247 10th St.
Hamilton Pork has become synonymous with to-die-for food and Southern hospitality.
As soon as you walk in, you’re welcomed with broad smiles by friendly staff dressed in plaid, a welcome change from the often jaded mood of some urban eateries.
This Texas-inspired BBQ restaurant, where the meat is slow roasted for a minimum of eight hours in-house, is a block away from lively and charming Hamilton Park.
Once a Vespa dealership, the restaurant has maintained an open layout design, with dim, calming lighting and exposed brick walls.
Visitors can choose a stool at the bar, made of an old shipping container, for a nice cold beer or specialty cocktail; a wooden booth; family-style picnic table; or outside seating in the back patio.
For bourbon lovers, I recommend the Smoke Show, which will really mellow you out after a tough day or long week. Think of it as a Southern take on a classic Manhattan, made with angostura bitters, smoked maple, and Bulliet bourbon.
The patio, surrounded by a tall picket fence with hanging flower boxes, is a quiet oasis from the hustle and bustle of the park and the street in this high-energy hood.
I began my feast with the meat sampler, three selections from eight options, including brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, turkey, jalapeno cheddar sausage, pulled chicken, lamb belly, and pork belly.
I chose pork ribs, turkey breast, and jalapeno cheddar sausage, with sides of jalapeno corn bread and classic slaw.
The fall-off-the-bone ribs were tender and juicy. The turkey breast was lightly seasoned and smoked. The ribs and turkey paired beautifully with homemade BBQ sauce as well as sweet Asian Kung Pow sauce. You can order Kung Pow wings as an appetizer, something I will definitely do next time I visit.
The jalapeno cheddar sausage and jalapeno corn bread added a little kick without overpowering the other flavors.
Next I ordered two tacos, one pescado and one philly.
The fish taco is made with crispy cod, pico de gallo, salsa, and a chipotle crema on a corn tortilla. The philly taco is made with brisket, grilled onion, jalapeno, and homemade queso on a flour tortilla, both garnished with a bright pink and green watermelon radish served on a silver tray reminiscent of school lunches.
Other taco options include chicken, brisket, shrimp, gyro, pork, avocado, brussel, and cubano.
The mac-and-cheese, served in a small cast-iron dish, is composed of elbow pasta, queso and cotija cheese, topped with bright red paprika. It was creamy, filling, and perfect for chilly winter nights.
Hamilton Pork also offers a variety of sandwiches, including a Mexican brisket burger or spicy chicken sandwich, as well as appetizers, salads, and sides.
Happily stuffed to the gills, I still can’t resist dessert. I try the coconut cream pie, made with a thick sweet graham cracker crust, topped with toasted coconut shavings, as well as the churro waffle ice cream sandwich.
Wow! I now see why this ice cream sandwich is a Hamilton Pork favorite. These huge waffles, which taste like churros with crunchy cinnamon sugar on the outside, have a soft doughy center. Between the two waffles were several scoops of caramel ice cream made by the local Milk Sugar Love Creamery & Bake Shop a block away.
My one regret is that I did not have room for more. Next time.—Marilyn Baer.