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Bait and Hook: Good Effort, Needs Work

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Remember that meatball restaurant on the corner of 2nd & 14th, the one that closed about eight seconds after you noticed it was open? It's now Bait and Hook, a few-frills seafood restaurant that's trying pretty hard to be good, and may yet succeed.

Pluses: The food is good. I had a steamed lobster, which was faultless and came with surprisingly good grilled corn - you'd never know it was out of season - and very decent coleslaw. My companion had the lobster roll, which he liked a lot, especially since he was able to specify that it be chive-free. We also shared six Bluepoint oysters. Yes, they are the merlot of oysters, but they were good anyway: neither too enormous nor too skimpy, shucked well, and accompanied by three sauces (cocktail, horseradish, and what would been mignonette if it had shallots, which it did not). Prices are generally low. The lobster roll was $18, and it was not tiny, and it came with a green salad and a pickle. Happy hour runs 'til 8, so those oysters were $1 each, and beer and wine were $4. Decent beer, beer I would order anyway, like Sixpoint and Smuttynose.

Minuses: Prices are not universally low. My lobster was $27, which while not ridiculous, is out of line with the rest of the menu. Serving the cole slaw and the lobster in the same dish meant the lobster got soaked with dressing. Our server was friendly, and forgetful. The lobster was served without butter or lemon (or a bowl for shells, or a lobster fork, 'til I asked for both). Five minutes after we asked him for the check, he left the restaurant - forever? possibly - without dropping the check or telling anyone else to do so. And we noticed that a neighboring table had to ask for the lobster garnish that should have topped the bisque.

The owner or manager dropped by our table a few times to check in, which was nice. The place is worth another try, especially since I think it will get better as the staff figures things out.

http://www.baitandhooknyc.com/

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