Is this fusion restaurant serving up Cajun style seafood on Long Island alongside ramen, sushi and poke worth a stop after a day of shopping?
Restaurants often come and go quickly on Long Island. A few times, a favorite new local spot closed its doors before I could sing its praises on Yelp. (Maybe I was wrong about how great they were, after all?)
I don’t think that will be the case with Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood and Kinya Ramen & Sushi Bar in Broadway Commons, formerly the Broadway Mall.
The restaurant opened in 2019, survived the pandemic and, on a chilly Saturday night two weeks before Valentine’s Day, seemed to be going strong.
We didn’t have a wait when we showed up at 7 PM, but roughly 90% of the tables were full. I take that as a good sign, especially with the choices of places to eat in the mall and surrounding area. That includes the allure of Ikea Swedish meatballs and $1.50 ice cream.
The décor at Hook & Reeland Kinya Ramen is fun and casual, with license plates from every state on one wall and models of ocean life hanging in cages from the ceiling. A giant lobster hung on the wall behind our table.
I didn’t feel he was judging me, since I was eating crab legs and shrimp. Right?
Sushi AND Ramen AND Cajun Seafood Boil?
Before committing to Saturday night dinner, my family grabbed paper menus from the front hostess stand. We love that this venue offers three menus in one. You can mix and match from all three menus, but the prices are going to add up if you want to try a little bit of everything.
The restaurant’s concept reminded me a little of Seinfeld’s Dream Café, where owner Babhu Bhat served Mexican, Italian, Chinese and standard American fare like franks and beans. Except the combination of cajun seafood, ramen, sushi and poke bowls makes sense. From Japanese to cajun, Hook and Reel and Kinya Ramen & Sushi do all of it well!
The choices allowed me to stay keto with a bit of discipline while my son and husband could get their ramen fix. If you’re in a big group and can’t decide what you want for dinner, this could be a great choice!
My son hopped onboard for sushi tacos, which caught our eye last week when we were wandering the mall. Two of his favorite foods, combined.
He was expecting something like a California Hand Roll, but taco shaped. Mushroom in West Babylon describes the hand roll as a “sushi ice cream cone,” and that’s accurate.
The sushi tacos at Kinya Sushi featured fresh crab meat (not fake crab made from soy), smashed avocado with a bit of seasoning (I wouldn’t quite call it guacamole, but the cilantro and garlic was strong!), shredded cucumber and rice in dried Nori (seaweed), all presented in a wooden taco holder that I would have… “mistakenly” packed away in my bag if I had a bigger bag!
Kinya Ramen had a vast array of ramen choices and broths, including Miso, chicken broth, veggie broth, or pork broth. You could choose from pre-made combos or build your own ramen with your choice of toppings.
My husband prefers the Yuzu broth at Slurp in Port Jefferson. Afte years of trying, we have yet to find a ramen place he enjoys more.
My son said the noodles were as good as any he’s tasted anywhere. Any place that has fish cakes is a plus for us. But they didn’t offer kara-age chicken (fried chicken) as a choice, only chicken chashu, similar to thinly sliced chicken cutlets.
The Cajun Crab Boil
I’m a sucker for a good seafood boil. I miss Joe’s Crab Shack on Long Island. Even though it was mediocre crab pots, at best, I first fell in love with the whole concept of boiled seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack. Tin buckets on the table, bibs, nutcrackers, and wipes. Top it off with a beer or white wine – that’s a dinner to me!
Our 2022 “Rockets and Roller Coasters” vacation brought us to the Surfing Crab in Brownsville, Texas. In spite of five days at Universal Studios, three days in San Antonio, and multiple meals across the East Coast and into the deep south, Surfing Crab was my favorite “cheat meal” of the trip.
Even so, if you skip the corn and potatoes, say no to hush puppies, and go easy on the scallops and mussels, which contain more carbs than crab, shrimp or lobster, it’s easy to stay keto at a Cajun seafood restaurant.
Maintaining a keto lifestyle is all about having a rough idea of carb counts and making smarter choices most of the time. And, if I think I ate too many carbs, I just mix up my exogenous ketones for a quick boost of energy.
My son and husband ordered the Valentine’s Day Special. It gave us two bowls of ramen plus sushi tacos, which started at $28 to order as a combo, and a lychee fruit shaved ice dessert, a towering pink mound of shaved ice adorned with candy hearts and lychee fruit.
The lychee rose shaved ice dessert tasted almost like cotton candy shaved ice and my son polished off half of it! (It was easily enough for five people to share!) I enjoyed the lychee fruit, which taste like cotton candy grapes. I couldn’t find a reliable carb count online, as various sites said it has anywhere from 1.6 carbs up to 33 carbs in one fruit. However, the fruit is packed with fiber and antioxidants and overall, a healthier choice than chocolate cake or cheesecake.
If you and your significant other love ramen and like trying new dishes or new restaurants, this could be a great choice for an affordable, offbeat Valentine’s Day.
Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood and Kinya Ramen & Sushi Bar: How We Liked It
A bit of a hidden gem in the corner of Broadway Commons, with fun ambiance, reasonable prices, and a full bar, I’d recommend this place to virtually anyone.
The extensive menu of Asian fusion cuisine combined with New Orleans-style seafood – right down to hush puppies and po’boys –means there’s virtually something for everyone.
The downsides that I pointed out in this review were more a matter of my family’s personal taste. The food quality was excellent. I was especially impressed by the crab boil, with thick pieces of crab sliding right out of the shell with ease.
Sexy Crab vs. Hook & Reel
We recently ate at Sexy Crab in Levittown, which has become my go-to for crab boils on Long Island. Their garlic butter seasoning had a bit of a kick, which I loved.
That was my one mistake at Hook & Reel. I was expecting mild garlic butter to have at least some kick, and it didn’t. It was like the seafood was soaked in Red Lobster garlic butter dip.
But the shrimp, crab claws, and mussels at Hook & Reel were some of the best I’ve tasted anywhere. Every piece of snow crab leg came out in one giant piece to enjoy. The shrimp was cooked perfectly and fell out of the shell with a mere pinch. The mussels were large and tasted like the ocean.
Dollar-for-dollar, Sexy Crab comes in slightly cheaper if you want to build your own seafood boil, with a lobster tail selling for $16 vs. $19 at Hook & Reel and other items $1 or $2 less expensive at The Sexy Crab. The Sexy Crab has an all-you-can-eat option for larger appetites. But any of their boil selections is more than enough food for me, with leftovers to bring home. I’ve never been disappointed by any of their sauces, which have just the right amount of spice.
Still, the convenience of Hook & Reel’s location in the mall and the variety of other menu options sets it apart. If you’re going exclusively for Cajun seafood boils? Hit up Sexy Crab on Hempstead Turnpike, instead. It’s not far from the mall and worth the trip.
You may have tried restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines and fail to shine in any area. Hook & Reel and Kinya Ramen, because they are two distinct restaurants with separate menus sharing one space, avoid this problem. I’d love to see more restaurants like this and hope this fun place stays the course.