Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Ship: Hamilton, Ontario

Here’s a post that has been a long time coming. It’s about one of my favorite places, a place I have had a love-hate relationship with, but which I decidedly can’t live without. The SHIP. Have you been? It’s the best “pub food” in town, though I only say that because it is a pub. The food, is in fact, much more than that. Since I happen to go there at least once a week month… this post is geared more so towards giving you an overview of the Ship and at least 7 reasons why you should go.
Brunch Latkes
The Ship has been a go-to spot on the Augusta strip in Hamilton for quite some time now. If you try to get in on a weekend after 5 pm, odds are you won’t find a seat. But, if you get there a bit earlier, say maybe on a Wednesday, you will have the opportunity to try an incredibly unique, inspired and game-changing menu. 

Lobster Fritter
I have eaten at the Ship many times and really enjoy all of their menus. Their main dinner menu is seafood and burger themed. They have incredible appetizers (my favorite being the clam chowder poutine – yes, this is a thing and it is life changing), fish tacos, po’boys and everything in between. They also serve gourmet burgers, which are no less impressive and arguably the best in the City. The Halifax (with diced tomato, diced white onion, shredded cheddar, shredded lettuce and donair sauce) and the French Onion (with gruyere, caramelized onions and mushrooms, bacon) are my personal go-to burger options. Their recently launched brunch menu has incredible items like latkes with sausage, eggs and apple sauce, breakfast pogos and breakfast poutine (are you noticing a theme yet?). What is perhaps their most impressive menu, however, is their draft beer list. They are constantly rotating over 10 taps of pure craft deliciousness. The owner goes out of his way to make sure to get those 
Brunch n' Beer
hard-to-find one-off kegs (like Oast House’s most recent Strawberry Rhubarb creation) always ensuring a good variety is available for thirsty customers.

While I will say that the food at the Ship would appeal to most, the pub itself may not. On most nights, there are just too many people in one small space to really ever be comfortable (or at least, that is what grown-up Me thinks). But, hey, if you wanted proof of how great this place is, there it is. 

The nachos. The Ship has the world’s (as far as I can tell) best nachos.  I’m talkin’ pineapple and bacon piled high on a plate of perfectly crisp and cheesy nachos. Downside:  they are listed exclusively on their late-night menu, meaning you can only ever get them post-9 pm and due to the small size of their kitchen, they will not serve them before 9 (believe me, I have tried to get them on multiple occasions). They recently completed some renovations, however, to their bar, stairs and upstairs lounge, which have really helped to make the space feel cleaner, bigger and quite frankly, more grown up. The crowd has been evolving over the years from one that is strictly hipster to just about anyone who likes good food. I have seen sports teams, gym bums, moms and their sons, totally tatted couples and everyone in between walk in – it’s just that good. 

The Ship remains one of my ultimate favorite places to grab a bite in the City, which is a testament to the quality and originality of the food. The Chef is using fresh items and putting a creative and unique twist on everything he makes and this skill does not go unnoticed. I highly recommend checking them out and having a pint.

One of many amazing burgs (photo cred: The Ship)