It’s birthday celebration time at Friday Date Night. Our next 2 posts will be dedicated to the anniversary of this reporter’s entrance to the world.
We are in Smyrna, home of the West Village shopping and eating area, one of those mixed use developments where all the cool kids live. Our dear friends Claudia and Randy, who have graced the Date Night pages many times before, live in Smyrna, and when they invite us to dinner we jump at the chance.
Hook Line and Schooner is the place where Smyrna celebrates. There are three others with my same birthday and large parties at many tables. Let’s start our party with a beer. Sam Adams Octoberfest is the beer of the month. We know this because it’s the first thing we see on the large blackboard at the entrance. Alas, there will be no Sam Adams in our beer schooners tonight as they are out of the beer of the month. I would have erased that beer from the blackboard when it ran out which is why I would not be a good restaurant employee–just sayin’.
I have the Full Sail Amber and Eve orders the Harpoon UFO White. The neat thing they do here is that you can order your draft beers in small, medium or large. We spot a large glass at a nearby table and it’s the size of a small pitcher. We opt for the small and medium schooners.
The table is hungry and we order the calamari appetizer. We wait and wait and wait some more and eventually the appetizer arrives.
It is not worth the wait. The three dipping sauces are nice, but look at that paltry portion. The squid is just so-so. Maybe it’s a good thing there was not more of it.
We put in our dinner orders and wait and wait and wait again. We are having a raucous good time and don’t realize how long we are waiting until we get two apologies from our waiter about the slow kitchen. Fortunately, our main courses are worth the wait, although we can’t excuse the kitchen for its tardiness.
It’s a seafood place, and if it comes from a boat, HL&S probably serves it. You can get your seafood grilled, broiled or fried. Claudia gets hers steamed in the shell.
The mussels are really listed as an appetizer, but there is more than enough in the bowl to make a meal of them. She wants to pick up the bowl and drink the broth, and we don’t stop her.
If you order something from the “fresh fish market”, you get to choose your fish as well as how its cooked. You also get to choose the sauce.
I get the salmon grilled with an herb citrus butter sauce. It comes with a nice arugula salad and rice as well as a choice of one side, which in my case is brussels sprouts. This is an excellent dish. The salmon is moist and nicely seasoned, and I enjoy the roasted sprouts.
The star of the meal is Eve’s crispy whole founder.
It’s visually pleasing, crunchy on the outside, and moist and tender on the inside. The portion is very large and a to-go box will accompany us home. It is served with hush puppies and a tasty coleslaw.
We skip dessert because there is something special waiting for us back at Claudia and Randy’s house.
Yes, those are Cami Cakes! We each enjoy a taste of 4 cupcakes. From the upper left, carrot, red velvet, chocolate almond, and coconut pineapple. They are perfect for any celebration, especially this one.
The bottom line on Hook Line and Schooner: Good food, but disappointing execution. Maybe we just caught them on a very busy Friday night, but they should know they are going to be busy and staff accordingly. The wait for each course was way too long and if you are featuring a beer of the month, you really should have it. HS&L should do well in Smyrna, but management needs to get things in gear to make sure diners have a first-rate experience.