When is Hot and Hot reopening? Now.
By Jan Walsh
Hot and Hot Fish Club reopens tonight, Wednesday, October 7. And we are there at 5:00 p.m. Not only am I grateful to be here, I am also happy to have the answer to the most asked question of 2020—almost everywhere I go, everyone asks me when Hot and Hot will reopen. Tonight, is almost as special as being here in January for the Hastings pre-opening family and friends’ dinner, of this location. We all looked forward to the year ahead and future dinners here. And it saddens me to think of all the dinners and celebrations we all have missed here.
Fortunately, Hot and Hot Fish Club’s current location seats 120 guests verses 80 at the original location. And the patio is much larger too. So social distancing, half capacity requirements are easily managed. The new restaurant also boasts large windows, exposed brick galore, 17-foot upholstered banquette, Grey stone Italian marble tabletops, locally sourced hackberry wood, a private dining space, and a bar with a boat frame floating above it.
Tonight, I finally get the chance to scout out my favorite table here. I am always in search of corner tables and seats. So just as the hostess starts to seat us at a very desirable banquette table in the middle of the restaurant, I ask if we may sit in the corner of the banquette. She cheerfully accommodates. As we slip into our seats, we scan the menu and order appetizers. We have missed their house-made bread. So, Kev orders the Cheese Biscuits. And I get a last chance this year to order their famous Tomato Salad. Although Hot and Hots has been closed for months, this is the third time I have done so this year. Back in May they were open for curb service and also offered it on a Mother’s Day to go menu at OvenBird, which also reopened tonight. Two large biscuits arrive piping hot with a lovely basil butter that adds color, creaminess, and basil notes. The tomato salad is, as always, a tower of dead ripe, local tomatoes topped with a slice of crisp bacon. The “icing” in between and over the tomato stack is a mix of sweet, yellow corn, local field peas, and balsamic. And golden bites of fried okra encircle the plate. Oh, how I have missed this salad!
For entrees Kev orders the Chicken Fried Steak, and I opt for the Simple Grilled Tuna. Chef Hastings takes “chicken fried” to a new dimension with thick, golden, fried chicken skins layered between tender, savory, rich, and umami pieces of Wagyu beef—cooked to order. The chicken skins and steak rests on helpings of down home collards and comforting fingerling potatoes, above a bed of creamy buttermilk gravy. Kev paired the steak with a local brew. My tasty tuna is a lovely and large catch—mild in flavor, and firm in texture. It is surrounded by generous wedges of tomato, avocado, and grilled onion, which add layers of texture. The plate is finished with a bright and acidic basil lime vinaigrette. I pair my meal with a handcrafted cocktail of Perfect Pear. This drink is served on the rocks (but without overdoing the rocks) and is a mix of Beefeater Gin, Pear Juice, Domaine de Canton, Lemon Juice, Lillet Blanc and Asian Pear Shrub.
For dessert we order one of our favorites: Elton’s Chocolate Soufflé. And a dessert cocktail of Bananas Foster. The decadent chocolate arrives hot rising from its ramekin. And our server tops it off with crème anglaise and whipped cream. The warm chocolate melds with the cold cream, marrying into a chocolate lover’s dream. And the Bananas Foster is a frothy, complex, deeply flavored drink of Fat Washed Banana Rum, Bumbu Rum, Moscato banana reduction, and agitated vanilla cream. Highly recommended!
As Idie catches up with long time patrons, Chris runs the well-oiled, open kitchen... Hot and Hot is back!
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