Dining Review: Off the Hook: A New Restaurant by Steve Hagen in Bethany Beach:
Blend traditional fish house with modern upscale-casual, and this is what you get.
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off the hook
769 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach
Buttermilk battered oysters, shrimp and grits, fish tacos, French toast bread pudding.
According to its town history, Bethany Beach was founded by Christian missionaries as a haven of rest for “quiet people”—and to a lot of folks, it’s still thought of as the coastal town for those seeking a quieter, more family-friendly option. Not at all like those rowdy carousers in Dewey, or the sugar-fueled and thoroughly loud Rehoboth Beach crowd.
So imagine my confusion at the army of diners that blitzed the bar, elbows down, for P.E.I. mussels and vodka tonics at Bethany’s newest place on a recent Friday night. It seemed they had very little in common with their restful forebears.
Off the Hook has caused much hubbub in Bethany. An hour wait greeted me one weekend night during the off-season, along with everyone else imprudent enough not to reserve a table.
Part of a small retail strip on inland-jutting Garfield Parkway, Hook is the creation of Steve Hagen. A veteran beach chef who grew up on a family farm in Laurel, Hagen seems in-tune acutely with the pulse of this area. In short time, his humble restaurant has incited some big-time response and busy services.
The smallish storefront provides a clean, modest decor—white walls are dotted with blue, swishy artwork. Painted in white letters on the blue awning outside is Fresh. Honest. Local.
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