Although I realize that we live in a city with a never ending supply of great, not just good, but great restaurants every once and awhile one of them surprises me and reminds me of just what makes up a great dining experience. Hank?s did just that the other night.
Designed to look like a Charleston Fish House of the 1940?s Hank?s Seafood Restaurant is as charming as it gets. We have not been to Hank?s in about eight years when we first started to visit Charleston. I remember that we liked it, but that was about it. After reading an article in Southern Living Magazine that featured Hank?s it made me want to return. The photos of their food were so inviting.
We arrived for our 6:45 reservation and were very thankful that we had called ahead. The place was PACKED with a line out the door. We were quickly escorted to our table and had a few minutes to people watch as we waited for our server to arrive.
Our server was knowledgeable and helpful as he walked us through the menu and told us of the evening?s specials.
Although not a particularly large restaurant it has a great energy and feel to it. It?s not a quiet restaurant by any stretch of the word, but that was something that quite frankly, I liked about it.
Our appetizers were out in no time and they were great. We were having dinner with a couple that likes to sample many things so this course was for us, almost like a tapas meal, which was a treat.
The Belgian Endive Salad with Blue Cheese, Arugula and Beets was absolutely beautiful and it tasted great. I personally love beets, but they are not a household favorite, so it?s nice to have them when I can.
The Crispy Rock Shrimp and Calamari with Spicy Tomato Remoulade Sauce were cooked perfectly. Lightly battered, crispy as described and oh, so tender. The ?spicy? sauce was not-so-spicy but we liked it nonetheless.
The Oyster Sampler with local and oysters from North Carolina and Washington State was a nice surprise. I like oysters, but don?t love them. These however were delicious. Small, sweet and tender. It was at this point that I was very hopeful that dinner would be great.
The White Bean Soup of the Day was really something. Filled with veggies in a light broth and very tasty. Boy, had we picked a winner for a restaurant this evening.
Dinner arrived and it was spectacular. I had the evening?s dinner special which was monk fish served in a light broth with a variety of beans, mussels and shrimp. The fish was perfectly cooked and the broth and its? accompaniments were just delightful. As I think of the dish it alone makes me want to go back to the restaurant?
My husband had the Curried Shrimp. I don?t care for curry that much so it rarely makes an appearance in our kitchen. He loved this dish! It was a coconut/curry sauce with bananas, mango, leeks, and sweet onion served over delicate white rice. The tails had been removed from the shrimp making it less work to enjoy. Despite my aversion to curry, I did give this dish a try and really liked it. It had a nice balance of spices and a hint of curry. Maybe I should rethink curry after all?
The Roast Grouper dish was not available (out of season) and had been replaced with triggerfish served over Pea and Lobster Risotto with a Shrimp Basil Butter Jus. As much as I liked my entr?e I had entr?e envy. This dish was to die for. The fish was cooked perfectly and the risotto was a masterpiece. Simply perfect.
I did not taste the Pan Seared Sea Scallops but they were a hit with the rest of the table. Served with Shitake Mushrooms, Seasonal Greens, Fried Mashed Potatoes (maybe I should have had those?), and a Ginger Lime Coriander Vinaigrette everyone thought that they were terrific. Large, plump scallops that were impeccably cooked dotted the plate. Everyone raved about them.
I really can?t find one thing that I didn?t like about Hank?s. The service, atmosphere and menu items were simply stellar. Can?t wait to return.