There it was, high atop Mount Adams on St. Gregory Street: Longworth’s Tavern, the long-standing neighborhood bar and grill touting two floors, a patio and a recently reopened kitchen. Hoorah! We braved the brisk temperature and the steep hill to indulge in an evening of excessive food and drink.
My good friend (let’s call her Egg) picked a comfortable high-top table for us near the fireplace. We were the only guests in the place, perhaps due to the possibility of inclement weather and the tavern’s location, but it wasn’t awkward like empty restaurants can be. It is a tavern after all. In this large space, flat-screen TVs showed us golf and football games, but on our side of the bar they were decidedly low-key. Around the other side of the bar is a room with a big-screen for diehard fans.
The menu consists of sandwiches and other typical pub fare, but with hints of its own character. For example, the Blue Corn Dusted Calamari with cool Hass avocado cream sauce ($8) sounded too good to pass up. Unfortunately, our friendly server neglected to mention that they were out of the avocado sauce (it was replaced with marinara for my order) and the calamari was breaded in what seemed to be a typical batter.
Nevertheless, I would still recommend it. The generous portion of rings and tentacles were fun to eat and it was some of the best calamari I’ve had.
Egg insisted on trying the Blue Corn Chips with a choice of two dips or salsas ($6). We chose a Corn Salsa and Queso dip. The chips turned out to be white corn chips, not blue. The salsa and the queso were both very mild. The corn was fresh and the queso was pretty standard. I expected both to be spicier and more flavorful, but if you like salsa and queso without the spice, this could be your thing.
For entrées, Egg chose Drew’s Pasta ($10) and I went for the Build Your Own Burger (starting at $5).
I don’t know who Drew is but the man has good taste. The pasta was angel hair with boursin cheese, shrimp, artichokes, black olives and tomatoes. It was one of those huge plates of pasta that you can keep on eating and it seems like you still have the same amount on your plate. It was flavorful yet light, with a hint of lemon. We both really liked it but felt it was lacking in artichokes.
My favorite part of the menu was the Build Your Own Burger. The burger comes on a ciabatta bun with lettuce, pickles and onions. Then you choose additional toppings at 50 cents each.
As it turns out, my friend Egg is really good at building burgers. She assured me that boursin cheese, applewood smoked bacon and caramelized onions would provide a nice balance of sweet and savory and good depth of flavor. She was right. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, “This is a tasty burger.”
This burger blew my mind. The ciabatta bun is an excellent idea. It didn’t disintegrate under the burger’s juices like other buns tend to do. It was steadfast and chewy like a burger bun should be. (That’s right, I called the bread steadfast. You got a problem with that?)
The burger came with more curly fries then I knew what to do with. They were crispy and orange (why are curly fries orange?). They were like edible confetti, there to celebrate the birth of my special burger.
We decided to hang around for a while to get a feel for the ambiance with more patrons inside. A nice group of folks came in and sat at the clean comfy-looking couches around the fireplace. The couches surrounded a table that was set with condiments, and it looked like a fun place to have snacks and drinks with friends.
By this point we had drunk many beers and decided to chat it up with our new server (the first guy’s shift had ended). We asked about the kitchen and he said they’re still working out some kinks and that he wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to scale the menu back a little in the future. He also recommended their Flatbread Pizza.
The server asked if we wanted more dessert (by which he meant beer). But I rejected his metaphor (or maybe it went over my head) and ordered a slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake ($7) … and a beer. I was ready for an overly rich chocolaty punch to the stomach, but it was actually kind of light and delicious. It came with some spray-can whipped cream, which looked nice for a couple minutes until it deflated (weird stuff). It was the kind of dessert you can actually finish, though I didn’t. I definitely ate the leftovers for breakfast though.
I had never been to Longworth’s before this trip, but I’ll definitely be heading back to try out some of their other options. Any minor glitches that might have occurred did not bear upon the quality and value of the food and friendliness of the staff.
Go: 1108 St. Gregory St., Mount Adams
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; noon-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; noon-7 p.m. Sunday
Entrée Prices: $9-$18
Payment: All major credit cards
Red Meat Alternatives: Various seafood and pasta dishes
Accessibility: Fully accessible