UNDefined - patio dining in downton [Hamilton]

Recently tried this place as Hamilton was the halfway point between us and where our relatives were staying as they passed through the area. King William St. appears to be a nice strip of restaurants, all with patios. The food was good, though it needed some fine tuning. Service was friendly and capable.
Cocktails had a nice mix of flavours:

  • Black and Blue Mule - Vodka, Crème de Cassis, Smashed Blackberries, Ginger Beer, lime - yummy although could have been better mixed.
  • Mezcal Old Fashioned - Sombra Joven Mezcal, Agave, Mole bitters, canella - very good
  • Race Against Time - Black barrel aged tequila, pineapple juice, tepache shrub - the best part was they froze two chili peppers (one green, one red) into an ice cube, so as it melted it got quite spicy.
  • Redefined Sangria - Aviation American Gin, Red Wine, Muddled Berries, Orange & Pineapple Juice, Cane Syrup - very fun, not too sweet

The deep fried appetizers were some of the better items on the menu:

  • Crusted Calamari and Shishitos - cornmeal dusted calamari, old bay spices, blistered shishitos, puttanesca aioli, grilled lemon - pretty good though the calamari was slightly overdone, and the coating fell off

  • Fried Watermelon - sambal oelek rub, pickled watermelon rind, mint salad, baby shoots - quite good - mix of sweet, sour, herbal, and some umami

  • White Truffle and Mushroom Arancini - crispy arborio risotto, foraged mushrooms, stringy mozzarella, basil pesto (sauce), parmigiano (shaved over) - crispy (good frying), tasty

  • Korean Fried Cauliflower - light tempura, sticky Gojuchang, toasted sesames, green ginger dip, scallions - all-around favourite, juicy cauliflower and great flavours

  • Crispy Artichokes - baby artichoke hearts, lemon garlic aioli, pecorino, herbs - lovely and creamy (not breaded)

Mains were OK in terms of flavours, but needed some finessing in execution:

  • Coffee and Ancho short rib - boneless Angus short rib, 48-hour sous vide, coffee and anchos barbacoa, celeriac purée, heirloom roots, chermoula, all day reduction - despite the 48-hour sous vide, the meat could have been softer and more supple; salting was uneven.

  • Pancetta and Asparagus “Carbonara” - cured belly, green asparagus, semolina bucatini, melted leeks, pecorino, 63 degree egg - good overall - the poached egg and asparagus and bacon were lovely, but the dish needed a touch more salt and the pasta was overdone.

  • When Life Gives You Lemons - lemon curd tart, vanilla anglaise, wild blueberry coulis (actually more of a compote), lemon gelato, crunchy meringue (pieces), Sicilian pistachios - OK but the tart itself was on the too-hard side, not custardy

One interesting aspect was the interaction between some of the local homeless people and the restaurants. After one table departed, an individual who was waiting in the wings plopped down to polish off the leftovers. Another man had a passerby order a burger for him and he was subsequently seated on the patio to eat his meal. A third man started chatting with a well-groomed couple and was evidently invited to join them for dinner as the wait staff brought a chair and he settled in with them.