Rat's Restaurant, Hamilton, NJ: A Dining Review

Rat's Restaurant, Hamilton, NJ

Rat's Restaurant is one of the top romantic restaurants in Central NJ.
If you are looking for that special place where ambiance & decor are stunning and you want to impress.... this is it.

Rat's Restaurant
16 Fairgrounds Rd.
Hamilton, NJ

Rat's:  Restaurant Highlights

Fare: French

Very Expensive

Food Quality:
Excellent. Well-executed, artfully presented, and prepared using seasonal, fresh ingredients.

Professional, attentive, without being intrusive, though a bit pretentious.

Outstanding. Located on the grounds that resemble a small European village. The dining rooms are adorned with original artwork, rustic fireplaces, and a mixture of Old-World elegance and New World color.

Overall Rating:
3 stars

Four star Rating System from 1/2 Star = poor to Four stars = Best in Class

Noise Level: Moderate

Dress: Upscale Casual

Recommended For: Diners who enjoy well prepared food with out of the ordinary, stunning decor, and are willing to pay more for a special dining experience

Not Recommended For: Budget minded diners and young families who prefer more casual dining with lower menu prices and larger food portions.

Recommended dishes: When available, The seared scallops with corn risotto, chanterelles and herb; The Strip loin of free-range veal with truffled leek pierogies, chanterelles, pea puree and chived fromage blac; and the vegetarian selection of wild mushroom pie.

Liquor: Excellent wine list and specialty cocktails.

Restaurant Review

Rat's is one of the top romantic restaurants in Central New Jersey. An ideal place for celebrating special occasions, a romantic dining experience and for a family Sunday brunch, and for special holiday celebrations.

This is a fine dining restaurant without the "stuffiness" that typically comes with traditional fine dining.

Named after the character in Kenneth Graham's children's classic, The Wind in the Willows, Rat's Restaurant is designed to give visitors the sense they have stepped into a village reminiscent of the impressionist painter Claude Monet's beloved town of Giverny.

Owned by noted sculptor and pharmaceutical heir J. Seward Johnson, Jr., Rats restaurant was created, at least in part, as an added inducement to visit Mr. Johnson's magnificent Grounds for Sculpture, the adjoining 22-acre sculpture park located on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds.

Located in a beautiful park like setting, the grounds are attractively developed along the lines a small European village.

The Kitchen is run by Executive Chef Richard Freeman. Chef Freedman honed his culinary skills in Philadelphia at Beau Monde and the Ritz Carlton, and later ventured to France to receive training in charcuterie on a pig farm in Gascony. Returning to Philadelphia, Chef Freedman worked at several dining venues where he specialized in sausages and charcuterie, ending up working for Chef Jose Garces and at Di Bruno Brothers in Philadelphia before joining Rat's.

One of Chef Freedman's signature dishes is classic French favorite: escargots.The snails are sourced from Potironne Company, an acclaimed snail supplier of wild Burgundy snails to some of the top restaurants in the country and world.

Rat's offers a seasonally changing, limited item menu, that uses organic produce when available.

Although some of the menu selections are pricey, the food at Rats Restaurant is well executed, artfully presented, and prepared using fresh ingredients.

The interior has five dining rooms adorned with original artwork, fireplaces, and a mixture of Old-World elegance and New World color. The interior dining rooms with 4-6 tables each, are beautifully curated and fancifully arranged, creating a feast for all the senses. In the cooler months there is a cozy, rustic fireplace to warm up to and enjoy a soothing cocktail.

Weather permitting, there is outdoor dining on several patios with views of a lily pond and bridge, and gardens with sculptures.

Prepare for an unrushed dining experience and don't miss a walk through the grounds. It's impressive.

Rats Restaurant is open four days/week four lunch and dinner on Thursday thru Sunday.

They are also open for winter holiday dining on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve & New Year's Day.

(Updated November 2021)

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