Delaware Today magazine Savor dining review: A review by dining critic Matt Amis of Just Hooked, a restaurant in Fenwick Island owned by Steven Hagen
Totally Hooked: Just Hooked brings a familiar but delicious formula to Fenwick.
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Tucked into Fenwick’s Sunshine Shopping Center at the spot where the legendary Quail slung half-price burgers on Sundays, Just Hooked is roomier than Off the Hook, with a deck to boot. A few nature prints in the Kevin Fleming tradition line the walls alongside Hagen’s beloved blackboards. There’s a bar built into a large central island, and a custom-built wine closet off to one corner.
The decor, from the prints to the pelican doorstops, is a respectful nod to seashore life, and a show of reverence to the watermen who work the local inlets. One such person is local legend and fisherman Chet Townsend and his family, who supplies product.
Great seafood is once again the headliner here. Floating from the entrance drifts the unmistakable aroma of fish searing on a hot cooktop and on its way to becoming beach-ified comfort food. And if you’ve dined at both Hagen establishments, this feels like a frying pan full of déjà vu.
Chef Nick Brown doesn’t stray far from the template, and his menu does feature a few Off the Hook carryovers. But even the new dishes share in Off the Hook’s culinary aesthetic.
Forget pork shoulder: I’m bringing Brown’s baked bluefish to my next barbecue. The fish, roasted in a hot oven, yielded some of the juiciest, most fall-apart tender flesh I’ve ever encountered. Clever plating flourished when the accompanying grape tomatoes, dressed in an herb gremolata, broke down under the fish’s heat and mixed with runoff fish juice to create a zingy sauce that blanketed tortellini pasta.
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