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Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar

/ Updated on May 30, 2014
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Rehoboth Beach headlines read, “Martini Tom is Back!” Tom Garvey does indeed reign supreme at his old haunt in Midway Shopping Center. The ghosts of Tutto Bene, Adriatico and Betty’s Pure & Simple have long since given way to Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar which Tom and long-time SoDelConcepts’/Casa DiLeo’s chef Christian Colgan have taken over. Though Matt Haley remains behind the scenes, the day-to-day ball is squarely in Tom and Christian’s court. In their first few months of operation, this was both a good and a not-so-good thing. The food was generally OK, if not somewhat inconsistent, and the service was, frankly, abysmal. Well, Hooked has apparently figured out what it wants to be when it grows up, and as of this writing, things are very much improved.

After a few re-visits (in as much of a disguise as I could muster), I am pleased to report that things — especially the service — have fallen nicely into place. In fact, on two of our visits, our interaction with our server Amanda was one of the highlights of my week. She’s a real pro. And recent emails from RF visitors have turned out to be correct: The food is consistently good. The star ratings have been changed to reflect the great improvement in this restaurant, and negative visitor comments that no longer apply have been deleted.

Enough chatter. Let’s get down to business.

You could make a meal out of the appetizers. The crab dip is served in a bread bowl that’s delightfully crispy on top, hot and savory with that magic combination of crab and cheese.

The Shrimp and Andouille Spring Rolls are attractively presented at the proper temperature. The kicker on that plate is a little cheddar and jalapeño grits cake. WOW! It is perfectly delicious. In fact, as good as the spring rolls are, the grits overshadow them. See if you can get it as a side with your main. You won’t be sorry.

My friend Andrew Thomas (bartender extraordinaire at Striper Bites) firmly instructed me to get the Honey Brie and Roasted Garlic appetizer. Given how skinny this guy is, I find it hard to trust him when it comes to food, but I took his advice and I’m better (and probably fatter) for it. The dish is one of the best brie presentations I’ve had here at the beach. A small wheel of the aromatic cheese is baked — not too soft, mind you — and topped with warm walnuts slathered in honey. A bulb of roasted garlic nestles up to the cheese, and each clove is dark and buttery. Try to get the cloves out whole — it’s really not hard with the little fork they provide. Seasonal fruit and crunchy little crostini accompany.

On one of our past visits, the server enthusiastically endorsed the Lobster Orzo appetizer. I asked for it as an entree. The creamy orzo with chunks of mushroom, lobster and smoked gouda was perfect — except for one thing: What is it with truffle oil? I have deleted (you can thank me now) my previous rant against truffle oil which is WAAAYYY overused. But obviously somebody sees something in the rancid-tasting stuff, and one of our truffle-oil gobbling guest foodies couldn’t get enough of that Orzo. Go figure.

If you like Oysters Rockefeller, you’ll love the four big ones at Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar. Asiago cheese and applewood smoked bacon are the winners on that plate. I also highly recommend the fried calamari. An adjacent table ordered two of these and they looked great. I could hear the crunch. Served simply with lemon mayo (on the side, thank you), it was light and crispy.

The Crab & Corn Chowder is loaded with goodies. Interestingly, the recent incarnation is thicker than the version we had last year. Not to the point of being floury, but it could certainly be a little less … substantial. You can order it in a cornbread bowl if you are really hungry. Bread bowl or not, it’s a must-get. Order it with a dash of sherry. It will thin it out a bit and add a slightly sweet edge in the process.

The Oyster Stew is light, creamy, but with nice body. There are two wonderful little kickers here: (1) Expertly restrained use of sherry, and (2) the surprising appearance of a large fried oyster. Even more interestingly, fried oysters appear nowhere else on the menu. They make it just for the stew. We had this dish last year, and apparently it’s still on the menu. If it is, get it! I hope it still has the happy little oyster.

The Crab Cakes have lots of chunky crabmeat with a tasty filler with a spicy kick that enhances the taste of the delicate meat. The cakes are well-sized for the $22 tariff. Beware: truffle oil lurks on the fries! Unless you like that burned, flowery aftertaste (here I go again…), ask them to spare you the truffle oil. They’ll happily do it.

