While our GPS got us to the forest, we had a devil of a time finding the tree. Hooked Seafood Co. is embedded in a cluster of nine small food outlets in the Galleria 7 Market which is part of the Plaza 7 Commons on Troy-Schenectady Road. The problem is that there is no outside sign announcing Hooked’s presence. But we persisted, and after two loops around the mall, we located Hooked Seafood Co. in the front left corner of the market.
The set-up is reminiscent of a food court in an airplane terminal. Nine food and restaurant establishments surround 15 butcher-block type tables and 28 stools dispersed around three high narrow tables. The building itself is industrial in design, resembling an airplane hangar. An array of venues ranging from seafood to ice cream to BBQ, pizza, hibachi and deli serves the thousands of workers in the Latham Circle area.
Hooked served us on a recent blustery Friday afternoon. It was quiet—only a couple of tables were occupied. A large case filled with fresh seafood on beds of ice greeted us. The food ordering and preparation area is located just past the showcases. A limited menu ranging from chowder to fish tacos to lobster rolls, plus a few specials is offered. The customer orders and pays, and when it is ready, the food is delivered piping hot to the table.
Dinner Buddy grabbed a couple of cold drinks from a self-serve cooler—a diet soda for me ($1.50) and a sparkling blackberry flavored juice ($2) for himself.
Despite the short menu, we had difficulty choosing. Offerings included small plates and full entrees, all promising fresh ingredients.
The cold day demanded soup and I chose a New England-style fish chowder ($6/cup) which that day featured small chunks of mahi and turbot seasoned with thyme and a hint of lemon. The absence of potatoes was not mourned while the small pieces of celery were applauded.
I am not a fan of fish tacos, though my dinner-mate loves them. He ordered the Crunchy Tacos ($15), the most expensive taco selection according to a staff member because they were made with halibut. Battered and breaded in-house, the taco was served with scallion, jalapeno, Asian cabbage and sesame ginger aioli. “Compared with other fish tacos I have enjoyed, Hooked’s earns an A-plus,” smiled my friend between bites.
His “Hooked, Line and Sinker” ($12), Hooked Seafood Co.’s version of paella, was a generous mix of assorted fish, shrimp and mussels in a rich saffron-hued rice with cilantro, red bell pepper, onions and sweet green peas. Calamari was added as a bonus the day we were there. Happy Diner described the dish as “smoky, peppery and mild… rich with the ocean flavors that seafood lovers crave.”
My Fishbowl ($15) offered a choice of Norwegian salmon, Steelhead trout or cod with couscous, greens, curry roasted cauliflower, cashews and cucumber raita. While I detected no cucumbers, the steelhead trout I opted for was outstanding. At first, I thought the server had accidentally substituted salmon for the trout. It would not have mattered. The surface of the fish appeared to be lightly smoked and was slightly sweet. The moist flesh was pale pink and flakey carefully placed on a bed of crisp greens which was atop a generous helping of couscous. The result was a creative composite of flavors and textures. The trout was accompanied by tartar sauce, and I requested the avocado aioli to dress the salad. Good choices all around.
I should note that at some point near the beginning of our meal, a server approached our table to show us how to release the corners of our biodegradable serving/take-home boxes to resemble a flat bowl. We were able to easily reseal the container to bring home the remainder of our meals.
Hooked did not offer dessert, but none was needed. We were satisfied, and each of us had take-home boxes for the next day. Furthermore, had we been desperate for something sweet, there were other stalls to satisfy that need.
Hooked Seafood Co. also offers a full variety of fresh, sustainable retail seafood which has never been frozen.
Hooked Seafood Co.
WHERE: 1214 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham 518-389-6217 or www.hookedseafoodinc.com/
WHEN: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Monday
HOW MUCH: $51.50 (for 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 beverages) before tax and tip
MORE INFO: daily specials, large lot parking, major credit cards accepted, noise level permits conversation, accessible, catering, access to over a half dozen other food venues under the roof.