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Restaurants

Off the Hook

Posted by Rebecca Fleming / Reviewed on October 18, 2011 / review policy

Off the Hook TorontoOff the Hook has a great name, and their fish isn't so bad either! Located on Broadview just south of the Danforth, it occupies what was once fish & chip joint Deep Blue, so not an imaginative reincarnation, but a delicious one.

I must preface this review by saying I have an overwhelming desire to pepper it (and salt it...and vinegar it) with fishy puns. I will do my best to resist, but I'm off to a bad start already.

Off the HookI was to have lunch with a friend and we were faced with two choices, Off the Hook being one of them. We agreed on fish and chips. It was Friday, after all. We arrived around one o'clock, and although seating is more plentiful than say, Chippy's, the lunch rush at Off the Hook sees its fair share of hungry high school kids, so plan weekday meals here accordingly. Fortunately we had just missed the mob, so we were able to snag...I mean, get a seat up front.

Off the Hook is lacking in the ambience department, but its early stages, and it is a fish and chip joint after all. Seating is to the left alongside a mirrored wall, kitchen to the right, and a small after-thought of a bar at the back (with Mill Street Tankhouse on tap). It's function over fashion here and I wouldn't expect anything else. Service is fast and friendly, with servers explaining which of the sauces (they have seven) go best with each type of fish (Halibut, Mahi-Mahi, Red Snapper & Sea Bass).

Off the HookThe menu isn't focused solely (oops...that slipped) on straight-up fish and chips however. Also on offer are fish sandwiches, poutine made with duck gravy, and seafood items like crab cakes, or Panko-crusted shrimp. All items are reasonably priced considering the portion sizes with a Tilapia sandwich going for only $5 and the Halibut and a pint special for $15.

Off the HookI couldn't remember the last time I had fish and chips so I went with the deep-fried Halibut ($12) served with coleslaw and tartar sauce (both homemade). For a healthier alternative, diners can have their fish served grilled instead of fried, but like I said, this was the first time in a long time for me, so I wasn't taking any shortcuts. My fish came with a decent portion of sweet potato fries (for $1 more) and chipotle mayo for dipping.

The fish was amazing. Made with organic flour (they also have gluten-free) the batter was light and crispy while the fish itself was moist and flaky. It was greasy, as all fried fish is, but it didn't taste of grease. The sweet potato fries were so-so, but the chipotle mayo kicked them up a few notches. Obviously out of practice, I forgot to douse my fish in vinegar. I remembered this on the subway ride home and was possibly more upset than I should have been.

Off the HookMy friend ordered the Mahi-Mahi sandwich ($8) served on a crusty bun with pesto mayo, and onion rings (for an extra $2). She chose Mahi-Mahi simply because it's fun to say Mahi-Mahi, but she wasn't disappointed. The Mahi Mahi was a bit fishier than she was used to, but tasty with the pesto nonetheless.

Off the HookThe onion rings however, made with red onions and covered in the same light and crispy batter, stole the show.

Off the HookAs it was all quite delicious, and neither fish nor fries save really well, we finished our meals instead of opting for take-out. And as if we hadn't reached out batter quota of the day, we ordered a deep-fried Mars bar ($3) to share. Not the most appealing dessert out there, it arrived at our table looking like a sugar dusted Pogo stick. The chocolate obviously melts in the deep-fryer so the Mars like quality of the bar itself is reduced, but I'm really not sure what I was expecting. It tasted a bit like a donut. A donut filled with melted chocolate. On a stick. Batter quota - reached.

Off the hookFootnote: That evening each of us skipped dinner which is totally out of character, and upon waking the next morning it was unclear as to whether breakfast was actually a necessity. It was as if we had entered the first stages of hibernation... but that's a whole other kettle of fish. (Sorry... I had to)

Discussion

23 Comments

SNACKeR / October 18, 2011 at 10:00 am
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Not to troll, but I remembered I had heard the name "Off The Hook" before. I checked the Chino Locos menu, but they use it (Odd Da Hook) for their rib-eye steak, not fish, burrito, so well-fileted, Off The Hook!
Jessie / October 18, 2011 at 10:09 am
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I had been dying to try Off The Hook since I heard they had gluten free batter, so we finally went on Sunday afternoon. We were not disappointed! Wow, delicious!
Only one thing I'd suggest to them - please consider carrying a gluten free beer for us gluten intolerants to enjoy with our gluten free fish. (I recommend Nicklebrook Gluten Free, locally made and the only one that tastes close to decent)
We'll definitely be back!
mayor ford / October 18, 2011 at 11:32 am
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Good food, 3rd place in the new age fish n chips though.

1.The one that got away
2.Chippys
3.Off the hook
4. Busters
Mike / October 18, 2011 at 01:04 pm
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I've been meaning to check this place out for a while. I've had friends recommend it, but every time I've gone, the place has been bumping and I'm too impatient to wait. I'm looking forward to the Mahi Mahi.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from mayor ford / October 18, 2011 at 03:09 pm
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How the heck did chippy's get #2 on your list? It's #999 on mine. Yukko with an attitude attached to it like a sea lamprey.
P / October 18, 2011 at 03:58 pm
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Fish and chip shops here need to start venturing into other typical fare you'd find across the pond at these sorts of places - battered sausages, a variety of pies, and mushy peas to name but a few.
Welshgrrl / October 18, 2011 at 04:38 pm
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Definitely, would love to find a place that served stuff like saveloy and chips ... mmm ...
thesraid / October 19, 2011 at 11:29 am
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Where all of these places fall down is not with their Fish which is generally nice but their Chips. They aren't Chips they are French Fries. Chips are much thicker. If anyone knows of a place with proper chips please let me know. So hungry.
nippleholic / October 19, 2011 at 01:51 pm
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I'm confused...the onion rings cost $2 extra, but on the menu board only poutine costs $2 extra.
thesraid replying to a comment from P / October 19, 2011 at 02:30 pm
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Agreed. Some nice Mushy chips really compliment the Fish 'n' Chips.
Aydin replying to a comment from mayor dodge / October 19, 2011 at 06:54 pm
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Totally agree. I don't get the appeal of Chippy's.

You're so right about the attitude. I guess they're going for a hip clientele, but to me, their staff make the food seem less appetizing. A greasy-haired 18 year-old in a trucker hat, covered in tattoos, with stretched ear lobes does not suggest professionalism nor expertise in the handling and preparation seafood.

Compared to places like Off The Hook, Olde Yorke and Reliable, where the staff are friendly, knowledgeable, professional and CLEAN... I can't see ever going to Chippy's again.

Great review, by the way!
Rebecca F / October 19, 2011 at 07:49 pm
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The sandwiches don't come with a side...hence the extra charge for a side of onion rings.
aarzoo das / October 22, 2011 at 05:51 am
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i love to eat sandwiches in "Off the hook" his sandwiches is mindblowing every body go and eat sandwiches or other meals it's just mindblowing.
batterluvr / October 23, 2011 at 10:41 am
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I can't wait to try this place out, wasn't it recently a "Deep Blue" fish and chips shop?
Jasqs / October 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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This place is a victim of it's own success. I was there with my wife on Friday for dinner and we waited an hour for our food.
I feel bad for the people that wanted take out. I saw customer stand there for close to 50 mins waiting on their food.

They need to added an extra fryer. The food was good, but the wait is ridiculous, I wouldn't go back unless it was for take out and I ordered ahead of time.
bee / October 24, 2011 at 10:28 pm
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I had a halibut sandwich to go, with a side of slaw.

Pros:
First and foremost, the fish was delicious! So tender, and not overcooked at all!

Cons:
The bread for the sandwich was way too thick, and didn't compliment the fish at all. The coleslaw was not good - Way too much vinegar!

I agree, the wait time is sort of ridiculous. I waited almost 45 minutes for a sandwich and it wasn't even that busy that evening. I hope they figure out a more efficient system to serve customers.

eve / January 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm
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I would never recommend this place. We bought halibut and clam chowder take-out. The halibut was off and we were charged $1.00 for tartar sauce. Not impressed at all.
not Hooked / January 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm
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I went there and I very very disappointed! I can't believe how rude and absent minded the staff are there. I don't eat cole slaw so I asked for extra fries instead and this time I got less than I did when I first went in there! Not only that but when I got my food I said thank you to the chef who delivered and made it and he just turns his head in the opposite direction and doesn't even acknowledge me. THAT is awful service and I hope more people catch on and avoid this place.
Kaila / March 3, 2012 at 09:40 am
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Off the Hook is definitely the place to be for quality fish and chips. I went on a Friday night with a group of 3 and had to wait 15 minutes to be seated ( not bad considering the popularity of the place and it was 6:00). Our server was quick and attentive and very nice. I will say the food took a might bit longer than it would at other places such as chippy's however I forgive them this because they have a larger dining room AND are doing their takeout as well.

The food was hot and some of the best fish in the city (especially for the price). We'll all be going back soon.

I think to improve speed it would be nice to have two cash registers and one exclusively for takeout, or make te front window open for takeout orders.
Sparky / April 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm
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Drastically overpriced and overrated. Almost 6 for handful of super greasy onion rings? Please. And the counter guy has the gall to tell me because it's hand made. Really? How much are a few onion rings, some batter and hot oil? Noooooope. Won't ever be going back there.

karin / May 6, 2012 at 07:03 pm
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Wasn't clean when I was there. Staff was smoking outside, I watched them go back in and not wash hands; one assembled a burger with his hands...floor/counter very dirty. Guy with dark hair (taller one closest to the window) wiped his nose with his hand and keep on cooking. I left.
Vee / August 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm
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DISAPPOINTED!!! Ordered food on a Friday night, place was pretty much filled with tables. There was a line to order food. Went there for takeout and by the time I ordered my food and waited, it was over 1 hour!!! No exaggeration. There were so many tables that were starring at the cooks at the front to see if they had put out any orders. Everyone else waiting for takeout was also waiting just as long to get their food. If you left the restaurant and paid, and wanted to come back in to check in on your take out order, the food was given away to someone else. People even grocery shopped and came back and their food wasn't done yet. Attitude of staff did not seem to care about how long people were all waiting for their food, rather just saying that sometimes that just how things go. Clearly they need to be more efficient in running the ktichen area. The person handling the cash should also not help out with tables but also help with the kitchen preparing trays, coleslaw, so on. To save time, they should have some coleslaw and sauces packaged ahead of time and store it in a fridge so that way you don't have two people struggling to make food and put everything together.
SUE replying to a comment from SNACKeR / December 3, 2013 at 06:57 pm
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UNSAFE DINNING, READ DINE SAFE TORONTO

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