Though they all share the same name, all eight of McLoone's Restaurants' locations have their own interior charm. With dining rooms adjacent to off-track betting facilities, McLoone’s Woodbridge Grille and McLoone’s Bayonne Grille are peppered with an energetic ambiance that fills their brightly colored spaces. Televisions at every table keep diners abreast of the results of each race, and the big screens plastered around the restaurants also broadcast NFL, MLB, and college games. Like an indecisive bride’s wedding, each location’s bistro-style menu includes both casual and elegant dishes, from seasoned thai chicken wings and Black Angus burgers to new york strip steak and mango salmon.
Certified etiquette consultant Alexandra Kovach conducts a crash course in dining etiquette, with participants living out the tutorial during a delicious three-course dinner with pre-selected wine. Topics of the course include seating, eating styles, napkin etiquette, toasting, dinner-party hosting, and how to be a good guest. With an open forum style and a limit of 40 people per class, the course allows its participants the opportunity to ask Alexandra about where to put the fork after finishing a meal and how to properly react when someone accidentally pours soup on your unpublished manuscript.
Pho is hard to make. It cooks for hours, filling the air with the smell of rich beef stock as well as cloves and other spices. The chefs at Saigon Saigon, though, put in the time on the complex broth, which arrives at tables with coils of fine rice noodles and fresh peppers and basil. Beneath sprays of bamboo and orchid, there are also bowls of Vietnamese vermicelli topped with lemongrass-kissed slices of meat and a range of curries that showcase the region's colorful spices.
To street toughs, seafood is often viewed as a delicacy since it's uncommon to stumble upon a sauntering salmon and challenge it to a back-alley knife fight. Dine like an underwater ruffian with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of sustainable seafood and drinks at Hook in Georgetown. This Groupon is not valid for redemption during Restaurant Week.
Hook, a member of PURE Hospitality Restaurant Group, baits bounty seekers with a dinner menu of fresh and sustainable seafood favorites, many flown in shortly after they are caught. Commence consumption with crudo ($8), a variation on sashimi, with Alaska halibut and North Carolina mahi mahi rawly rocking gullets, or split the shellfish combination appetizer ($42) with one or two fellow diners who also enjoy the tastes and personalities of lobster, prawns, mussels, and oysters. Main courses drawing from Davy Jones' sub-aquatic refrigerator depend on what fresh catches are available, but recent items have included crab cakes from Louisiana ($28), Arctic char from Iceland ($27), and yellowfin tuna from Florida ($28), the state also known as "America's pinky finger." Midday marine-meal marauders can opt for lunch, while brunch fans can enjoy freshly caught french toast ($9) or an omelette ($11), among other breakfast favorites.
As diners acquaint themselves with a glass from Hook's extensive wine list, their eyes can swish, smell, and swirl the surroundings—a luminous décor of bright lighting, soft colors, and spacious seating. Call up the Smee to your Tennille and hit Hook for seasonal and sustainable seafood.
Yelpers give Hook a 3.5-star average, the Washington Post recommends it, and it made Washingtonian.com's 100 Best Restaurants of 2010:
- Chef Jonathan Seningen turns out an ever-changing, all-over-the-map roster of seafood that encompasses the au courant (a crudo of mahi mahi with pickled jalapeño) and the enduring (fish and chips). Meat lovers might want to look elsewhere—there’s only one non-fish entrée on the menu—but seafood fanciers will smile. – Washingtonian.com's
- The wine list is a winner; desserts include such beauties as lingonberry Linzer torte with tellagio cheese ice cream (but also the occasional dry sprinkled doughnut); and the dining room, with its arched ceiling and creamy colors, is warm, welcoming and teeming with the beautiful people. – Tom Sietsema, Washington Post
- Raw bar oysters- absolutely perfect. Fresh, red wine vinegar spot on, absolutely wonderful. Tartare- the fish was so fresh it didn't even taste like fish. Perfect texture. – Ari S., Yelp