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Hook has been hot all summer, the latest place to be for the District’s fickle foodies. By the time we arrived in mid-September, the temperature had cooled, inside and out. Crowds have thinned; we began lunch at 1 on a Friday, and by the main course, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. All the better for assessing the restaurant in peace, to see if Hook was a flash in the pan, so to speak, or is in it for the long haul. Our verdict: Hook is here to stay and deserves a place at the leading edge of Washington’s growing array of seafood restaurants. Hook’s commitment to serving sustainable seafood species seems, well, highly sustainable. In appearance, Hook is all about subtlety, even modesty. Hook is easy to miss on M Street in Georgetown if you don’t know its number: 3241. Inside, the beige walls and understated decor offer little to distract from the food and drink. After opening-month complaints about poor service, Hook seems to have gotten the message. We felt well-pampered by a team of solicitous but not overbearing waiters and waitresses. SHORT AND SWEET And speaking of subtlety, we were pleasantly surprised when the lecture we were expecting about sustainable seafood was not preachy or overdone. The waiter explained simply that at Hook, none of the seafood on the menu is from species such as Chilean sea bass that have been, or soon will be, depleted. Short and sweet, and soon the food started arriving. At first, it came in very small doses. We ordered several flights of “crudo,” which you might think of as Italian sashimi: tiny squares or chunks of raw fish with unusual toppings. (Three samplings went for $8.) Some were fairly plain and some did not seem blindingly fresh, but it might have been hard to tell. The bites were almost too small to deliver anything but the slightest taste sensation to the palate. One that shone through: tuna tartare with fresh basil, which turns out to be a terrific combination. Better to stick to the salads as meal-openers. Toasted pine nuts jazzed up a local greens salad ($8), the beet salad (with yellow beets) was satisfying ($9), and the Hook Caesar salad ($10) was very nice, though the dressing could have been bolder. When one of our party confessed that she did not know what the listed ingredients of the Caesar salad were, the waiter gracefully explained that the stravecchio was the cheese and the boquerones were white anchovies. The entrees were outstanding combinations of fish and vegetables. A large wedge of wahoo ($18) — a dark blue fish found in subtropical seas — was dense and flavorful, leaving us wondering how the chef cooked it so evenly without burning the outside or leaving the core cold. The accompanying potatoes were great, but the smoked tomatillo sauce was too bland to add much. The mahi-mahi ($17) was a tad overcooked, but the smoky greens that accompanied it made up for it. My mostly tender grilled calamari ($12) were very much enhanced by the bed of pea shoots that coddled them Char was the star entree, perfectly cooked at $27. It was served with saffron risotto and toasted hazelnuts. The dish came to the table especially hot, because the waiter had originally brought the wrong dish — trout instead of char. How a restaurant handles a mistake says a lot, and Hook did it exactly right. With apologies freely given and no questions asked, the waiter whisked the trout away — though not before we managed to sneak a bite and found it very good — and replaced it with the correct dish swiftly. If some of the prices sound high for lunch, they were. But the wine list may have balanced it out; many reasonably priced bottles were available. We went with a nice Prosecco at $34 and a Muscadet for $32. Some excellent desserts made up for any inconsistencies in the entrees. Two were classics, straightforward and excellent: a peach crostata (Italian tart) with homemade vanilla ice cream ($9) and a small puddinglike chocolate pie ($9). A third dessert was a novel conceit that worked: sweet risotto fritters surrounded by melty chocolate. They tasted like a cross between arancini and funnel cake. Sweet endings to a memorable meal. With a few adjustments, Hook will be reeling in customers for years to come.
Tony Mauro, who covers the Supreme Court and reviews restaurants for Legal Times , can be contacted at [email protected].

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