Dude Food: Hook Line & Sinker

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Each week the Dude Food guys assess the 'masculinity' of Dallas area dives. The more fried meat and junk on the walls, the better the rating...

Hook Line & Sinker
3103 Lemmon Ave.

Dude Factor: 10, or anyone on Deadliest Catch, on a scale of 1, Steve Irwin, to 10.

Between reading John Graves' Goodbye to a River and watching a marathon of Survivorman, I spent much of the weekend salivating over the thought of freshly caught fish sizzling over a waterside fire. (Insert Tim Allen-style grunting here.) With a heat index over 100, however, I naturally decided my own outdoor fish fry was not in the cards.

Luckily I remembered Hook Line & Sinker. Granted, it's not the waterside fish fry of my dreams, or even one of those delicious coastal, cook-your-catch kind of joints, but it's about as close as us Dallasites can get without a four hour drive.

For an Uptown location at Lemmon and McKinney, the crowd here is remarkably casual, too, making it easy to imagine yourself in some coastal Texas town, at least until you sit on the patio and observe the passing of numerous luxury SUVs and boob jobs.

Normally, you can't go wrong with the catfish here, perhaps the finest filets in these parts (if you understand "these parts" narrowly). They're fresh from the freezer, lightly battered and best of all, cheap. The steamed snow crab clusters with corn and potatoes make for a fine communal experience as well, if you're looking to spend a little more.

This weekend I went with the grilled fare, however, ordering tilapia and sampling my lady's trout with some hot, buttered corn (sounds a little dirty, no?). After tasting both dishes I realized I'd been out ordered--by a girl, no less--but nevertheless, both the trout and the tilapia were delicious, prepared simply on the grill with a minimal dusting of spices and served over rice. You can even watch them cook all this goodness in the open kitchen--if I had a video of the guys at Hook Line continually rearranging the tiny grill and spice-dusting the fish, I could probably zone out on it for at least an hour... It. Is. Mesmerizing.

Perhaps the best thing about this joint, though--other than the boat engine decor--is the free appetizers, and by free appetizers I mean a basket full of saltine crackers doused with a hardy sampling of five or six brands of hot sauce. Scoff if you want, but it is old school.

Hook Line & Sinker also serves a hamburger, if you're the kind of asshole that would order a hamburger at a seafood restaurant. I'm not. And if I ever see anyone do it that's over the age of 12, I'm gonna make them blog famous--mark my words.

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