Off the Hook is hidden between bustling 30th Ave and up and coming Ditmars, in Astoria. Which means that, until it gets cold, you can sit outside without a whole lot of noise coming from any particular area. Inside feels very relaxed and snug. You’re separated off from the city enough to feel like you’re somewhere else and able to just let go. There’s a clear nautical feel, especially since the chef has drawn inspiration from various Caribbean cultures as well as some of the seafood of New England.
We started with a Flight of Rum (yes, that’s right. I said a flight of rum). Off the Hook specializes in a wide selections of rum from all over the world, and believe me, there’s a lot. With a wide variety of flavors and colors, too!!! This was paired with a selection of Oysters to match the rum, as well as cocktail sauce, and Off the Hook’s special mignonette. The oysters were fresh, and the rum fruity and spicy (I’ve never been a big rum drinker, so I was surprised at the variety of flavors!)
This was followed up by the Alligator Meatballs. I’ve had alligator before, so it’s not a foreign flavor, but most places make in blackened Cajun chunks, and don’t veer away from that. These take it to a different place, trying something new with a traditional flavor. The meatballs are on a homemade biscuit, with salted kale, and parmesan cheese on top.
The next dish was the Lobster Roll! I do love a good lobster roll. This one was a traditional lobster roll (i.e. chunks of warm lobster) but served with handmade lemon mayo and sprinkled with nutmeg. Honestly, I didn’t even register the nutmeg until I was told, and then, I realized, it works REALLY well. Like everything else, the potato chips are made in-house.
This was followed by Shrimp Mofongo. For those of you not in the know, mofongo is a Caribbean dish of fried, and then mashed, plantains. Sometimes served with egg or cheese or both. Anyway, this version is much more savory, with shrimp, dates, served with an aioli. It’s a pleasant change on something traditional, or something entirely new, depending on your experience with mofongo.
Lastly, while we’re talking about new takes on things, dessert was Baked Apples. Now, this usually invokes images of apples and cinnamon, but this was, again, different. The apples were baked in coconut milk, with cookie crumbs and served with vanilla ice cream.
The food at Off the Hook Raw Bar and Grill is fresh, and handmade. Even the mixers of the cocktails are handmade. For more information or to make a reservation, check out their webpage.