Excellent | Worth a Detour
Review by: Jane & Michael Stern
Here is what we did not eat one recent evening at Hyman Seafood: amberjack, cod, flounder, mahi mahi, mako, monkfish, snapper, hokie, salmon, tilapia, trout, tuna, and black drum. Those were the fish of the day on the blackboard, and below them were grouper, stuffed wahoo, and fried lobster tails, which we didn’t sample, either. Local oysters were coming in and available on the half-shell or fried, and we didn’t even have appetite enough for them. The point is that Hyman has a big, big menu – mostly seafood, with a few token meats and pastas – and it’s bound to be a little frustrating to pass up so many good things.
What we DID have was swell: she-crab soup that is thick, rich as cream sauce itself, and loaded with meat; a broad dish with thirty steamed spiced shrimp, and a house specialty, crispy flounder. The flounder is an amazing-looking plate of food: the whole fish, beheaded and dressed, scored and fried to crusty succulence so that the meat virtually pops off the bone when you poke it with a fork. It comes with a small ramekin of hot pepper jelly, plus hushpuppies and cole slaw. And the table is outfitted with tartar sauce and cocktail sauce for garnishes.
Hyman’s is big, boisterous, and almost always crowded. Tables range from normal-level to several tall ones that require climbing up onto a chair similar to a bar stool. Somehow, these perches provide a better sense of ambiance, as you have a fuller view of the commotion in the dining room, the way a high vehicle gives you better perspective on traffic.
The dining room is ancient, featuring tin ceilings, pine floors, and old English bricks with oyster mortar; and while the restaurant itself dates back only to 1986, the Hyman family’s ancestors have been running a business here since 1890, when they became one of the first distributors of Hanes underwear in the Southeast.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner, Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|