Any time I am planning a trip, my first move is to usually open my favorite app, Yelp, on my phone. Because, let’s face it, what is any type of vacation without a detailed food itinerary? So, when my mom, my sister and I decided to take a long weekend to Bethany Beach, Delaware, I started my homework. My “Restaurants near Bethany Beach, DE” search led me to a somewhat expected list of all of the usual stops we have been countless times before (my family used to vacation here yearly): pizza, subs, and like 20 Candy Kitchens. But, at the top of the list, was a name I did not recognize : Off The Hook. The 4.5 stars from 119 reviews piqued my interest, and I began scrolling through the pics of delicious looking, quality seafood dishes. Their restaurant tagline? “Fresh – Honest – Local.” SOLD!!!
We were staying in Fenwick, which is next to Bethany.. and.. to my surprise and delight.. our hotel was DIRECTLY across the street from Just Hooked, Off The Hook’s sister restaurant. I googled their menu – almost identical to Off The Hook – and quickly decided this would be our Saturday night out. But, in a moment of slight disappointment/mild panic, I found that Just Hooked did not take reservations. If anyone has taken a vaca to any Maryland/Delaware beaches, you know restaurant waits can be like, a million hours long. The reviews also said that the place is small.. and wait times can be hefty.. so my strategy became GET THERE WHEN IT OPENS, OBVI. Cause who want to waste precious vacation time waiting in a parking lot for dinner? NOT THIS GIRL. So we literally got there at 4:30 when the doors opened. WHAT A GREAT DECISION OMG. Bon Iver (my favorite) played as we settled into our bright and comfortable window seat and prepared for what would be a meal to remember. Let me start with the drink…
As I’ve gotten older, my tolerance for sugary, sweet drinks has become like, zero. And after a long day in the sun and surf, I was craving something refreshing and, well, strong. Literally every cocktail sounded like it would fit this description, but I settled on The Bees Knees: Vermont Gin, honey simple syrup and lemon. AKA the most perfect delicious not-too-sweet drink of my life. I thought I would end up ordering a glass of white wine with dinner, but I loved this so much I had two.
Next were the salads. The appetizers section of the menu sounded equally amazing – but we just couldn’t pass up their list of unique salad offerings. I chose the Raw Truffled Asparagus ($8). Holy. Cow. This salad was a delicious mix of chopped, raw asparagus, egg, red onion, salty bacon and truffle aioli, all resting on a fresh, crunchy bed of bib lettuce. And thanks to my efforts of warding off my mom and sister from stealing my bites, I finished every.morsel.
Then, after many visits from our AMAZING, perfectly helpful waiter asking us if we had decided on our main courses, I chose the Seared Scallops ($24). Best decision of my life. Dramatic? Maybe. But it’s how I feel.
This dish was made up of the most perfectly seared, sweet scallops, cheesy grits, grilled corn and roasted poblano, and applewood bacon broth. Ahhhh I can taste it now. When the dish was placed in front of me, I was overcome with the smoky, tantalizing aroma of the bacon broth. And literally every bite was perfect. The sweet, cuts-like-butter scallops were complimented by the salty bacon, which was complimented by the rich, cheesy grits, which were complimented by THE BACON BROTH. BACON. BROTH.. which was complimented by the sweet, slightly spicy bite of the corn and poblanos. It was so perfectly balanced. And there was alot of it! I’m always hesitant to order scallops because of typically small portions – but this dish size was just right. When people ask me the annoyingly difficult question “what would your last meal be?” I’m usually like, “shut up I don’t know why would I be able to answer that?” Well – I think this might be it.
2.5 hours later, my mom, my sister and I left Just Hooked absolutely satisfied and so happy. I really can’t wait to make another trip to Bethany to visit this place again.
Overall Experience: 5
A few nuggets of advice:
- Like I said, no resies. Any time we drove past after around 6/7, there were people waiting outside. Get there early, or prepare to wait, but whatever you do – GET THERE!
- There are 3 locations: Off The Hook (Bethany Beach) – Just Hooked (Fenwick) – Hooked (Ocean City) Their websites are all different, but the menus appear to be the same. Just pick the most convenient!
- Don’t let the unassuming strip mall location fool you – this place is cozy and cheerful.
- Get the scallops. At least one person in your party. Our waiter told us it was their best seller – and it definitely is for a reason.
- Please order a cocktail here. You can get wine anywhere!! Don’t pass up the amazing quality of their house drinks.
I truly loved Just Hooked. Their service, quality of ingredients, and overall experience left me wanting more. Please go if you are ever in the area! Or, just book a vaca =).
1500 Coastal Highway
Fenwick Island, Delaware 19944