On our last visit one of our favorite local hairburners ordered the hamburger — boring, I’ll admit, but a truly good measure of how a restaurant pays attention to the details. It looked great and tasted great. And that’s saying something, because this woman hates everything.

I had a little server-centered adventure on my first visit when ordering the Fish ‘n’ Chips. So I ordered them again on one of our recent visits and they were wonderful. Rather than cod, they use rockfish, and though I really liked the texture of the cod, the fish was perfectly fried to a nice crispy finish. The fries (sans that t-oil, thank you) weren’t really the traditional “chips,” but they tasted great. Order the Green Beans with the broccoli. The beans are brightly firm and plump. Bits of tomato, onions and a little garlic mix it up.

Two 7 oz. lobster tails are joined by those green beans and a baker on the Twin Tails entree. The tails have been consistently good over the last few visits, and the $29 ticket demands that one be picky. If they’re rubbery or mushy, send them back. But I suspect you won’t have to. The baked potato was hot and happily yielded to a few dips in the drawn (clarified) butter. I’d order it again in a minute.

There’s always at least one carnivore in the aquarium, and on our last visit, one of my trusted Foodies decided to try the Filet Mignon special. This particular preparation involved an absolutely delicious blend of blueberries and ginger, an interesting change from the almost equally good dijon/shitake glaze from the past.  I could order that blueberry/ginger concoction in a wine glass with a big ol’ bendy straw and be perfectly happy.

The steak was cooked perfectly to order.

In my earlier article, I was pleased that Martini Tom was drawing in the customers, and suggested that the restaurant needed a front-of-house manager. I am quite aware that neither Tom nor Christian were even remotely amused by my suggestion (we’ll leave it at that…), but interestingly, the dining room is now expertly managed, and Martini Tom can now do what he does best. Did they do it because of my advice? Probably not — I’m not that delusional. But it doesn’t matter. Hooked Seafood and Martini Bar is a better restaurant because of it. And it was an easy fix, wasn’t it guys?

Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar is located at 18585 Coastal Highway at the south end of the Midway Shopping Center. They open at 3:30, feature a happy hour from 4-6, and have a fun late-night menu until 1 a.m. (the martinis are indeed good. If Tom’s doin’ the watermelon-tini, get it).

They do take reservations (302) 827-4944.

Check out their website for entertainment schedules,etc.(D., Bar, Late night). Price range: Moderate +.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

18585 Coastal Highway
Midway Shopping Center
(302) 827-4944

Sunday
Open 3:30 - 9

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served
until closing
Monday
Open 3:30 - 9

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served until closing
Tuesday
Open 3:30 - 9

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served until closing
Wednesday
Open 3:30 - 9

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served until closing
Thursday
Open 3:30 - 9

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served until closing
Friday
Open 3:30 - 11

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served until closing
Saturday
Open 3:30 - 11

Happy Hour 4-6 with $5 rails/house wines and half-price apps

Full menu served until closing
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Nancy Genet says:

    The staff was not very warm or accommodating. This place does not have the class to go with their prices or service.

  2. Jim says:

    We were there Saturday night and the music was loud but very good. The service was not so good and when we found a discrepancy in the bill,the waiter came over and said “o I have to take that off” before we even said anything to him. Seemed very suspicious to us. Food was not very good at all for the price they are charging. I would go back just for a drink and listen to the singer not to eat.

  3. Bill - says:

    We had a very disappointing experience there. Had only been there once before for cocktails and really liked the place. So we made reservations to go there for dinner last Friday at 7:30 with two guests. When we arrrived there was live music being performed on the stage and it was good, but very very loud …. more like a nightclub than a restaurant. We had trouble even hearing the host as he seated us. We were seated in a booth, but could not even talk without raising our voices to be heard over the music. The waiter came over and had to lean down over the table in order to be heard and to hear. We mentioned the noise to the waiter, but he obviously had no control over it. So we figured that we would try to stick it out as we were really looking forward to trying the menu. We ordered dinner when our drinks arrived and tried to talk over our drinks. Well we couldn’t as we ended up yelling across the table to each other just to be heard. Finally we decided that this was not going to get any better so we called the waiter over and cancelled our dinners, paid for our drinks and left. We were very disappointed as the anticipated evening at Hooked was ruined. Now let me say that the entertainment was very good, but way too loud to enjoy especially over dinner. When you have music over dinner hour it should be background level not nightclub level. So we may go back at some point, but only if there is no entertainment scheduled as their menu did look very good.

