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Spotlight: Scott Joseph Reviews Hook & Reel

Crabmeat fries photo courtesy of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide
Crabmeat fries photo courtesy of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide

This review is abridged for broadcast. Find the full version of the review at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide on this page.

Hook & Reel has set up shop on the west side of town. It’s from a restaurant company that started in Lanham, Maryland, but is now based out of Flushing, N.Y. Any restaurant based in a place called Flushing is just asking for it if it doesn’t serve good food.

Luckily, H&R does serve good food – seafood, in case you hadn’t already deduced – in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

The menu is Louisiana accented. In fact, the sign out front declares “Cajun Seafood & Bar.”

My companion and I started with an order of Hush Puppies and something called Crabmeat Fries.

The Crabmeat Fries were just that: A stack of french fries topped with a generous amount of sweet crabmeat.

The Hush Puppies were done just right, densely packed and fried.

My friend chose the Soft Shell Crab dinner, a gutsy move just two weeks after having the same thing at Galatoire’s in New Orleans. Were they the same? No. But these were perfectly fine, and a bargain at $19 for two.

And then there was the bag o’ seafood. I went for the Pick Your Catch option and selected crawfish and shrimp. Also inside the bag were new potatoes and a chunk of corn on the cob, plus whatever sauce you choose.

All of this comes to the table in a huge puffed up bag. Then the server shakes it all up so that everything gets coated real good. It’s basically a seafood boil in a bag. And you eat it out of the bag with its sides rolled down instead of dumped out onto a table.

Thankfully, there are not only bibs provided but plastic gloves, as well, so you can just dig in and get all messy with your food. And there’s a big bucket on the table for your discards. Great fun.

And it was all cooked nicely, too. I especially liked the shrimp, which were tender-firm and tasty.

I enjoyed the laidback but attentive service and was impressed with our server’s menu knowledge.

In fact, I enjoyed everything about my visit. The people are friendly, the atmosphere relaxed and the food is good. I guess I’ve been reeled in.

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined WMFE in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from extraordinary hurricanes to historic space flights, from the people and procedures of Florida’s justice system to the changing face of the state’s economy.
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