Fresh Off the Hook is a bit of a misnomer. Like the perennial Best of Boise winner's original location on Milwaukee Street, most of the fare at Fresh Off the Hook at BODO is fried or covered in a ranchy, tartary, buttery sauce.
But while that might not make the spot "fresh," in a lean, lemon-kissed kind of way, it does make it delicious--something that has garnered a die-hard following.
Fresh Off the Hook at BODO, which occupies the former Gandolfo's New York Deli space, is a notable aesthetic upgrade from the original's seaside-shack-squeezed-into-a-strip-mall feel. Large upholstered booths occupy the Broad Street-facing side of the restaurant while a cluster of wooden tables lit by large Eighth Street-facing windows hold down the more charming back area.
The restaurant offers a nearly identical menu to its original location--fish and chips, calamari strips, steamers, hot seafood salad--with a few notable exceptions.
The green bean fries ($4.99) arrived fried to a dense, dark brown clustered around a thick bowl of ranch. The fries had a light Funyun-esque aftertaste, and the whole affair packed the caloric punch of a full meal.
A grilled salmon sandwich ($9.99 for half, served with soup), glistened with a garlicky butter sheen. The crispy perimeter gave way to a flaky, moist interior between bites of crisp romaine, a slather of tartar and slightly doughy focaccia. The accompanying shrimp tomato bisque, with warm hunks of tomato swimming in a cream broth with a couple of bay shrimp, was a satisfying foil to the bundled BODO crowds shivering outside the window that blustery winter afternoon.
My dining companion's plate of mahi mahi fish tacos ($10.99)--one grilled and the other fried--was equally warming. A rivulet of lime-cilantro dressing dripped from the flour tortilla with each mouthful of tangy grilled fish, shredded cabbage, diced tomato, cheese and guacamole. The fried version was less satisfying, with a light batter that sponged up the creamy dressing to a doughy effect.
As our server brought out two cups of complementary rainbow sorbet, it was clear that Fresh Off the Hook at BODO hasn't strayed far from the original location's successful formula. But whether that formula will translate in BODO--with another seafood house a short cast away and neighboring restaurants serving similar menu items--is yet to be seen.