The Hamilton is located on the Upper West Side in close proximity to Colombia University. It is a small, charming location nestled just off the corner of 110th and Amsterdam. At first glance this unassuming bar looks like a great place for an intimate evening or for a post class cocktail or whiskey. Taking stock of what’s behind the bar shows that this is a spot for serious whiskey lovers, as the entirety of the bar is various forms of whiskey and scotch reigning from all over the world. The L shaped bar, dark stained bar seats nine and the surround dining room looks to be able to accommodate another fifteen to twenty people, dark greyish blue brick walls and rich, glossy wood set the mood as dimly lit, lively late night spot.
We came in for brunch, and when we were given the menu it was straight forward and to the point. Classics like Eggs Benedict and Dutch Pancakes with crème fraiche and seasonal fresh fruit offered both comfort and familiarity. One thing I was grateful for was the complimentary bloody mary or mimosa with your brunch purchase. In a sea of places offering bottomless brunch full of mid day debauchery and bro-ness, this was a welcome respite from that. The music was at a pleasing level and the few other groups of people there all seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was a sunny day and the large bay windows in the front of the restaurant were flooded with natural sunlight adding a subtle glow to the interior.
Eggs Benedict – $13
We ended up ordering the Benedict and the Shakshouka, which is becoming more and more popular in New York City. A dish consisting of spicy tomato sauce, poached eggs, greek yoghurt, fresh hebrbs and panelle, which I was told is a leftover dish made by Italians using day old polenta and frying it into crispy, salty squares. The chef here replaced the polenta with chick pea flour, which in contrast to the spiciness of the tomato, offered an excellent earthy contrast to the acidity of the yoghurt and richness of the egg yolks. All blended together in its vessel and you were left with an incredibly well balanced and satisfying way to start the afternoon. My companion had the Benedict, a very simple dish to execute, but equally easy to absolutely ruin. The eggs were poached perfectly, with none of that leftover vinegar flavor to leave you questioning your decisions. Hollandaise was bracing, salty, rich and had just the right amount of heat, and the potato hash complimented the dish as well with crisp hunks of potato, caramelized onions, roasted bell peppers and herbs.
Shakshuka – $13
Overall, a very charming space with pleasant service and solid food, we will definitely be back one evening to have a look over the scotch and whiskey. At a glance it appears they have well over one hundred and some far reaching ones that I have never even heard of.
Find out how to recreate the Shakshuka here!