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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Heights

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Columbia Heights

The Setup

Searching for a new brunch between our neighborhoods, Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas and I, along with a companion, headed up to The Heights for brunch.

The Vibe

The Heights benefits from being one of the few independent restaurants in the gentrified (if not corporate) strip of 14th St., which accounts for the line outside its door at 11am on a Sunday. Its decor is best described as rustic Americana, which is to say the spruced-up homey feel that a few other restaurants have tried to create. Sure, it's set in a warehouse-like setting, concrete flooring and exposed ceiling vents. But something about it feels very autumn, maybe the orange and ecru accent walls or the chandeliers trimmed with corn husks. This gap is bridged with a few decorative tweaks: some black and white photography, metal stars, and a large clockface behind the bar.

Seating consists of rows of four-to-six-top booths flanking a central row of four-tops; from my vantage point, I couldn't see a single two-top. The only couple near us sat in a huge booth, which to me at least is a nice positive, providing some amount of quiet in an otherwise buzzy atmosphere

The Food

The Heights, like some of its other EatWellDC brethren, has a make-your-own-bloody-mary menu for brunch. In the spectrum of brunch drinks, bloody marys are a lot like scrambled eggs: when they're good, they're all you ever want to have, but when they're bad, you wonder why anyone ever invented them in the first place. If that holds true, then the choose-your-own-adventure of the Heights' bloody mary menu is like playing Russian Roulette, if the gun was loaded with ingredients like truffled salt, cripsy potato strings, or beef jerky. Somehow, Texas lucked into a free bloody mary, and luckily for all of us, it was delicious, and not the least bit ketchup-y.

Our companion had the huevos motuleños, a bowl of eggs, chicken, plantains, avocado, black beans and salsa. Probably a little drier than other Spanish eggs dishes that we've had, and the chicken was a little flavorless, but at least the plantains were a nice surprise and the eggs were nice.

In a similar vein was the turkey sausage hash, topped with eggs and a cheddar and white wine cream sauce. This was my order, and for me the eggs themselves were a tad overcooked, but the turkey sausage was nicely done and the cream sauce was delicious, leaving the dish decent if you concentrated on the peripherals.

For Texas, she had the Southern fried chicken served with a caramelized onion brown gravy and smashed potatoes. This was a little bit of a disappointment for Texas, the former pescetarian-cum-ethical eater who cowed for this meal based on the local sourcing of The Heights' meat and a sudden desire for fried chicken. A tad dry and not nearly crispy, there was just so much more that we wanted out of the dish that just wasn't delivered, both in terms of flavor and texture. Sad.

The Verdict

Great bloody mary selection. So-so to disappointing brunch food.

Food Rating: ** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Bar Rating:
Hipster Hangout
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
: On the way out, grab a few choice items at the Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings at the beautiful open space between Kenyon and Park for ingredients for a late lunch to cook.

Logan @ the Heights on Urbanspoon

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