I don’t get out to North Beach much, but it is always fun when I do. This trip I tagged along with my wife, Chandra, who had some business in the area. After walking around the boardwalk, we went back to the town’s ever-growing restaurant row to try a new place called the Hook and Vine.
The restaurant, which opened about four months ago, is housed in a nicely converted residence. There is a nautical theme with varying types of wood decor, Edison light bulbs and great classic rock playing in the background. The main level holds a small bar to the right with the dining room wrapping around it. On the evening we visited, a wine tasting was being held on the porch.
Seated by the fireplace, Chandra and I were happy to breeze through the interesting menu. In addition to some classic items like pan-seared scallops, crab cakes and ribeye steak, the menu also listed a wide selection of foods like jambalaya, ravioli in lobster sauce, and Southern fish and chips. While the menu was somewhat eclectic, it was not very large, which signaled to me that each dish would be getting the proper attention.
To start off, we each chose from a long list of signature drinks. Chandra had the tropical storm ($8) with coconut rum, fresh lime juice, club soda and blackberry. This was less sweet than I expected, with a tangy finish, and was very enjoyable. I chose the North Beach peach ($9), which was made with Hunter’s reserve bourbon, peach schnapps and sours. This was sweet and sour, with a strong peach flavor — right up my alley.
As a starter, we chose the lobster tempura bites ($14), light and crispy tempura vegetables intermixed with bites of tempura lobster. The vegetables were broccoli florets, green and red bell pepper strips, green beans, served with a spicy remoulade sauce. Despite being a fried dish, it was light and tasted very fresh.
For a main dish, my wife chose the glazed pork chop ($22), which was a substantially sized, tender and served with sweet glazed bourbon peaches. It was seasoned properly and had excellent flavor. For the sides with this meal I selected the bacon maple glazed Brussels sprouts, and the mac and cheese. Both were fantastic.
I chose the shrimp and grits entree ($16). The grits were served with a spicy gravy, medium shrimp and a great andouille sausage. The one thing that threw me off was the raw bell peppers on top – they felt disconnected from this otherwise properly cooked dish. Otherwise, I enjoyed it, and Chandra thought it was perfect.
As the meal wrapped up, we were both very satisfied. The server was on top of things, everyone around us was enjoying themselves and the music had us all smiling. All that was left was a little sweet treat.
One of the only desserts made in house was the bread pudding ($7). This was a large square of well caramelized bread, almost like a sticky bun. It was laced with bourbon and came out screaming hot. While this was unlike any bread pudding that I had ever had, I thought it was very good. My only suggestion would be to serve it with ice cream.
The Hook and Vine was a wonderful find on our trip to North Beach. The owners obviously love good food and great drinks. I am sure that so long as they stick to that recipe, they will be around for a long time.
Hook and Vine
WHERE: 4114 7th St., North Beach
HOURS: 4-9 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
OWNERS: Kevin and Monica Phillips
PRICES: $9-$14 for lunch, $14-$26 for dinner
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards