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Feb 21, 2014 05:01 PM

Rapscallion Restaurant in Hamilton: happy carnivore haven

I'm breaking my self-imposed board banishment because I wanted to draw a bit of attention to this deserving little spot in Hamilton.

Rapscallion started out as a bit of an experiment by the owners. They wanted to open the type of restaurant they thought was missing in Hamilton — a fun and funky casual boite with chef-driven focus on all thing carnivorous. They started out by being only open on Saturdays, and quickly became successful enough to open full time.

A few of us local to the area had a chowmeet at Rapscallion a couple of weeks ago. When we arrived, we agreed to let the chef feed us. We didn't set a price point or number of courses.

We ordered a couple of bottles of wine for the table and proceeded to consume a parade of meaty goodness. In order, we had:

- local charcuterie plate with housemade pickles
- local cheese plate
- deboned chicken wings stuffed with bacon and pork sausage over blue cheese mashed potatoes
- pork belly tacos (each taco had a serious slab of delicious pork)
- duck burger with fried zucchini sticks
- thai red curry shrimp
- "Lipitor pie" -- duck confit topped with potatoes and hollandaise sauce
- beef tartare two ways
- housemade chocolate bar
- croissant bread pudding

I found everything ranged from very good to excellent, with my favourite being the amazing duck burger. The only fail for me was the fried zucchini. But hey, vegetables are clearly not their focus.

With VERY generous portions for each dish, plus 3 (maybe 4?) bottles of wine for the table, our total per person was $90 all in. I thought it was a good value for the quantity and quality of the food we had (plus a fair bit of wine).

So if you ever find yourself in Hamilton looking for a great local joint, wander on over to Rapscallion. It's casual, satisfying and quite delicious. The owners recently opened Two Black Sheep, an oyster bar just around the corner.

It was great to meet ylsf and hungryjoanne (and Mr. hj) in person, and to see cynalan and the missus again.

Some pics of our dishes.

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    1. Great post Jo-Anne, glad to see you back on CH. Cynthia and I really enjoyed the evening. Thanks for arranging it.

      I fully agree with and support your review. What a great idea to give the chef free reign for the meal. I also loved the duck burger but my personal fave was the Lipitor Pie. I'm a sucker for really good duck.

      Great to see you again. Let's not wait so long next time. A big hello to my fellow diners as well.

      1. Great post, Jo-Anne - we really enjoyed both the food and company!

        I'll add to your comments about Two Black Sheep - they've got "buck a shuck" oysters Monday through Friday, 4-6 pm. Mr. hj went last week and is still raving about them. A good excuse to check them out!

        1. ...hmmm...based on our experiences I suspect that you guys got a sweetheart deal from chef matt and his team. My wife and I were there last year and we were over $200.00 splitting a bottle of wine with fewer items then you ordered and found the portions modest at best.

          We love the concept and the taste, we love the audacity of a full on meat assault in these veggie times, but in all honesty, our experience ordering anonymously off the menu like an average diner was very different then yours was. Hopefully, yours is now the norm...

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefmikebenninger

            I honestly don't know how the pricing was done. When I say generous portions, I meant that we each had a healthy portion of each dish, though certainly not as much had we ordered that dish off the menu (e.g., we had one chicken wing each, one taco each). But since we had 8 main dishes, I wouldn't expect full portions. The beef tartare was an add on request at the end, and we only ordered one plate. We were stuffed by then and didn't want much dessert, so we only got one of each dessert just so we could all have a taste.

            I'll definitely be going back on my own sometime so I'll be able to see what ordering a la carte is like.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              And I don't know if this helps to put the quantities in context, if you look at the pictures as a reference, for a party of 8, we had:

              - 2 charcuterie boards
              - 1 small cheese board (not pictured)
              - 1 chicken wing per person
              - 1 taco per person
              - 1 burger (slider sized) per person
              - 2 bowls of shrimp curry
              - 2 crocks of the Lipitor pie
              - 1 plate of beef tartare
              - 1 bread pudding
              - 1 chocolate bar

          2. It's been awhile since we were there, but I know we had a charcuterie board, some type of tacos dish, something with bone marrow, something about "hot tongue and shoulder" and at least 1 more.

            Again, to be clear, we loved the idea, but we found the portions to be tiny for the $$$ asked. But since they are still in business and even expanding, either we got them on bad night or our expectations were off.