar, which I have to say has become an accurate statement since their opening last June. Chalk up another winner for Columbia Heights.