hamiltons - 01Hamiltons’ is one of those places that arouses in me only the mildest flicker of interest when I’m thinking about a night on the town. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the ethnic-American menu, which features stir-fry, spaghetti, and rack of lamb dishes right there next to each other. Or it could be the fact that no one ever recommends it to me or otherwise seems to be talking about it. Or maybe I would just prefer that the comma in their name come before the “s” instead of after. Whatever it is, I never feel much like going, which is still how I feel after our last visit.

We ate outside, which is one of the nice things about Hamiltons’. They have outdoor seating both in the middle of the mall and hugging the front door. Even on a nice night, with a little notice, you should be able to get a table. The interior is 90′s modern, warm and friendly.

hamiltons - 11I ordered the pork spareribs to start and the shrimp and grits to follow. Erin ordered the veggie “Blue Plate Special.” The table shared an order of smoked salmon crostini, and my mom, dad, and brother-in-law all got the trout special, stuffed with bacon, goat cheese, and something else. When the results came in, the trout was the big winner, followed by the salmon crostini and spareribs, which were both fresh and tender and meaty. The shrimp and grits were utterly forgettable, much like the “Blue Plate Special.”

The biggest affront to the evening, however, was how long it took. Our waiter was very professional — it clearly wasn’t his fault — but we had to wait over an hour between the appetizers and entrees, even with a number of empty tables inside. We were all drunk and ravenous by the time the food finally came, so maybe you actually can’t trust this review’s assessment of the food quality. Regardless, we hope this was a blip in their food service, not the norm.

In the end, the outdoor seating and tasty dishes were balanced out by the wait and mediocre dishes (and price), leaving us all looking at each other and shrugging and saying, “Meh?” Then again, the trout really was good. If your curiosity is at all piqued, take this moral from our story: Go for the specials, but be prepared to wait.

Erin says: “The veggie blue plate can be a fun downtown lunch option, but I would head somewhere else for dinner.”

Jed’s mom says: “I don’t know what I should say here. I guess I’ll say what Erin’s mom said in the Fleurie review.”

award_star_gold_3 16Rating: Erin: Jed:

thumb_up 16 iconPros: Shaded outdoor seating on the mall, good specials (or at least trout).

thumb_down 16 iconCons: Pricy, possibly long wait for food, dishes hit or miss.

money_dollar 16 iconPrice: Entrees $20-30.

car famfam 16 iconParking: None, but Hamiltons’ will validate two hours of parking in the Water Street and Market Street garages.

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