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.