For the QC
This article is also available in print: Quaker Campus, Volume 19 – Issue 6, dated Nov. 17, 2021, on the Whittier College campus.
Fresh Off The Hook Fish Grill on Hadley St. is my favorite place to eat in Uptown Whittier — take it from me, I work there. Off The Hook was founded around five years ago by Neil and Martin, two health freaks in the industry looking to create a place with fresh and healthy food. It is definitely a place to take a look at when you are trying to find somewhere to eat here in Uptown Whittier. With its appetizing food, lively staff, and “feel at home” vibe, Off The Hook is not a restaurant to overlook.
When you first walk in through the patio, lit with string lights and surrounded by planters on both sides, it truly feels like you walked into someone’s patio at home. When you wander inside, the menu is displayed chalkboard-style with all items handwritten; there, at the front, you can place your order to go. The tables inside range from your standard family table to hightop stool tables for parties of two or three. Once you sit, you will realize that you are surrounded by flat screen televisions and home decorations of fish and catching nets. Something to highlight is that you have a full and clear look at the kitchen, both from the tables and when you place a to-go order — full transparency when they make your food.
Greeted with a cheerful smile and hello, followed by a “goodbye, see you soon!” as you walk out the door, it is safe to say that the staff here is absolutely amazing. Led by Danny, our manager, and the help of longtime servers like Yoli, Jess, and Mike, you are bound to have an amazing experience at this restaurant. They treat everyone like family. The rest of the staff are college students like you and me, creating an amazing environment to be in with good music throughout the day, ranging from R&B to alternative rock.
At night and on the weekends, it’s all about the sports. With drinks and food to last for hours, take a seat at the bar inside or sit outside on the patio; you can find a comfortable spot to enjoy a meal and watch the game. With three flat screen televisions inside and two located on their patio, there are multiple screens to watch your favorite team. On Sunday, it is all about football. Dressed in jerseys and fan gear, the staff is ready to meet your Sunday football needs. Start the first quarter with appetizers such as Fish & Chips ($8.99), Chips and Guac ($6.79), or a Ceviche Sampler ($10.49) — all the way to the fourth quarter, ending in sweet victory with an ice cream and caramel-filled churro dessert ($7.49).
With their slogan being “Off The Hook is the Way We Cook,” this hangout offers a variety of foods to choose from. Popular items include tacos, Off The Boat Shrimp, Wraps, and Shrimp Cocteles. The classic ‘Our Fish Taco Plate’ is one of the most popular; it consists of two fried Basa tacos topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and your choice of sauce (creamy cilantro, creamy chipotle, honey spice, or tomato habanero), served with a side of chips and salsa for $11.29. My favorite is the Off The Grill Plate: your choice of fish or chicken with seasoning, served with white rice, pita bread with a garlic butter sauce, and a side salad with your choice of dressing. I get a salmon plate with lemon pepper seasoning along with the sesame wasabi dressing for the salad, and I ask for some avocado on the side. This plate is nothing short of delicious and filling, and customizable for anyone’s taste buds.
Many of the other smiling faces you will meet at the front counter include Maya, Malvin, John, and Jo — amazing, hard-working college students that also love to snack here. Maya’s favorite dish has to be the Crunchy Shrimp and Potato Taco Plate with honey spice sauce to top it off ($11.29); she grew up loving potato tacos, and adding shrimp really was the frosting on the cake for her. Malvin agrees, but his absolute favorite plate aligns with the fan favorite: the Mahi Mahi Off the Grill Plate, with Italian dressing on his salad ($11.99). He picked it because it is healthy and gives you an arrangement of flavors to try with each bite. John is on my side when it comes to the Salmon Plate, but he also loves Rosa’s Loaded Fries ($5.99), a signature dish one of our back-of-the-house workers had created for servers to enjoy that was then added onto the menu; they are garlic parmesan fries topped with creamy chipotle, creamy cilantro sauce, and ranch, and they are a new favorite among the regulars. Jo loves to try new things, so he gets a cup of the creamy and rich lobster bisque ($7.99) and a side of rice ($2.99) and mixes them to really create a fantastic blend of flavors. If you don’t like fish, we have chicken options for wraps, ‘off the grill,’ and ‘off the fryer’ plates. Vegetarian? No worries! Off the Hook offer whole salads, veggie wraps, and veggie tacos.
Overall, this place is worth the five-minute drive from Whittier College, with mouth-watering food, a welcoming environment, and prices that are definitely worth every penny. There are two locations; the original is in Uptown off of Hadley Street, next to Tru Bowl and The Chicken Koop. The other location is on Whittier Blvd., across from the LA Fitness. Come give it a try! The specials at the Hadley Location include: Mahi Mahi Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Wrap Wednesdays, and Ceviche Sundays, where the listed items are at a discounted price! Stop by today; they open at 11:00 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m. (9:00 p.m. on Fridays).
Featured Photo Courtesy of @offthehook562 on Instagram