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sushi bento box (fire cracker roll, octopus salad, nigri) | the hamilton | downtown

Once upon a time, I (irrationally) thought I didn’t like sushi. But I was lucky to have a stubborn friend who insisted that I should just try a bite of a dragon roll (typically, eel, cucumber, and crab, wrapped with avocado and sometimes more eel). I did so begrudgingly but instantly regretted missing out on the delicious bite for the first 23 years of my life. Fast forward seven years, and I would be happy to eat sushi every day for every meal.

Admittedly, when I first heard that the Clyde’s Restaurant Group was serving sushi at it’s new venture, The Hamilton (at 14th and K, occupying the old Borders), I was a bit skeptical of the all-American establishment’s ability to serve high quality sushi. But with Jason Zheng (formerly at Zentan) at the helm of its sushi operations, The Hamilton definitely impressed me with its sushi on two visits in the last week!

Although the “bento box” combos aren’t traditional bento boxes (and won’t make any “cheap eats” list anytime soon), the fish was definitely high quality and fresh. Every piece of sushi was appropriately light on rice.  Even the fire cracker roll (spicy jumbo lump crab, fried shrimp, tempura flakes), which, on paper, had the potential to be a clunky mess, arrived in delicious and beautiful bite sizes.

The beauty of The Hamilton is that you can have whatever you want in one meal, no matter how disjointed it may be. To celebrate my friend’s birthday, we started with one of her favorite appetizers, chicken liver mousse.

chicken liver mousse | the hamilton

She could not decide between having pasta and sushi. . . so she had both– the duck carbonara (which comes in a “small” size) and a spicy tuna roll.

duck carbonara | the hamilton

spicy tuna roll | the hamilton

Although I was tempted to have a similar combo, I settled on the trio don.

trio don (salmon, sea bass, and tuna over seasoned rice, shrimp tempura) | the hamilton

We ended our feast with a birthday dessert on the house (yay!), cinnamon bun bread pudding.

cinnamon bun bread pudding | the hamilton

I’ve read a lot of complaints about the service at The Hamilton, which would be expected at a new restaurant, but on both of my lunchtime visits, though there may be one greeter too many at the front, I found the staff extremely attentive and accommodating. I also LOVE that it’s open 24/7 (with a limited sushi available until 2 AM!), so I definitely need to plan a late night visit.