Hamilton Inn offers fine dining with country inn feel
Downtown restaurant gets makeover with intimate décor and delicious dishes
by Ricardo Kaulessar
Reporter Staff Writer
Oct 28, 2010 | 4263 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WELCOME ‘INN’ – The Hamilton Inn on Jersey Avenue on a recent weeknight.
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The Hamilton Inn on Jersey Avenue is a recently-opened restaurant near Hamilton Park and the Holland Tunnel in downtown Jersey City that has the feel of a country inn on a cold rainy night – a welcome oasis that as a bonus features a variety of great dishes emphasizing the best in American cuisine.

Opened by Hoboken restaurateur Michael Gondevas in April in a renovated corner space on Jersey Avenue and Tenth Street that was previously the Hamilton Ale House, the Hamilton Inn possesses a décor of rich, mahogany wood paneling, polished wooden tables and a well-stocked bar, making it a perfect spot for couples to enjoy an evening drink before going on to dinner. Yet, it is not just an evening spot but good spot to enjoy lunch or brunch, and offers a rich menu of appetizers and entrees.

Appetizing indeed

If you’re in just an appetizer mood during a sit-down at the Hamilton Inn, then your needs will be met immediately.

While waiting for a guest, I was served rosemary focaccia bread with ricotta cheese and olive oil dips. The bread was flavorful and had a crunchiness that went perfectly with the dips.

Other appetizers were to come, but not before we were surprised with a selection from the Hamilton’s oysters menu, the Kumamoto ($2.50) from Mexico’s Baja Sound and the Blue Point (also $2.50) from Long Island, a trio of each. My guest and I both enjoyed how fresh and delectable they were, definitely the catch of the day.

A special treat that was scrumptious and so healthy too.

The appetizer series resumed, with dishes of fried calamari with spicy tomato sauce and lemon ($9); crab cakes with chipotle lime dip ($12); French onion soup dumplings ($12, provided in a unique three-holed bowl), and potato & goat cheese pierogies ($8). It was almost an entire dinner experience before the entrees were served.

My guest was especially enthralled with the French onion soup dumplings, pockets of melted gruyere and provolone cheese layered to perfection over the broth. The peerages caught my fancy, and melted in my mouth, accompanied by truffled sour cream and caramalized onion.

Other appetizers to consider on the menu include crispy chicken wings ($8) and Nachos de Oaxaca ($12) with choices of shrimp, chicken or steak.

An entrée into devouring heaven

Just when our appetites were nearing satisfaction, the entrée portion of the meal began to arrive, beginning with candied pecan salad ($9), a collection of field greens, sliced pears, warm goat cheese mixed with its namesake and topped with balsamic vinaigrette. A special treat that was scrumptious and healthy, too.

Then our waitress, with the help of another server, set before us our main dishes for the evening – butternut squash ravioli ($18) and shrimp risotto ($25).

The ravioli came in a superb light cream sauce that was to die for, with my guest in full agreement. The risotto had a creamy texture that made it a pleasure going down.

And if the aforementioned dishes are not to your stomach’s fancy, then others could fit the bill such as Rabbi Al’s Pastrami ($12) or pork chop Milanese ($22).

This should have been the moment to call it a night and bid our hosts farewell. But they prolonged our stay, and enjoyably so, bringing out desserts of banana cream pie and chocolate peanut butter mousse ($8 each). These two were my highlights of the night. They were prepared with such care, as if the staff considered seriously their customer’s sweet tooth.

And a note: don’t leave without trying the “infusion drinks,” vodka concoctions flavored with pineapple, cucumber and other mixers, priced at around $10. And check out the specials of Half-Priced Cocktail Wednesdays and for the football season, the NFL Sunday’s special of $3 drafts and half-priced wings.

The Hamilton Inn is opened seven days a week for lunch, brunch and dinner. Check out their menu online at http://www.hamiltoninnjc.com/ or call (201) 839-5818.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com.

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