708 Jersey Ave.
Photos by Terri Saulino Bish
It was a big Hamilton Park night. Hamilton Inn and Hamilton Pork are owned by the Gondevas brothers, Michael and John. The restaurants are right next to one another, so we stopped in to both on a beautiful evening in mid-September.
I’d been to Hamilton Inn many times and always loved the food, the drinks, and the ambience. It occupies the corner of a leafy street, and in fair weather, diners eat outside at the few tables that line the sidewalk.
Inside, a gorgeous bar runs the span of the entire space, and there’s a wonderful feel of old wood, natural light, and neighborhood cheer.
One thing that’s changed since my last visit is the beer list, with more craft offerings and some fruity numbers like Ballast Point Grapefruit Scupin and Austin Pineapple Cider. I chose Sixpoint Brewery’s The Crisp on draft, a traditional New York lager. In fact, there were quite a few local beers from New York and New Jersey. You’ll also find a nice selection of cocktails, wines, and spirits.
Manager Justin Janosko greets us and makes our life really easy. He’s holding a handwritten list of things he thinks we should order. Word of advice: Trust the manager when it comes to menu recommendations. Justin did not steer us wrong.
First up, truffled egg pizza. This is a manageably sized crispy pizza with pancetta, spinach, and mozzarella. The thing that makes it different are the two sunny-side-up eggs that greet you like big friendly breakfast eyes. But don’t be alarmed. Give it a try. The combo is brightly different.
As we eat, instrumental jazz and Frank Sinatra play softly in the background, giving the place an air of casual sophistication.
As we proceed through the menu items, you’ll see that the word “truffled” pops up a lot. It just means any food cooked, garnished, or stuffed with truffles. The truffled egg pizza was followed by potato and goat cheese pierogies with truffled sour cream and caramelized onions.
This was a hearty appetizer lightened by the addition of caramelized onions, their sweetness a perfect complement to the heavier potato, cheese, and sour cream.
My favorite dish as the evening progressed was the Grain Bowl. This was a hefty serving of quinoa, baby kale, cucumber, tomato, feta, pickled onion, kalamata olive, and lemon vinaigrette. You can add ahi tuna, hangar steak, grilled chicken, or salmon. Ours came with a beautiful light but crispy grilled salmon. This dish offers the perfect combo of greens and protein for a really healthy entrée.
Last up was steak frites. This grass-fed organic hangar steak came with maitre d’butter and truffled—there it is again—fries.
Red meat eaters rejoice. It was juicy and tender with a mound of thin and crispy fries, topped with shredded cheese.
Justin picked the perfect combo for any diet or food preference. But there’s a lot more, including a raw bar, a large sandwich selection, two more salads, four more entrees, cakes, pies, specialty coffees, herbal teas, and after-dinner drinks. Bringing the kids? There’s a kids’ menu and highchairs.
Weekly specials include happy hours, liquid lunches, weekend brunches, wine-down Sundays, and lobster shindigs.
The owners leave you with this message: “We created this place for you. Enjoy the menu on your own terms, eat simple, eat sustainable, eat good food with no strings attached.”—Kate Rounds.