This week’s Pick of the Week is – you guessed it – Off The Hook Raw Bar! We had a chance to talk to Besim Levonja. Besim – or Bes as he’s better known – owns Off The Hook with his partners Glen and Dritan.
So – why a raw bar? Bes had a simple answer “There wasn’t one in Astoria!” Which is probably where all the great places in Astoria start. Seeing a niche the needed filling, the trio instantly set to bringing the raw bar to life. They wanted to create a seafood shack mixed with a great restaurant, and they did just that. The restaurant is intimate and cozy – comfortable, and probably one of the best spots to enjoy some fresh air, drinks, and slurping oysters.
Speaking of oysters – Off The Hook has a LOT of them. They’re mostly local – some come from a seafood market in the Bronx.
We asked Bes to tell us the number one thing he recommends to try, and he laughingly said “NOT THE LOBSTER ROLL.” Apparently the lobster roll is amazing…and everyone already orders it. Sorry Bes, I had to share. The shrimp roll is equally satisfying, if you’re in the mood for seafood in sandwich form.
But as a serious reccomendation, if you love seafood, you’ll probably love everything at Off the Hook. They work really hard to have the freshest food, because – especially with seafood – the quality and taste comes from being fresh, and being high quality.
One of the most awesome things Bes told us is that Off the Hook is rolling out a rum vault, and a new rum inspired menu. The items will draw inspiration from all sorts of cuisine – such as the Myer’s Spiced Chicken – a marinated half bird rubbed with herbs and jerk seasoning. Off the Hook put their own twist on the jerk seasoning, and the meal comes with French beans, and a side of yams abd corn meal, topped with marshmallows, in a duck broth.
More about the rum vault: There’s going to be more than 30 different types of rum, which the guys have been collecting for a while now. There’s everything from dark rums like scotches and single malts, to clear rums with crisp flavor.
Off the Hook is an awesome place, and it really is a seafood lover’s heaven. So stop by and enjoy – and make sure to try some rum! We might even be sending some of you there – we’ve got a giveaway hidden up our sleeves! Keep an eye out!
Off the Hook
28-08 34th St
Astoria, NY 11103