a good chance most people haven’t
happened upon the Hogfish Bar and Grill for their
latest lunch or dinner excursion, as downtown Stock
the first place you think of when it comes to
But if you want some of the freshest seafood
around, coupled with completely authentic Keys-maritime
dining, consider this establishment imperative to
your next eating experience.
Tucked away amid Safe
Harbor Marina, the Hogfish Bar and Grill provides
instant atmosphere even before you enter: shrimp boats
dock with hauled- in catch, artists create in studios
nearby, sailors work fastidiously on their fixer-upper
dream boats, and those who provide the restaurant with
its daily catch saunter in and out in rubber boots
and sun-wrinkled smiles.
This alone will feed your
Most of the choices in feeding your body, however,
seem at first to be of standard bar fare: chili
cheese fries, conch fritters, fried calamari, shrimp
or fish and chips. Even so, you can be sure the
fish did not get thawed that day from some back-room
freezer. The bottom line, however, is that the
Hogfish is, after all, a bar and a grill, not the
other way around.
With a newly expanded kitchen, though,
the menu is and will be growing right along with
The way I see it, a can of Bud goes better with
three-way wings, a game of pool and Jack Johnson
on the jukebox than a salad served on plastic (which
they do serve, if you are in need of some leafy greens).
To give the jukebox an occasional rest, live music
plays 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
who want to sit down to enjoy their meal, the picnic-style
tables out on the deck provide you with seating and
salt air all in one. There you can order a Cuban
mix ($5.25), slow-smoked pork barbecue sandwich ($6.95),
a set of chili dogs ($5.25) or a Caesar salad topped
with chicken ($7.25) or hogfish ($8.95).
But the big
winner and must-try at the Hogfish is its namesake
sandwich ($8.95): a 6- to 7-ounce filet grilled,
blackened or fried (if you must) served on a Cuban
hoagie with the accompanying lettuce, tomato, onion
and tartar sauce with jalapeno spiced fries on the
I had my hogfish blackened. It was light, slightly
spicy, buttery tasting and overall the most mammoth
fish sandwich I’ve ever eaten. And so fresh,
if it were served sushi style, it would still be wiggling
in the basket.
My fellow epicurean adventurer chose the
steak and cheese sandwich ($7.25). (What
can I say? He’s
from Philly.) Now I’m not from
Philly, but the tastes I took reminded
me of my more carnivorous days back in
New England, and I gladly let this juicy
morsel drip down my chin and fingers.
Loaded with cheese, green and red peppers
and onions, my friend deemed this as
good as it gets back home.
just the way they want you to feel at
the Hogfish Bar and Grill.
With the Beatles
streaming through the jukebox, harbor views dotted
local work boats, friendly, laid-back service and
absolutely no pretension to be found for at least
2 miles around, you’ll want to make
regular visits. Sit back, relax and
recall what it might have been like in the Lower
Keys long before Disney started docking its cruise
ships at the other harbors nearby.