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Slow service taints a delicious dinner at The Hamilton

When my roommate and I perused OpenTable for a dinner reservation at a Penn Quarter restaurant last Friday, I was excited to book a 5:30 p.m. slot at The Hamilton.

Then we dined there, and my opinion became a mixed bag.

Where’s our waiter?

After a Metro ride to Metro Center and a short walk to the corner of 14th and F streets NW, I walked into The Hamilton at 5:25 p.m. to meet Amanda. A hostess immediately showed us to a booth, placing a drink, a sushi and two dinner menus onto the table. We had both come straight from work and were absolutely famished. We decided to split a $40 pitcher of sangria rather than order two drinks a piece at $10 (or more) per cocktail, and after some mulling over the menu decided upon our dinner entrees.

And then we sat. For 15 minutes. Without even a glass of water.

Finally, a waiter — not even our waiter — noticed us with our full menus and empty glasses. He promptly took both our drink and dinner orders and searched out our waiter. I’m still not quite sure how we became a forgotten table, as the waiters did not offer up an explanation for the confusion or even much of an apology for the wait. At this point, I was just relieved to see that our sangria eventually made it safely to our table. Our new waiter promised us bread to hold us over, and our entrees made their way to us sooner than I had expected. The bread, on the other hand, never did.

After initially being forgotten by the servers, The Hamilton’s front of house continued to disappoint throughout the meal. The wait staff members were friendly and polite, of course. But, there seemed to have been a communication breakdown between the workers resulting in slow service even after our missing-waiter-situation was resolved. I mentioned my experience to a fellow Washingtonian who has brunched at The Hamilton, and she was also disappointed in the restaurant’s service during her visit. Two isolated incidents is not enough of a pattern to say service at The Hamilton is always poor or slow, but I wouldn’t be sharing an honest portrayal of my experience if I glossed over this point. Now you’ve been warned, and you can make your own judgment when you visit. I would just recommend that you not be in a rush to go anywhere after dining at The Hamilton (as we were) — to be on the safe side.

Although the service disappointed, the food did not — in photos

The Hamilton's white peach sangria is a refreshing summer cocktail.

The Hamilton’s white peach sangria is a refreshing summer cocktail.

Wild Alaskan Salmon salad is radicchio, arugula, pita crisps, bulghur wheat, feta cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes in a lemon vinaigrette at The Hamilton.

Wild Alaskan Salmon salad is radicchio, arugula, pita crisps, bulghur wheat, feta cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes in a lemon vinaigrette at The Hamilton. The salmon was lean and cooked to perfection. I’d order this salad again.

The Chocolate St. Louis Gooey Cake is a chewy chocolate cake that is like a brownie in consistency. It's topped with vanilla ice cream, gooey chocolate, "cocoa nibs" and chocolate ganache.

The Chocolate St. Louis Gooey Cake is a chewy chocolate cake that is like a brownie in consistency. It’s topped with vanilla ice cream, gooey chocolate, “cocoa nibs” and chocolate ganache.

The strawberry shortcake is a sugared buttermilk biscuit topped with strawberries and sweetened whipped cream. Absolutely divine.

The strawberry shortcake is a sugared buttermilk biscuit topped with strawberries and sweetened whipped cream. Absolutely divine.

Dinner menu: American cuisine including Charcuterie and cheese plates, starter and entree salads, variety of appetizers, pasta, seafood, sushi, steak and other meat entrees, burgers and sandwiches, delicious desserts

Drink list: Inventive cocktails, small craft American liquors, wines by the glass or bottle, beer, boozy milkshakes, and non-alcoholic milkshakes and malts

Price: Appetizers from $6 for caramelized onion and mushroom soup to $14 for octopus ceviche; Entrees from $10 for open-faced pulled pork sandwich to $30 for the New York Strip Steak

Location: 600 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

By Metro: Closest option is Metro Center on the Blue, Orange and Red lines; About seven blocks from Gallery Place-Chinatown on the Yellow, Green and Red lines

The Hamilton on Urbanspoon

Wish you were here,

Erin

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. The food looks good and well plated…but poor service at those prices may affect repeat patronage.with plenty of choices in DC to dine. Tonight I experienced awful service at a hometown restaurant we frequently eat at, and if there were more choices to dine in Dearborn, I would not be back soon even though I like the food.

    June 22, 2013
    • The food at The Hamilton tasted great. The sangria was the perfect summer cocktail, the salad was light and the salmon was incredibly lean and well cooked. And dessert? Delicious. Unfortunately, slow service really changed my overall experience. When I’m dining at a restaurant, I shouldn’t feel like a customer — I should feel like a guest. I had high hopes for The Hamilton, but I left underwhelmed by my dining experience there. Like you said, D.C. is full of dining options. Next time I am in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area for dinner, you probably won’t find me at The Hamilton.

      June 26, 2013

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