By: Lynne O’Meara, Southern Maryland Restaurants
North Beach, MD – I’d been hearing great things about a restaurant in North Beach (Calvert County). Hook & Vine – Kitchen and Bar is fabulous. The food, the service, and the atmosphere are all top-notch.
Monica and Kevin Phillips dreamed and planned for years about opening a restaurant. Both worked in the industry; Monica worked all aspects with a focus on accounting and marketing, and Kevin worked in operations for several large chains (Joe’s Crab Shack and TGI Friday’s). They waited for just the right location and found it in a small house on 7th Street in North Beach. They will celebrate their two-year anniversary of opening in May.
The house, located a block from the waterfront and boardwalk in North Beach, is cute and comfortable. The colors of the walls and the decorations provide a pleasant environment. The fireplace wall is beautiful; the woodwork was done by hand. The dining room is small and has 10 tables accommodating around 36 diners. The tables are close…on purpose. Monica told me, “I want people to not just to come to eat, but to have an experience”. She said the coziness encourages conversation and friendliness. She said people often leave with new friends. I laughed when she said this but found out she was correct. My companion and I had a lovely conversation with the ladies at the table next to us. There is also a front porch with additional seating when the weather is nice. They have a bar when you first walk in, it is very inviting and has some bar stools and several high top tables.
On to the food…it’s delicious! The Hook & Vine website states they serve “Southern coastal cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood, bacon, bourbon, and wine.” They have small plates, handhelds, and entrees. Some of their best-sellers are the Fish & Chips, Crab Cake, Shrimp & Grits, and Hook & Vine Burger. I must go back to try the burger because it’s made with Havarti cheese, applewood smoked bacon and bacon bourbon jam…uh…hello! The burgers are also made with fresh beef, never frozen. I have several friends who told be the burger is amazing!
I also want to try the Crab Cake. Monica told me it’s one of her favorites. It’s Kevin’s recipe and she said, “It’s made with fresh crabmeat and the filler is fresh crabmeat”. It works for me! Most of the recipes were designed by Kevin and the previous chef, but some are Monica’s. The BLT Deviled Eggs appetizer is her creation. I also want to go back for the Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop, which was their first menu item.
They have some gluten-friendly items and their sauces are made with cornstarch, not flour. The meals are made-to-order, so changes are possible if desired. Nightly, they have dinner and drink specials. They have a very large bar menu…specialty cocktails, extensive wine list, and craft and local beer! Many of the mixed drinks were designed by Monica. I had the Blackberry Lavender Lemonade, which is on their Zero Proof Cocktail menu. Zero Proof Cocktails don’t contain alcohol and are specially crafted. I had mine with vodka added (which made it not zero proof) and it was so fresh and delicious!
I’m sure you want to know what we had to eat! I ordered the Short Ribs special; my companion had the Jambalaya. The Short Ribs were served with mashed potatoes and broccoli. The meat was so tender and flavorful, and the vegetables were perfectly cooked. The Jambalaya was served over rice and had an appropriate amount of seasoning. I think some restaurants under season food, attempting to make it more palatable for everyone. However, if you order food with traditionally stronger seasoning, it should have more flavor. This did! The seasonings along with chicken, shrimp, and andouille sausage were delightful!
We finished our meal with dessert! We shared the Beignets, and they were amazing. I was glad there were six on the plate, not five. If it had been five, there might have been some arm-wrestling over the last one! They were light and airy and were served with chocolate and berry sauces.
The service was terrific; our server was Kirstyn. She was very attentive and friendly. Before we ate, I was able to spend some time talking with Monica, she is delightful. You know she loves what she’s doing because she didn’t stop smiling! She wants people to know, “My staff will go out of their way for you”. I believe it and I can’t wait to go back!
They have special events, often pairing spirits or beer with food. They are having St. Patrick’s Day Specials on the 17th. Check out their Facebook page and website for upcoming events. They take reservations by phone at (443) 964-5488 or on Open Table (reservation service).
Hook & Vine is located at 4114 7th Street, North Beach, MD.
The hours are:
- Monday – 11:30am – 9:00pm
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
- Friday, Saturday – 11:30am – 11:00pm
- Sunday – 9:00am – 9:00pm
Rating (out of 5):
- Food – 4.8
- Service – 4.8
- Ambiance – 4.8
Total – 4.8
Website – https://hookandvine.com/