Monday, March 25, 2013

Off The Hook

12636 Rt. 21
DeSoto, Mo.

 On our way to Off the Hook, we saw a sign for a new restaurant in DeSoto. We blew past our first choice to check it out, decided we'd try it, but not this week. Angel had her mind set on OTH's corn poppers, once Angel has her mind set on something, that's pretty much it.

The Place:
On the highway between Hillsboro and DeSoto, north of Walmart. The parking lot slants downhill toward the restaurant, a significant slant. One should keep this in mind while ordering a meal, as the climb back up to the car can be quite the struggle if you overeat. Trust me on this.
The lot wasn't too crowded and it didn't take very long to be seated. We were taken to a table along the west wall, near the middle. The din was roaring with the screams and laughter of the many children. A couple of large groups with more kids than anyone really needs surrounded us. I sucked it in and tried to be patient. I may have mentioned this before, I don't like eating around kids. then again, it's not just eating.
We sat at the wood table, laminated with ads for local businesses and a lame, never-changing, same-on-every-table trivia question list.
Corn Poppers
Name the states with four letter names, how many sides does a pentagon have, who was the first female supreme court justice, etc. It occurred to me that the game would be more interesting if it was different questions at every table and the answers were spread out among the other tables. More of a challenge that way and it would force people to interact more.
Kaylee, our waitress for the evening, smiled and asked about drinks. Un-sweet tea for me, with lemon, sweet tea, no ice for Angel and Adam asked for a Pepsi.
When asked by the boy about the no-ice thing, she said she was tired of being cold. I looked out the window and recalled that the weather experts/alarmists were calling for a major snowstorm starting that night. I'd spent a half hour in the warm afternoon sun, sweating as I pre-salted our four hundred foot driveway.
We flipped open the tri-fold menus. Kaylee brought our drinks and asked about an appetizer, Angel rang out about the corn poppers, whole kernel corn battered and deep fried.
The Food:
Catfish Plate
 Although the menu had many, many tempting offerings, for me, OTH is about the catfish. Not the best I've ever had, that honor is reserved for this all-you-can-eat catfish buffet place in Eureka Springs Arkansas, I forget the name, Don's, Ron's, something like that. It could be gone now, or renamed/re-owned. Last time I was there was about fifteen years ago. I still think it was the best catfish anywhere. However OTH's catfish has never disappointed. There is a problem with the meal as offered, but I'll get into that later.
Angel tried something new, baked chicken, Parmesan style, with mashed potatoes, a roll, and green beans. Adam ordered a sure-thing, Chicken fried steak, also with a roll and mashed potatoes, and a side of corn.
My meal came with fries and hush puppies and two sides. I picked slaw and baked beans.
The corn poppers arrived and we divvied them up into our saucers. I agree with Angel, these things are sinfully good. I tried to only have a couple since my meal was going to be large and filling, but I failed. I had five or six.
As we popped the poppers I looked out the window again, a bank of heavy gray clouds was moving in. I could feel the atmospheric changes in my sinuses, which are as accurate about front movements as any multimillion dollar, sophisticated weather equipment.
Baked Chicken Parmesan
The big family group in front of us was starting to grind on my nerves. Two of the little boys, about eight or nine, were on autopilot and sugared up. They ran toward the restroom a dozen times, rudely oblivious to the fact that other people even existed. I said nothing though, I'm polite that way. I was thinking things though.
Their food arrived, family style, chicken, fish, hush puppies, green beans, mashed potatoes. They'd apparently ordered everything OTH offered. The rude boys and the quieter ones as well loaded up their plates with fries. It occurred to me what a plague French fries are to children. Kids and many adults seem to be addicted to the nutritionally useless, but yummy sticks. Child obesity in the U.S. can probably trace straight back to those things, and all washed down with sugary pop. I love fries too, but kids don't do moderation well. However I did get an idea why parents don't keep them away from their kids. As soon as the kids' plates were loaded up with fries, the table got quiet. Deep fried silence inducers. I get it, kicking the obesity can down the road for the sake of temporary peace and quiet.
The plates arrived and I stopped scowling at the kids. My plate was stacked high with four filets of catfish, two hush puppies and a fist full of fries. I splatted a little ketchup on the plate, for the hush puppies.
Country Fried Steak
I broke open one of the filets to let it cool, they were sizzling hot. I tested the beans and slaw, served in separate ramekins. The beans were smokey and not too sweet. The slaw was vinegar based and sweet. I like this okay, but not as much as creamy slaw.
In comparison, Angel and Adam's plates were not near as crowded or piled as high. I knew I wouldn't be finishing my plate, I never do, it's simply too much heavy food. Adam sampled his mother's chicken and didn't care much for the Parmesan treatment of it. His country fried steak though, disappeared quickly. They finished before me, by a long shot. I managed to finish off the beans, a third of the slaw, two filets and both hush puppies, but that was it. I was full. Angel and Adam ordered dessert, I passed.
Angel asked for the dish that I would have chosen has I not been too full to enjoy it, blackberry cobbler. Cobbler is like a lazy man's pie. Fruit filling and some loose bits of crust. Adam went overboard and took the mud cake, a cake/brownie topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
I asked for a box, I had not touched my fries. So I loaded them and the two remaining filets into the white Styrofoam as Angel and Adam finished off their small desserts. For three and a half bucks each the desserts seemed overpriced for the modest serving size.

Everyone was pretty pleased with their meals, no significant complaints. My only gripe was the amount of food I was given, which is hardly a thing one should complain about. I don't understand why they don't offer the fries as one of the side options rather than as a part of the plate. This plate had a LOT of deep fried food on it. I didn't eat my fries even though I like fries, I just knew, once again, that I wasn't going to be able to finish so I picked what I like the most, the fish, and still couldn't even finish that.
The bill came to forty seven dollars and change, not really bad at all, especially considering the amount of food served.
Kaylee was efficient, polite and dutiful, the entire floor staff seemed hard working and professional. OTH is a great place to go for big plates of food, they certainly know how to cook catfish, country fried steak and corn poppers. It's an excellent place to take a big group of people, the staff didn't seem to mind at all scooting four or five tables together. The family style offerings are perfect for such groups, and they pile on enough fries on a plate to keep a whole herd of children pacified.

Off The Hook Incorporated on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. We live in DeSoto close to OTH and have been there many times. I think the food is good, but usually greasy, as you said. It's a convenient place to go and nicely decorated, though. They have the cleanest restrooms of any place in DeSoto, even in St. Louis, in my opinion. Thanks for the comments.