Our Miami-based team packed up our gear and boarded a plane to cowboy country in America’s heartland – Oklahoma City – to discover for ourselves what’s going on at the Off the Hook Seafood and More. Our first time traveling with our teenage interns, who took these amazing photos (I’m totally joking. The photos are horrible. Sorry guys) was a major learning curve, but we managed to get through it. Now, you may wonder why a food writer would leave Miami, where with just two skips and a hop, he could eat same day caught fresh seafood to travel so far for a good seafood meal? Chef Corey Harris is why. He and his beautiful wife, Loniesah Harris, have created Oklahoma City’s most delicious and addictive seafood establishment at his young, yet popular eatery located at 1920 S Meridian Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73108.
A culinary degree graduate of Platt College, Chef Harris opened this eatery a little over two years ago with hopes of providing a Cajun flair to the local food scene while focusing on fresh seafood options. He’s done that, and more. The spacious restaurant has a full bar with televisions surrounding almost every corner.
Philadelphia Eagle’s Quarterback, Jalen Hurts was dining at the bar when we arrived, so of course we went over to bother him. He was a good sport and shared how much he LOVED the food and the incredible customer service.
Connecting with him had me feeling like a celebrity myself, because I was eating the same food as this multimillionaire kid who could go anywhere.
Deciding what to order was a bit overwhelming because everything on the menu looked amazing, so we did what any other smart consumer would do and ordered multiple entrees. Everything was delicious, but we have to share a few memorable standouts.
We started with one of the absolute best items on the menu, the unique and tasty Smothered Seafood Fries ($11), which were loaded with a finger biting lobster cream sauce with shrimp, crawfish, lump crab meat, and baby clams and topped with bacon, cheese, fried onions, and chives.
Have you ever eaten something so good, you might be willing to fight if someone tried to eat from your plate? It’s one of those. I would have whipped somebody’s ass if they even motioned toward the plate to be honest with you. Each bite was amazing in every way imaginable. The sauce reminded me of a tricked-out bisque with its creaminess, underscored by a shrimp-like flavor yielding a slight sweet-salty, and succulent, buttery reception that wove each topping within its culinary tapestry of evolving flavor.
I was so greedy that I ordered the lobster grilled cheese with the fries to keep the lobster party going! Chef was showing out with this delicious sandwich, which included grilled lobster meat with gooey Monterey jack cheese, sautéed peppers, sriracha mayo, onions, and delectable grilled poblano peppers!
After finishing these two, I went to the bathroom to sing Hezekiah Walker’s “Grateful” to give thanks to the good Lord for this amazing meal. I felt like I was about to get slain in the spirit, then remembered I had to drive, so I collected myself. My gratitude for what I just experienced took me right back into my praise break, excited to get to the three other items waiting on me to try. Won’t He Do It!
Coming back to the table freshly from under the spirit, I went for the crispy wontons ($9). Chef Corey and I had briefly discussed our mutual love for Asian cuisine. His nod to that love was the idea behind this delicious appetizer. Each crispy piece was fried to perfection and stuffed with shrimp, crawfish, lump crab, cream cheese, red onions, scallions, and garlic sriracha. If this description is giving you crab rangoon vibes, then you are half correct. I say half because it has its own twist that keeps it as a stand-out from its authentic Burmese cousin.
Next came the Jumbo Shrimp and Grits. I don’t know who the hell this Chef thinks that he is, but whoever it is, he is exactly that. I mean, who would imagine that in Oklahoma City, someone is churning out Carolinian quality shrimp and grits? Nobody. I love visiting the city, but I’m sorry. Ain’t nobody ever gonna say, “You know who has amazing shrimp and grits? Oklahoma City.”
Well, there is a first time for everything, and I am now shouting this statement to the top of the culinary mountain! OKLAHOMA HAS SOME BOMB ASS SHRIMP AND GRITS! I absolutely loved the way each jumbo shrimp was seasoned, sautéed and beautifully placed on top a pile of soft, creamy, buttery grits for a palate party that would get even the most conservative foodie dancing out of their chair. The combination worked so exquisitely that I ate it all without even thinking about sharing with my hungry nephews, who watched me devour this after ordering their chicken sandwiches (The chicken sandwich was bomb as well. My greedy self-stole a piece when they went outside to speak with Mr. Hurts. They got caught slippin). They also ordered the Jerk Chicken Wings and Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich. According to them, it was the best they’d ever had.
Lastly, for dessert I ordered the Chicken and Pancake Combination ($10), two brined chicken thighs fried to perfection over an oversized fluffy buttermilk pancake served with a compound creole butter and a chalice of honey syrup that was poured over the entire dish like the hot glaze over an anticipating freshly fried doughnut! I have been asking for the longest time for someone to do a fried chicken and pancake dish to replace the now customary waffle and fried chicken plate, and this entree is all that I expected, decadence at its finest. And don’t you dare judge me for eating this for dessert! Nobody likes to be fat shamed! Truly one of my favorites, I loved this plate so much I’ve tried in vain to find something comparable in South Florida.
Chef Corey Harris was humble, skilled, and eager to serve every patron in his establishment. Even with an NFL rookie quarterback at his bar, Corey’s focus was on our party and the various parties in his restaurant. When we had a chance to chat, he shared that he cooks his entrees in a very orderly fashion, never mixing fryer oil for the seafood, vegetables, or other animal proteins. He also makes certain to purchase from the highest quality seafood suppliers.
For those reasons and more, I’m certain his restaurant will continue to grow and feed the beautiful people of Oklahoma City for years to come. Check them out at one of their two locations for New Orleans Cajun inspired seafood. I for one, had an unforgettable experience. Maybe you’ll catch Mr. Hurts at the bar as well!
Visit them at 1920 S Meridian Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73108 or call them at Phone: (405) 606-6040 or their second location at 125 W Britton Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73114.