Great service and awesome food is the Holy Mackerel vision.
Seafood can really stink, literally. If the dish that you order isn’t fresh, the chances of you patting your belly and saying “mmmmmm” after the meal are incredibly diminished. Likewise, if it’s not cooked right, then the excitement of texture, smell, presentation and taste has been eroded.
That’s why it is such a joy when a seafood restaurant comes along and does it right. Holy Mackerel entered the scene early this year and has been racking up good ratings ever since. We live right down the street, so for months we’ve heard and felt Holy Mackerel’s call to “Eat here! Eat here!”. We finally caved (which didn’t take much) after we saw the great things people were saying about them. I really like how Holy Mackerel has revamped the restaurant and made it clean, crisp and cutely nautical. (Is “cutely” a word? My spellcheck ignored it, so I guess so!)
We started off our meal with a handful of appetizers, including their “Pound O’ Wings”. Being that we were visiting a seafood restaurant one would assume that anything BBQ related would play second fiddle to their seafood. Holy Mackerel definitely proved us wrong on this one. They actually smoke their BBQ in house and it tastes reaaallly good! The flavors were excellent and had a nice little kick at the end of each bite. I kept grabbing for that celery since I’m a little “wimpy” sometimes with spicy food. Tuna Sashimi and Shrimp was the next appetizer in my mouth. I loved the combination of the tuna sashimi with their coleslaw and the added spice of a little hot sauce dripped delicately over top. The owner suggested we also try their fried oysters. I’ll admit, I am not a big lover of oysters because most have disappointed me and left me biting down with all my might only to realize I was eating a rubber shoe. But I was willing to give them another shot. So, I exercised my jaw muscles like Joey Chestnut* and got ready for war; when much to my surprise they simply melted in my mouth. I think I must have told four people that day how surprised I was at the tenderness of Holy Mackerel’s oysters! Our last appetizer was the Shrimp and Grits. This was one of those addicting dishes where you take one bite, then keep taking another and another until you realize that there will be no leftovers for tomorrow. The kicker was how they put andouille sausage gravy on the grits. Fantastic.
Let’s move on to the main dishes, shall we? We received one order of Alaskan Crab Legs. We saved some of these to give to our daughters the next day for dinner and they absolutely loved them! Holy Mackerel actually has an awesome all you can eat crab leg night on Mondays, so you’ll have to plan for that. Our waitress highly recommended their Seared Scallops and said that was her favorite dish. Even though she praised them, I was completely unprepared for how delicious it was. I’m so excited about this dish that I can barely wait until “Mindy’s favorite thing” to tell you about them. Our last two entrees were the Chicken Norfolk and the Grilled Shrimp Wrap. The Chicken Norfolk was topped with crab meat and Smithfield Country ham. Needless to say, this was a unique and tasty chicken dish. I also really enjoyed the Grilled Shrimp Wrap. It reminded me of a BLT with shrimp because it was made with bacon, tomatoes, ranch dressing, and onions. I picture this as a perfect summer afternoon lunch item. Just when we thought we were done, the owner came out to chat with us and asked if we had tried their peanut butter pie yet. If you read our last review about The Surrey House you know there is no way I can resist a peanut butter dessert. I tried to contain myself as he described it as made in house with a chocolate ganache on top. I “served” Eddie by eating the remainder of the dessert that he was too full to finish.
Holy Mackerel has already established itself in such a short amount of time as a great local seafood restaurant (and BBQ too!). They try to get all their seafood fresh, and as much as possible, buy from local vendors, farms, etc. They also have some great hand crafted cocktails and very creative drinks. Their bitters and sours are made in house and they try to use VA based breweries for drafts. So, when you go to Holy Mackerel, you know they have put a lot of attention into giving you fresh dishes, hand crafted drinks and warm service. I’m excited for you to give them a try.
*Joey Chestnut holds the record for the most hot dogs eaten within 10 minutes at 69 hot dogs as of 2013.
Mindy’s Favorite Thing: As I sit here and think about the Seared Scallops dish, I feel like a little puppy with my tongue wagging in anticipation of some delicious dog treats to be placed in front of me. The scallops were perfectly, and I mean perfectly cooked. I can’t imagine the texture being any more soft and succulent. Their menu description is as follows: “Perfectly seared jumbo scallops, served with Jasmine rice, grilled asparagus, and lemon butter sauce.” That lemon butter sauce in combination with those ridiculous jumbo scallops was amazing. Any time I hear the word “scallops” I will think of this dish. Amazing. Just amazing.
What Mindy would like to try next time: Can I say I’d like to “try” the Seared Scallops again? No? All right, then I would like to try the Sockeye Salmon Wrap – “Grilled Salmon, field greens, tomato, cucumber, cilantro aioli”. I like salmon, I love cilantro, and I already know I liked the Grilled Shrimp Wrap, so I’m pretty sure this would be a winner, too.
Eddie’s Favorite Thing: Pound O’ Wings. “House-smoked chicken wings served hot, mild, or BBQ, and garnished with cucumber, celery, and bleu cheese or ranch dressing.” WOW. The flavor of the smoked wings combined with their unique and homemade BBQ sauce is incredible.
What Eddie would like to try next time: Smithfield Ribs. “Smoked in house and rubbed with our secret spice blend, then grilled and brushed with our sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Served with fries and cole slaw.” Ribs from Smithfield and smothered in that delicious BBQ sauce that they used on their wings? I’m in.