by Steven Doyle
What happens when you have a classic 21-year old seafood restaurant that is endeared by the public, but add in a classically trained chef with an amazing history working in some of the best kitchens? You get Hook, Line and Sinker’s new sister restaurant in Plano called Hook Line. It is a bit more upscale, the dishes are kicked up and the chef is having a great time.
Originally from Fort Worth, chef Aaron Nelson grew up cooking with his Michelin Star chef father and pastry chef mother. Upon earning his Culinary Arts degree from El Centro College in 2011, he began his career under David McMillan at Bird Café as Executive Sous Chef. After two years at Bird, Nelson moved on to become Chef de Cuisine at RiverCrest Country Club, Fort Worth in 2013. In 2015, he moved to Houston to work as Executive Chef for Nick’s Fish Dive & Oyster Bar in the Woodlands. In October 2017, he was thrilled to joined Del Sur Restaurant Group as Culinary Director.
Chef Nelson knows seafood extremely well and the dishes he is creating at Hookline reflect this notion. Chef is bringing in some of the best oysters, some from the Gulf which changed my thinking of what Gulf oysters are all about.
Think farmed oysters from Dauphine Point in Alabama, or my new favorite oyster from Porterville Bay, the Murder Point. The Murder Point oyster on the Gulf Coast is tumbled using the Australian longline system (the bags are hooked onto longlines so they flop around in the tides). The result is an unusually deep, smooth, and colorful shell, coupled with the Gulf Coast’s typically extra-plump meat. Raised just off Murder Point, whose name derives from some bad mojo between wild oyster harvesters long ago. Each day chef Nelson looks for an interesting tray of these fantastic types of oysters.
You will also find some interesting appetizers. I am sure everyone is weary of the same slew of appetizers that seem prevalent on local menus. Enjoy fun items such as Devil on a Horseback which are bacon wrapped, jalapeño and cheese stuffed Gulf shrimp served with housemade remoulade and slaw. The deviled eggs are topped with a cornmeal fried oyster.
And then you have one seriously good crawfish boil made with various heat levels. You may also choose crab or shrimp in your boil served with the requisite corn and red potatoes.
Enjoy a myriad of fried items such as oysters, shrimp and catfish. But also grilled fish like salmon, Mississippi catfish and trout.
The shrimp and grits are topped with NOLA-style BBQ shrimp, which is a dish difficult to find in the Dallas area, and nestled in a bowl of lush Homestead Mills creamy jalapeno grits. A must just as you should order the gumbo which is filled with shrimp and lump crab.
The restaurant itself is absolutely beautiful and spills out onto a very large patio which overlooks a massive water feature giving guests an other worldly feel. It could be New Orleans, it could be a bar on the Alabama coast. Regardless, it does not feel or taste like Plano.
Look for one pretty delicious brunch, and a NOLA-style party each weekend.
For those near the old locations of Hook, Line and Sinker be aware that chef Nelson is rocking those menus as well. We are all the beneficiary and it is tasting good.