Monday, October 08, 2007

Loud but Proud Hook: Barton Seaver's Sustainable Fish Fantasy

Had dinner one bustling Saturday evening the other weekend at the months-old Hook in Georgetown. The one stand out was the noise level. With the arched ceiling and hard surfaces, it was a bit unnerving. But the food and service were great. The wine list is wonderful and pretty extensive. But we brought our own wine for a mere $20 a bottle corkage--the sommelier helped us decant and seemed very, very knowledgeable. Our waiter was a bit noviced, not bothering to explain the concept of sustainability of the fish on the menu, and was a little rude when we asked to switch tables after being elbowed a few times, yelling "Go ahead and move!" as he walked away. Again, the food made up for all that.

Had the crudo (raw, bite sized fish starter) of Wahoo with a bit of lemon and dill. Very fresh and almost effervescently light. The appetizer of baby beets was smart and married well with lightly charred greens, blue cheese, mint and orange. My dinner companion had the risotto cakes which were delicious, tender and chewy on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside with a bit of garlic and onion. My main dish of mahi and tomato risotto was somewhat disappointing, as it was overly seasoned. (Someone likes the salt shaker in the back.) The tomato risotto was nice, but nothing to write home about. However, my companion's Wahu with bacon braised chicory and beans had the luscious flavors reminiscent of an old southern recipe, but there was something modern and complex about it. I like this restaurant. I like Barton Seaver's cooking (I love Saint Ex and Bar Pilar--even before he left and before I knew it was Seaver).

And with the relatively reasonable price point (most entrees in the twenties), it's a good way to savor sexy-chic without blowing your budget. Having, said that, you'll get a lot of the younger groups, especially on the weekends. So if you want a quiet dinner sans high fives and fist bumps, perhaps try it on a weeknight.

I'll go back. Hopefully next time they'll lay off the salt and get some rugs to keep the noise at bay.

P.S. For all you ladies, the open kitchen offers a generous view of the very high mise en place standard...along with Mr. Seaver's, eh hem, Sevens jeans.

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