A taste of Hamiltons' new menu

By Nicole Patterson

It’s been only a month since Hamiltons’ new chef, Curtis Shaver, joined the team, as recently detailed in the Dish. So what is the food like? At a recent menu tasting, Hamiltons’ revealed several creative entrées ranging from Fog Mushroom Agnolotti to a Caramelized Onion Tart with buttermilk blue cheese topped with an arugula salad, showcasing Shaver’s culinary personality.

Since opening their family owned restaurant 17 years ago, Bill and Kate Hamilton have never had a chef who they did not bring up themselves in-house, making this an intricate process and a tough decision. “He appreciates what Hamiltons’ is,” Kate notes, which is important to Kate and Bill as they seek to move forward while maintaining the integrity and history of the restaurant. 

Bill notes that “Everybody has their own flavor” and while Shaver is not changing everything, he will shape the menu by incorporating his own strengths. Bill says that Shaver is “vegetable driven” and that customers will see more “strength in the vegetarian options.”

"Curtis is a first rate chef. He has a ton of energy, he loves the kitchen, he was responsible for much of the success of Keswick Hall's culinary success," says former Fossett's executive chef Craig Hartman, who we can thank for bringing Shaver to Charlottesville, "and I am excited to see what he does at Hamiltons."

Well, at the winter tasting, we got a chance to see what he does.

While Shaver appreciates Hamiltons’ and their traditions, he brings revival and excitement to an already strong menu. When asked what inspires him to cook, he explains “good products and fresh vegetables” and says especially “unique and good ingredients, like when I see mushrooms I’ve never seen before,” inspire him to create new dishes. One of Shaver’s personal favorites on the tasting menu is the Coffee Braised Polyface Beef Shortrib on top of a Celery Root Purée with Radish Gremolata.


It appears that editing, unlike cooking, is a lost art. So many "food" writers, such a low barrier for entry at the hook.

Look on the bright side, you may still have a chance to make some cash on the side.

Nice. A second Ad for Hamiltons in as many weeks.

This "article" would be better suited for the Cville weekly.

Is this an advertiser sponsored article?

At least use better photos. Before I read the article, I looked at the photos. The one in panel 4 looks like French fries on top of something. None of it looks appealing to me. I love Hamilton's and I'm sure that the chef is first rate, but this article does a disservice to both.

agreed on the pictures. I think the issue is that the portions are small, so they had to go with close ups. The dishes don't look good close up, but the Hook doesn't dare point out how small these portions are. That would mean informing their readers of the truth instead of serving the interests of a potential advertiser.

Waal .... how's he do on Shrimp and Grits?

I have not heard or been to this place. Where is Hamiltons?

this piece has two bylines

I agree about the photos - raise the bar a bit higher, wouldja?

I had an experience at Hamilton's that completely turned me off--forever. Never again will I patronize this establishment.

I was looking for an outdoor venue in which to enjoy a beer after shopping on the Downtown Mall. An art gallery employee recommended Hamilton's.

Most (not all) of the denizens of the small outdoor patio were drunk and sketchy. I watched a young man so drunk he could hardly stand walk into the restaurant after falling on the brick pavement.

As a volunteer for several non-profits in Cville, I recognized a deaf man who supposedly cannot communicate verbally and is very aggressive when he doesn't get what he wants when he wants it proceed to verbally communicate quite well with one outdoor patron, who turned him down for a request for money.

First impressions are everything.

Miss L, you must be talking about Miller's (next door). "Drunk and sketchy" people can't afford Hamiltons'.