  4. Ripley says:

    As one of a party of four, we were looking forward to dinner at Hooked. When we arrived we learned that the Dueling Pianos were on stage. The music was so loud we couldn’t have a conversation and it was hurting our ears. I asked if it couldn’t be toned down and the waiter thought that was amusing. I find the Dueling Pianos very entertaining but not at the expense of my hearing. We cancelled our appetizer and dinner orders and left the restaurant to go elsewhere.

  5. judy rodgers says:

    Being a local resident and having dined at Hooked [Seafood & Martini Bar] in past years I was very disappointed in our server and dining experience recently. The entire experience was one of which I care not to repeat due to a huge decline in management and presentation. My observation is: Unless improvements are made, Hook will be short lived.

  6. bj sewell says:

    Had dinner there. Pleasant server. Ordered salad to split–very inadequate in size; had to request extra dish, which should have been brought without a request. Nice places usually split for you. One person ordered crab cakes–good, at a decent price, with two sides. Ordered “jumbo shrimp” with pasta in pesto. Sauce very good. Five shrimp were far from jumbo, which means this is a lie on the menu, not exactly legitimate, since you are supposed to provide what you state on the menu. Would eat there again, but stick to the crab cakes.

  7. Ron Ladue says:

    We have made Hooked our neighborhood “Cheers”. Tom makes the best cocktails around. The food is generous and quite good – almost great ! More importantly, it is CONSISTENTLY GOOD and that is something many local restaurants find difficult to achieve. My personal favorite is the seafood stew, but there are many other tempting entrees as well as some very imaginative specials. Hard to go wrong here and we tell everyone we know. Hopefully they won’t choose our favorite spot however. We love the unique bar with the sit-down stuffed chairs

  8. karen says:

    We went to this restaurant Sept. 14 after reading your review. We pulled up to the strip center and it did not look like much. Since it was for our 29th anniversary I was crossing my fingers. This place delivered!! My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. The waitress was so down to earth and attentive even though it was crazy busy. It was a little loud with the entertainment, but we were ok with that and had a great time.. We were going to skip dessert but the waitress told us to try the salted caramel pie…oh my God!! That was the best dessert ever!! We will definitely return to this restaurant.

  9. The Foodie says:

    I’ve been back several times and have posted a new review with new ratings as of late summer 2013. I hope Hooked keeps up the good work.

  10. The Foodie says:

    Yup. A new review has been posted as of late summer 2013. Enjoy.

  11. Wayne says:

    We’ve eaten here four times in the past year. Food is good, service is friendly and timeliness is improving, cocktails are slow but well-made. The restaurant is very loud however. When there is live music and a lively bar crowd, the noise is overwhelming.

  12. Charlie &Cheryl says:

    Great place we can not say enough about it. Our vists all have been great.

  13. Lynne Hooker says:

    I have been there a number of times in the last six months. The food is excellent. The wait time is reasonable and service is friendly and courteous. It looks like they took your advice and hired a manager. Maybe you should pay them another visit. I especially like the burgers with marscapone cheese and grilled onions.

  14. Trish I says:

    I have been to Hooked about three times. We had the crab cakes, soft shell crabs and fish and chips. All were excellent! Our service was great, and we did not have to wait for anything. It is nice to have a reasonably priced restaurant where the food is so good! The atmosphere is very welcoming with comfortable booths and great local photos. We will definitely be back!

  15. Charlie in Rehoboth says:

    I have dined at Hooked several times since it opened. The food is excellent. The servers are courteous and welcoming. I think there were many opening week glitches with some of the servers. It is important to be attentive to the customers. I was there the other night and the service has gotten much better. I do recommend that you try this new restaurant.

  16. Ellen in Rehoboth says:

    I read all the comments about this place and have to admit that it put me off from trying it. Last night, we decided to give it a try before the movie as we liked Betty’s and dined their frequently before and after going to the movies.
    Our experience was really a good one. The service was excellent; the food came at a completely acceptable pace; Martini Tom took the time to leave the bar and come over to us to chat and the food was very good. I hope people will try the place again as we just love the combo of dinner and a show!

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