Let’s Eat: Rats, Hamilton, NJ

My last post was about visiting Grounds for Sculpture. Located on the beautiful grounds is Rats restaurant.

You might remember that I love going out to eat. Period. I also love visiting places that are owned by chefs I’ve seen on TV. The winner of Top Chef, DC was Kevin Sbraga who was the chef at Rats. Since he’s won, he opened is own place called Sbraga located in downtown Philadelphia.

Even though he was no longer there, I thought it would still be fantastic. Before I tell you what I thought, I should tell you about the name. Rats is just not the best name for a restaurant, don’t you agree? It doesn’t bring to mind thoughts of a clean, rodent-free place to eat, at least in my mind.

But…it’s actually named after the character, Ratty from The Wind in the Willows. Seward Johnson, founder of Rat’s and Grounds For Sculpture, thought he threw the best parties with the best wine, just like Ratty. Totally cool, right? Much better than dirty rodents in the kitchen!

So, what did I think of the place? I did not like it.

Ouch. Sorry.

The decor and atmosphere were cool. The outside front of the place looks like a French village. The back of the restaurant looks out onto a pond and sculptures, which is totally cool.

The food though, was just not good.

I got the mussels in a white sauce. They were okay. The flavor just wasn’t good and some of them had beards, which I hate. My daughter got a grilled cheese from the kids menu. She wasn’t eating it and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I tasted it. I’m not sure what kind of cheese they used but it wasn’t American or Cheddar. That’s fine for a grown up sandwich (I guess) but this was from the kid’s menu.

And it was expensive. Normally, I don’t talk about costs. Everyone has different levels of what they think is worth spending money. What I think is expensive you and a total waste of money, you might think is on target. But, I think without a doubt, we would agree this place is expensive.

Here’s what I loved:

  • nothing, really 😦

Here’s what I liked:

  • the atmosphere
  • the service
  • the bathrooms

Here’s what I didn’t love:

  • the food
  • the price for not very good food

Have you eaten at Rats?
What did you think?


Grounds for Sculpture IS for ALL ages

Have you heard of Grounds for Sculpture? It’s one of my in-laws favorite places to take people from out-of-town. We’re not from out-of-town so they hadn’t asked us…

I’m kidding, of course! They had asked us to go a number of times but it never fit into our schedule…until now! We planned to meet them there and arrived within minutes of each other, which is a fantastic omen of a good trip!

Grounds for Sculpture is exactly what it sounds like it is, a huge area filled with all different sculptures. I was concerned taking my daughter there. She only just turned four and I wasn’t sure she was going to appreciate the artistic endeavor of sculpture.

Guess what? I underestimated her artistic eye. She had a great time. We all did.

There is so much to see there (see the eyes of the sculptures between the trees?).

Leah loved these dancer sculptures.

But, these indoor sculptures were her favorites!

If you go, be sure to check throughout the trees. There are tons of hidden sculptures. And things that look real but aren’t (hint: the whole table scape below if a sculpture).

My favorite area was the water gardens.

And here’s my favorite sculpture. I don’t know why I like it so much. Maybe its simplicity? What do you think?

And, here’s my favorite picture of the day!

Just had to throw that one in 🙂

Have you been to Grounds for Sculpture?
What did you think?