A First Look at Hooked, Marblehead’s Newest Seafood Eatery

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Hooked, Marblehead, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

When I visited Ben Rhodes and Rafe Hershfield back in May to find out about their new venture, Hooked Seafood and Grill, they explained their theory for the new eatery.

Similar to the fast-casual concept that’s all the rage, Hooked is a combination of restaurant and take-out, where the quality is better than fast food and less expensive than a sit-down restaurant. Like a standard clam shack, diners order at a counter and bus their own tables, but the meals are served on china by waitstaff, and beer and wine is available.

This Sunday it was too hot to cook, so we headed over to test the theory and the food. Apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea. The restaurant, which opened last weekend, was packed. All the tables were filled, and people were waiting in line for takeout. Luckily, we were able to snag a spot after a minute or two.

The space has been totally renovated and looks terrific, especially if you remember the erstwhile Super Sub. Hooked’s menu offers quite bit to choose from, including both grilled and fried seafood entrees. We placed our order at the counter, paid, and were given a number, and when our food was up, a waitress brought it to the table.

The daily special, a Long Island striped bass roasted with lemon and herbs, was terrific—moist and delicious ($11). The fried haddock plate offered quite a generous portion of both fish and onion rings that tasted fresh and weren’t greasy ($11). The grilled swordfish kabob was tasty, if a bit overcooked ($10); the breading on the fried shrimp was just a tad heavier than I generally like, but shrimp were large and flavorful ($15). The junior member of our party ordered a cheeseburger from the 1st Mate menu ($4.50 with a drink and fries), which received a double thumbs up.

Of the sides we ordered, the onion rings were the best; savory, thin and crunchy. The cole slaw tasted freshly made and although a bit heavy on the mayo had a nice zing from caraway seeds. The fries seemed to be lightly coated, but were tasty and crisp and disappeared from the table in a flash.

It’s clear Hooked is still refining it’s work flow, but it’s early days, and the staff were all friendly and helpful, so no doubt they’ll find their groove. The take-out business seemed to be booming, and in the small space customers waiting for their orders blocked the door and counter area. We found ourselves wondering if they could install a take-out window on the driveway side to alleviate the congestion.

We plan to return once the crowds abate a bit and look forward to trying their rendition of two of the most hotly debated summer foods on the North Shore: lobster rolls and fried clams.

Hooked Seafood & Grill
114 Pleasant St., Marblehead

Hooked Seafood & Grill on Urbanspoon


10 Comments on “A First Look at Hooked, Marblehead’s Newest Seafood Eatery”

  1. #1 Louise said at 3:12 pm on July 14th, 2010:

    Love this place, it’s exactly what Marblehead needed. Great food – fun, nice, social atmosphere – friendly service – excellent prices. Two thumbs up, I’d give three if I could!!

  2. #2 Emily said at 6:01 pm on July 14th, 2010:

    One word: Outstanding!

  3. #3 compost lady said at 1:45 pm on July 24th, 2010:

    I ordered the fish taco last night. It was disapointing. There were 3 cold round cold tacos mostly empty with a couple of scraps of cold fried fish. There was no seasoning, no sauce, no sour cream, hardly any cheese. Someone teach them how to make tacos please! I did try my friend’s fried fish, this was better, but nothing amazing. The french fries were pretty boring and regular. Then, although the restaurant was busy it wasn’t crazy busy and i was told to wait a half an hour to get my meal. The staff, while polite seemed very lacksidaisical. I wouldn’t go back.

  4. #4 KN said at 3:41 pm on July 24th, 2010:

    Interesting! I’m sorry to hear you had such a negative experience, but thank you for sharing it with us. Makes you wonder if they are having staffing issues. We’ll have to stop in again and check it out.

  5. #5 MHDer said at 7:31 pm on July 25th, 2010:

    Repeat customer, loved the jumbo lobster roll. Never been disappointed. Certain times can be busy though with lines out the door which can cause for a wait, but I guess a busy restaurant is a good sign?

  6. #6 rICK said at 2:03 am on August 8th, 2010:

    Been there a few times now, and always a great portion for the price. Fried Haddock plate ($11!) was an enormous piece of fish, came with cole slaw, fries and onion rings and was delicious. Soup is delicious, service is great and friendly.
    Have gone with friends and no one has had a bad meal yet.

  7. #7 Recent Customer said at 11:33 am on August 12th, 2010:

    Ate at Hooked last night for the 1st time. It did not live up to expectations. The food was quite bland and the environment was decidely low energy (. The fried calamari came with the weakest tomato sauce that seemed to come straight from a can. The fries had no flavor. My wife had the baked scallops, which were passable. The onion rings, while thin, were not overly crunchy or flavorful. It just seemed like somebody forgot to add seasoning of any kind. The decor is much nicer than SuperSub but it didn’t feel very diner-friendly … if they configured things a little differently, they could have had booths. Instead, it comes off as a lower end cafeteria feel. Overall, I’d give a C. With so many good options in Marblehead and the surrounding area (a marked improvement from 3-5 years ago), we’d be hard pressed to return any time soon.

  8. #8 Liz said at 8:05 pm on August 14th, 2010:

    Disappointed. Amateur hour. Waited for our dinners. People who came in after got served before us. Haddock takes to long to cook says the staff. Took it home to eat. It was dry as a bone. Did not like the idea of cleaning my own table for these prices. The place down the street has no worries.

  9. #9 Family Dinner said at 1:22 pm on August 16th, 2010:

    Had dinner last night with 6 people. We ordered several plates and all shared them. The fish and chips was huge and was fried in beer batter( which I love). The clam pint was large and cooked perfect(wish they were cheaper I would order every day!). We also got the jumbo lobster roll which was the biggest thing I have ever seen!!! Hardly any mayo and whole claw meat buried the roll. We got a baby spinach salad with grilled shrimp wich was good as well as a fried scallop plate and a fried haddock plate. All good sized portions and it looks like they actually change their fryer oil. We had 2 bottles of wine and the guys had a few pitchers of beer. Overall I would give it an A- they need some pictures etc. on the wall!!! Plus not having to leave a tip was a huge bonus for our large group. We will definately be back!!!

  10. #10 SalemEater said at 2:26 pm on September 2nd, 2010:

    Best Haddock Sandwich Ever, Great Onion Rings!

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