Neighborhood: Columbia Heights
Needing a brunch in C. Heights, with a wait at Red Rocks, Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas and I headed to Meridian Pint.
Restaurants work best when they fit in with the vibe of their neighborhoods, and Meridian Pint certainly fulfills that best practice. Sitting on the corner of 11th and Park, it fully fits into the hipster vibe. The ground floor is a well-lit conventional bar, from the expansive patio out front to the honey-golden wood fixtures, floor to furniture. Exposed pipes hang from the crimson ceiling, punctuated every so often by chandeliers that are almost steampunk, conventional standing fans welded together and bronzed by spray paint.
The front window is a garage door, and the bar features a number of chalkboard menus and American brews on tap. Seating is a mishmash of two-tops in front, with a community table and long wooden bar in the middle, and a row of half-booths and full booths in the back. The decor is accordingly industrial with a large metal cog by the booths, and several smaller ones on the wall.
The downstairs is the hyped portion, as it holds the three booths with beer taps directly at the table (though book in advance, as the allure of not waiting for a bartender fills seats fast). Behind those booths are schematics painted on blue walls surrounding the bar tables, pool tables, and shuffleboard set.
It being brunch didn't stop us from ordering beer and a mimosa. Still, we both went with traditional brunch dishes. I ordered the turkey hash with poached eggs, topped with a mustard hollandaise. Most hashes suffer from an overabundance of salt or acid, but this had neither. Instead it packed flavor without overpowering, a creamy taste that was savory and delicious. The portion was perfectly sized, the eggs were cooked perfectly and everything mixed in well. A definite win.
Texas ordered the French toast, cooked custard style and orange-scented. This translated into a sometimes overwhelmingly sweet version of the dish, though that vacillated with each bite. Depending on your tolerance for the saccharine, this was either inspired or just a little too much. For me it was fine, but I also have a large fondness for marmalade. For Texas, it took some time in between bites to acclimate.
Solid brunch, with a few missteps. But when it's right, it's great.
Food Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: Hipster Hangout
Vibe: Energetic to Noisy
Cost: $$ (out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing: Head over to Newton and Georgia Ave and shop for fun items at Mom & Pop Antiques. Some interesting finds (we got a Marilyn Monroe sign and a steamer trunk), and if nothing else, you can play the piano in front in some feeble attempt to impress your significant other (this doesn't work if she's more interested in said steamer trunk).