Kobe beef is king at Hampton’s

by Charles Womack

Nestled just off the courtyard in the back of the historic JH Adams Inn on Main Street in High Point, is an intimate 28-seat restaurant called Hampton’s.

Opened for more than two years, the Inn’s in-house restaurant has delighted diners with exquisite menu items such grilled Atlantic salmon, seared jumbo scallops and grilled rosemary shrimp. Their seasonal menu features fresh fish, and fruits and vegetables that are all grown locally.

Within 24 hours of my wife mentioning she had seen a Kobe beef burger on the menu when she dined at Hampton’s the day before, I was there with the burger in my mouth and my wife in my appreciative eyes. It’s not a secret around the office that I love good food and if I ever had to find another profession it would be cooking or professional eating. I love the Food Network and if Adam Richman, star of “Man vs Food,” ever retires… I’m there.

The Food Network was where I first learned more about Kobe Beef, which refers to beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle. It is raised according to strict tradition and is renowned for its tenderness, flavor and fatty, well-marbled texture.

I saw vintage footage of cattle being forced to drink large amounts of beer while being given full body massages. According to popular belief, the lack of stress is the secret of the meat and why it is so delicious. I have been anxious to try some ever since I saw the show.

We placed our order — which included an appetizer of sesame tuna tartare that was paired with seaweed salad, avocado, cucumber and ginger — and our entr’es, the grilled 8 oz Kobe burger with white cheddar, mushrooms, grilled onions, bacon, lettuce and tomato, and one of the specials of the day, a rock shrimp po’ boy sandwich. Then we anxiously waited.

The beautifully prepared appetizer arrived in moments and was proudly presented by our waiter in the center of the table. It was accompanied with hot, salted edamame beans. My wife and I made short time in emptying the service, finishing up the last of the wasabi cream sauce with our fingers and looking towards the kitchen door in anticipation of our entr’e’s arrival.

As our waiter placed the entr’es on our table, I slowly turned my plate to reveal a beautiful tapestry of colors — green lettuce, a small slice of red pepper crossing a light-green pickle, orange sweet-potato fries and a fascinating flash of color from a delicate pink flower, a combo which made me pause for a few seconds to appreciate the artwork of the presentation.

I started on the sweet-potato fries and was more than delighted to find they came with sweet maple dipping sauce. I was more than halfway through my fries on an auto-pilot mode of completion when my wife asked how my burger was. Her comment pulled me out of my sweet-potato haze and made me halt my attack.

“Oh,” I said. “Yeah.” And I grabbed the burger with both hands and raised it to my mouth. As I chomped down, I gave her a look that she knows too well and she gave me a slight knod and smile. She knew it was good and that I liked it.

Juicy, warm, the crackle of bacon and lettuce. My mouth was happy.

As far as being able to tell a difference in Kobe beef, Angus beef and whatever beef, I’m not sure. All I can tell you is that this burger, paired with the fries, was delicious and worth every penny.

wanna go?

Hampton’s 1108 N. Main St. High Point