You might have read my initial review of Hook back in July when the restaurant first opened. If you did, and listened to my advice and gave it a try, then you' understand why I say that it's quickly becoming my favorite seafood restaurant in DC. Just about every time I've been to Hook, the menu is a little different, which means you can come back time and time again and never get bored. One of the reasons for this is that they maintain a menu of sustainable fish and seasonal, locally-produced ingredients, which at other restaurants can translate to inconsistent dining experiences, but at Hook, it's just the opposite. Hook is very consistent.
I've been to Hook a couple times in the last month, and both times, my meals were very impressive. The fish always comes out out perfectly cooked. The server doesn't ask how you want the fish cooked, it just comes out the way it should be cooked depending on the cut of meat. A sablefish (or black cod) is left a little rare so to not cook away all the oil in the fish that gives it its aroma and flavor, yet it's not served with a typical Asian inspired soy marinade. Instead, the fish is served with a cranberry-red wine sauce, braised chanterelle mushrooms, and smoked lentils, a nice combination of flavors that I would never dream of.
Any wood-grilled fish is worth ordering. Last time, I had the mahi mahi, and the time before that, the wahoo. Both came with ingredients that complimented the flavors of the fish, but don't hide the flavor of the fish. In the case of the mahi mahi, it came with a delicate squash risotto and with the wahoo came a salty squash and shell bean ragout.
But I jumped to the entrees too quickly and failed to mention the appetizers. The first section on the menu is called "Crudo". Each crudo comes with three slices of a certain king of raw fish, each slice is topped with a different light topping, and cost about $8 or $9. Some have criticized the size of these starters calling them little postage stamps of fish, and I've had similar criticisms, but on my last visit, they had an oyster crudo. I thought the oyster crudo was a pretty good value considering they were Stellar Bay oysters.
There's usually at least one soup menu and I've ordered it every time because they've just sounded so damn good. Recently, I had both chestnut soup with raw oyster and apple and roasted beet soup with yogurt. Both soups weren't overly creamy, but had just the right silky thickness in the broth and the flavors were subtle. Other than soups on a recent trip, I also had a delicious steel head trout tartar with just the right amount of mayo mixed with blood orange, red onion, and macadamia nuts. But, the reality is that there are so many dishes that sound amazing on the menu, that it's extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to a single appetizer and entree.
For desserts, you really can't go wrong. Heather Chittum is easily the best dessert chef in DC in my opinion. I was first introduced to her creations 4 years ago at Circle Bistro. Her heavenly Madelines with lavender honey were love at first bite. Now at Hook, she's coming up with her own version of moon pies and gingerbread which require no elaborate description except to say that either of these desserts are a perfect way to end a meal.
3241 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007
See web site.
Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: There is no valet parking. I repeat, there is no valet parking despite what you may read elsewhere. Parking is not simple in Georgetown. If you can't find a spot on the street, just park in the Georgetown Mall lot across the street.
Smoking: Not Allowed.
Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom
Reservations: Taken and recommended.
Baby-Child friendly rating: 1 diaper. I wish I could give it more but the atmosphere just isn't appropriate for a child.
Amy's Bathroom Rating: Very clean and kept up well. Of course the restaurant is still pretty new that that's expected.