Restaurant Review: Hooked

Besides posting recipes and sharing my cooking experiences, I also want to incorporate restaurant reviews in my blog. To kick it off, I’m sharing my thoughts on a relatively new restaurant – Hooked.

This past weekend was my first time ever visiting Ocean City, MD. Yes, I said it. At the age of 25 I made my first trip to Ocean City. Remember folks, I grew up in Pennsylvania. I’ve only lived in Maryland for about three years.

Matt’s parents rented a condo in Ocean City and it was fantastic. Matt, our friend, Grif, and I headed up for a three day weekend. Matt’s sister was there as well. It was very hot out last weekend but we kept cool in the pool and ocean. Sunday was the last day there for the three of us so before heading home we all went to dinner. We decided to try Hooked since it was new.

Location: The restaurant is located right on 80th Street so it’s easy to get to.

Outside Appearance:  When first walking to the entrance you go by a small outside bar and some outside seating. I thought this was a great idea.

Inside Appearance: The restaurant has downstairs and upstairs seating. We sat on the second floor. We sat inside, but there was some seating on a small deck outside. The décor is simple but well-done. As in many restaurants in Ocean City, it pertains to the beach/ocean. It’s well lit which I like. It’s not very enjoyable when you have a heard time reading your menu. I liked the wood ceilings the best.

Atmosphere: Hooked has a great casual vibe. It’s not an upscale restaurant yet it’s not so casual you feel like you’re going to your local Applebee’s. The tables are spaced far enough apart so you don’t feel like you’re right next to other diners.

Wait Staff: Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. When we asked he gave a little background on the restaurant and how it had opened right after Memorial Day weekend. He was very knowledgeable about the food as well and provided suggestions when we asked.

Now for the important part – the food. (I will tell you that I did not take any photos of our dishes. Future reviews will include photos.)

Food: The menu was fairly diverse. As expected, there were many seafood options. Our choices:

Appetizers

  • Buttermilk battered calamari with spicy mayo and micro celery
  • Hooked up crab dip – gruyere mornay, bacon, leeks, Old Bay chips
  • Grilled tuna pinchos – marinated tuna, house kim-chi, sesame peanut sauce

Entrées

  • Sweet herb encrusted tuna – zucchini and yellow squash ribbons, garlic confit, arugula, lemon aioli, gazpacho
  • Seared scallops – braised bacon, grilled corn n’ roasted poblanos, applewood broth, grits
  • Roasted salmon – local patty pan, shallots, sage, bacon, arugula, crispy leeks, cherry tomato vinaigrette
  • Local crab cake – asparagus, sweet corn n’ pea tendril salad, classic remoulade

My favorite appetizers were the calamari and crab dip. The calamari reminded me of Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp. The crab dip had good-sized pieces of crab in it and was nice and creamy.

I had the tuna and really liked it. I was pleasantly surprised by how large the pieces of tuna were. It was cooked just right, with a nice sear on the outside. The vegetables and gazpacho made the dish fresh and summery. I definitely ate every bite of my dish.

I also had a few bites of the scallops and crab cake. I absolutely love scallops. I frequently get them if they’re on the menu when Matt and I go out to dinner. Lately, I’ve been trying to branch out a little and select something besides scallops, hence why I chose the tuna. The scallops were cooked perfectly and meshed well with the bacon and grits. The crab cakes were fantastic as well. Two come with the dish. As expected for the area, they tasted fresh, contained large pieces of crab, and had no filler.

Everyone enjoyed their meals. I would definitely recommend Hooked to anyone going to Ocean City. I hope the restaurant succeeds and can become another great part of Ocean City.

OC

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