Back in 2018, I featured Hooked Up Seafood in Wildwood as one of my stops during the initial season of Shackin’ Up for the Summer. It was one of the best spots I had the pleasure of trying that year. The vibe was all but perfect: Hooked Up’s rustic, run-down looking shack sits right off Rio Grande Avenue, nestled up against the marsh with their own fishing boat docked right outside and a handful of picnic tables for customers to battle it out for when things get busy during the dinner rush.
The food blew me away. Incredible batter-fried shrimp, fish tacos and a grilled swordfish sandwich all etched themselves in my brain like fond childhood memories not to be forgotten. Since then, I have made a point to recommend this spot as my No. 1 pick anytime someone is looking for fresh seafood in the Wildwood area.
But despite my fondness for it, it had been three years since I had sampled the goods. So I went back to see if things were still as solid as I remembered them being.
Keep ItFried shrimp ($21.95): Yes, I had fried shrimp last time I was here, and though I was tempted to order all new items this time around, I couldn’t resist grabbing a batch of these. And I’m happy to report that they were every bit as good as I remember them: Perfectly deep fried in a crunchy batter of medium thickness that magnificently complemented the shrimp’s light and sweet flavor. My platter came with cole slaw and french fries, the fries being the absolute standout of the two. Pro tip: Dunk them in tartar sauce and you’ll forget ketchup on fries was ever even a thing.
Fried scallop skewer ($17.95): I ordered the seared scallops, and they made me the fried ones instead, but no matter, as I really can’t get upset about having more delicious batter on my plate.
Before I started this column I wasn’t much of a fan of scallops, mostly because in the wrong chef’s hands they become a chewy, distasteful nightmare, but I have been lucky enough to enjoy some really great ones recently, and Hooked Up’s version was no exception. Freshly caught from local waters, they were delicious. With a bit of tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon, they became all but perfection, even if the batter that coated them had a tendency to fall off a bit.
Throw It Back Seared tuna sandwich ($17.95): I hesitate to even put this in a category as harshly named as “throw it back,” because the tuna itself on this sandwich was superb, but I have to take points off for an overly dry bun and the fact that the soy-based sauce that accompanied this sandwich was far too thin to realistically be used as a condiment. They would have been better off with a glaze of some form. Still not bad by any stretch.
Trophy winner:Fried scallop skewer
Hooked Up Seafood is located at 1044 W. Rio Grande Ave. in Wildwood. Go to HookedUpSeafood.com.