Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hamilton Opens Downtown

by Samantha Grieder
Capital Cooking Contributor

It's 8:30 in the morning and there's already jazz musicians playing on stage. It's fitting, considering the fact that this is a 24/7 operation. Located downtown near Metro Center, The Hamilton is a recently opened venture by the Clyde's Restaurant Group. It's food. It's music. And it's, in a word, impressive.

There's a whopping 37,000 square feet of space to fill, but it's well appointed. The main dining area, at street level, is where you'll find space for 500. Booths near the windows have doors that can close off for a more intimate setting. Statues of storks decorate the restaurant. They seem delicate in the midst of such a large space. There also happens to be a sushi bar on this floor, a sign that The Hamilton is offering more than just burgers.

Early on a Monday morning, most of D.C. is making its way into the office than here for breakfast. But, unexpectedly, it's not at a standstill.

Guests are slowly entering the doors of The Hamilton and trickling their way downstairs. Small round lights glow on the staircase. A dimly lit room awaits. There are three levels, two bars, and the stage in front. Rows of tables seat up to eight at each one. Various levels of seating ensure that everyone, 400 at capacity, has a good view.

First glimpse marks this new restaurant as an ambitious project. It opened less than a month ago and will only close its doors for a grand total of 24 hours (Christmas Day) each year. But a look around the place and a glimpse at the menu, and even a small taste of the food, could change your mind. Experienced executive chef Brian Stickel, formerly of 1789 Restaurant and other Clyde's group restaurants, has created a base menu that has something for everyone.

Officials, including D.C. Mayor Vince Gray, at the restaurant ribbon cutting.

Breakfast and brunch, served until 11 a.m. during the week and until 4 p.m. on weekends, feature items from chicken and biscuits to pancakes or a BBQ hash, pulled pork with sweet potatoes and eggs. Lunch, served through 5 p.m. on weekdays, features sandwiches to mussels or chicken enchiladas. Dinner runs until midnight each night, and expands the menu to include sushi. Sushi chef Jason Zheng, formerly of Zentan, and his team will serve up specialty rolls until 2 a.m. Ever tried a roll that has salmon and kiwi? Now you can. And a look at the late night menu reveals comfort eats to please every taste: ramen, wings, fish tacos, bacon chocolate chip pancakes, and more.

The Hamilton seems to be a novel idea and something that the District has been missing downtown. With foods for every taste, music for music lovers, a 10' by 8' screen for sports lovers, and enough space for you and plenty of your friends (and their friends, too), it's a welcome addition to the community.

And with a staff of 380, surely one of them will be there to serve you.

The Hamilton on Urbanspoon

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