By Rachel Forrest
Hampton Union, Spotlight, February 12, 2015
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
As much as I love the trend/new model of dining (or is it now ingrained in American dining?), not every restaurant has to be a “gastro-something”. There’s a place for the neighborhood spot serving quality, but fussy-free food where you’re comfortable bringing the kids. That’s especially true in our corner of the world where we have little New England towns and restaurants in which we just want to relax. Logan’s Run in Hampton is like that, a very family-friendly spot with familiar, well-prepared food and a place to watch the game.
There’ve been quite a few restaurants in this Lafayette Road space over the years, including O’Leary’s, which Logan’s Run owner Scott bought from his uncle to open this restaurant. There’s a family BGs Boathouse connection, too. The dining room is relatively free of frills, a big open space with plenty of sunlight, and the lounge and bar area is a comfortable hang-out. When I visited back when they first opened in 2013, they had a few kinks to work out in terms of service and getting food to the table in a timely manner, but that was so two years ago and my latest visits saw efficient and friendly service.
The menu is of that other traditional American style (not the gastrotype with deviled eggs, fancy poutine and pork belly BLTs), but with pub fare like burgers and wings, and then pizza and pasta. It’s an “everyman’s/person's” menu. They just rolled out a Winter Favorites special menu with dishes like lobster mac 'n' cheese and baby back ribs.
The fresh calamari appetizer is excellent, deep fried, but with a light batter and tossed with hot cherry peppers and marinara, neither of which overwhelm the texture and flavor of the calamari ($8.99). I also like the wings, and while I usually get Buffalo, I went for the honey mustard which gave the crisp wings a nice glaze and heat ($8.99 for 10). Steak tip skewers were charbroiled and overcooked, however, so they came out tough. ($11.99).
A mushroom, onion, and Swiss burger on the other hand was perfectly cooked to medium, very juicy and flavorful. Plenty of sauteed mushrooms melded with the cheese and hand-cut fries were crisp and not at all greasy. Their waffle fries are good, too, with a dusting of Cajun spices ($8.99). Fish and chips are also surprisingly light – smaller chunks of haddock with a crisp coating and those hand-cut fries ($10,99), although more interesting are the fish tacos, good for a shared starter if you get two. The jalapeno white sauce inside four tortillas with crunchy, sweet fresh cabbage is rich and craveable ($8.99).
Pizza and pasta dishes are here, too, because well, everyone likes those, right? A meatball parm sub is loaded with a bright marinara and tangy provolone cheese. They say the meatballs are homemade and they did taste fresh and unique with a springy texture and a good balance of Italian herbs ($8.99). I did not get to try the chicken parmesan, one of my go-tos, but a 12” white pizza with light garlic and thinly sliced ripe tomatoes and lightly charred crust was very tasty with a cold beer ($9.99). I saw a steak bomb pie go by that looked good, too. A plain 12” pie starts at $7.99.
The prices in general are very low, including on a 12-ounce prime rib special on Thursday nights complete with baked potato, soup or salad, and a veg for only $15.99. Prime rib is one of the meals that I know I shouldn’t eat, but can’t resist and here it’s got all those so-called “bad” aspects that in the end taste so good like the crisped up fat on the outside, a decadent horseradish sauce and a potato oozing sour cream and butter. You’ll also see specials like rare seared ahi tuna on greens, which of course is quite healthy. For dessert, try the chocolate mousse pie, silky and fluffy ($5.99) or a tart Key lime pie.
Logan’s Run is really one of the most family-friendly restaurants in the area that’s also independently owned (and you know we like that). I’ve seen many families there in my visits and there is a kid’s menu (kids should eat anything on any menu as I’ve argued before), but any of the food here is fine for kids. The dining area and bar/lounge are totally separate so grownups can have a fun night out with other locals drinking very cold beer (some local) or a cocktail, too. It’s the neighborhood hangout for just about anyone.
Rachel Forrest is a former restaurant owner who lives in Exeter (and Austin). Her column appears Thursdays in Go&Do. Her restaurant review column, Dining Out, appears Thursdays in Spotlight magazine.