Restaurant Week is winding down. You only have through Saturday to hit up the restaurants on the list. May I humbly suggest that you make Hamilton Walker's one of your stops. My spouse and I have a tried and true order when we dine there. We share a burger (it is amazing...even made our Best Burgers list) and steak fries, share a spinach salad, and top that off with a tasty cocktail. It works for us. We branched out for Restaurant Week. It was honestly really hard to pass up their menu, because Hamilton Walker's definitely wins RW in term of the deal that they offer.
For $19, you get a choice of soup or salad, a choice of salmon or beef tips (both of which come with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans), and chocolate torte. That's a ridiculous deal. Hamilton Walker's is your typical steakhouse, where you're going to spend well more than $19 just on your entree. For this reason alone, you should have them on your Restaurant Week list. Fortunately, the food was also worth the trip.
We sat in the bar area, our usual choice, and it was bustling with pre-Illini game diners. This did not seem to affect our service though. Each course came out in a timely fashion and our server was attentive. First up, the soup and salad.
Image: A small white bowl sits on a white saucer on a dark wood table. It is filled with brown broth, and there are pieces of carrot and beef. Parsley is sprinkled on the surface. There is a metal spoon sitting on the saucer. Photo by Julie McClure.
I selected the Chef's Prime Rib Soup for my first course. It was good. Not exactly memorable, but the broth was rich and flavorful, and the bites of meat were tender. I don't know if it's something I'd seek out on further visits, but it warmed me up on a chilly night.
Image: A white plate sits on a dark wood table. There is green spinach topped with thin slices of radish, finely chopped hard boiled egg, shredded cheese, and a piece of bacon. Photo by Julie McClure.
My spouse selected the house salad, but what we actually got was the spinach salad. This was fine — as mentioned before this is a regular order for us — so it's actually a more appealing choice, though I'm sure the house salad is lovely. Not sure what happened there, but we were okay with the switch. The reason this salad is so delightful is that it's tossed in warm bacon dressing. It has a bit of sweetness to it, and coats the spinach well. I'm not usually big on chunks of mushroom on a salad, even though I like them cooked in various ways, but the dressing soaks in and changes up the texture a bit.
Image: A round white plate sits on a dark wood table. There is a piece of salmon, surrounded by mashed potatoes and green beans. There is lemon butter sauce on the plate, sprinkled with parsley. Photo by Julie McClure.
I went with the grilled atlantic salmon for my entree. It was wonderful. Salmon is one of those items that I rarely make at home because I always tend to overcook it. This can happen at restaurants as well, but this one was cooked perfectly. It had that melt in your mouth texture, and was seasoned very well. The lemon butter sauce, that you can see deliciously pooled on that plate, made it very decadent.
Image: A round white plate sits on a dark wood table. There are five pieces of steak in a dark brown sauce. The steak is surrounded by mashed potatoes and green beans. Photo by Julie McClure.
My spouse's beef tips in demi-glace were a winner as well. He ordered them medium rare, which I my opinion is how all steak should be ordered, but it was a great decision for this dish since they were smaller morsels and a bit easier to overcook. They were dark pink to perfection in the center, tender, and full of flavor even without the demi-glace, but of course the sauce only enhanced each bite.
Both dishes came with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed garlic green beans, which seem to be a common side for me this week, but that's just fine with me. If you are not a fan of garlic this may be a lot for you, but I will take all the garlic please and thank you.
Image: An oval white plate sits on a dark wood table. There is a wedge of chocolate torte with a layer of chocolate ganache. It sits on a base of chocolate sauce, and is sprinkled with powdered sugar. Photo by Julie McClure.
At this point the beginnings of that uncomfortably full feeling were setting in, but I had to power through for the chocolate torte. We ended up sharing one serving and bringing the other one home, which I may or may not have had for breakfast. Topped with chocolate ganache and Belgian chocolate sauce, it was rich and had that great slightly bitter chocolate flavor.
Kudos to Hamilton Walker's for taking full advantage of Restaurant Week, now it's up to you to take advantage of this deal.
201 N Neil Street
Lunch: M-F 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sa + Su:10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: Su-W 4-9 p.m.
Th-Sa 4-10 p.m.
Brunch: Sa-Su 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Restaurant Week menu is available for dinner.