In a matter of days The Hoxton emerged in the space formerly occupied by the now-closed Irish pub, Lucky Clover. It is a stripped down version of the former bar with a stark interior and a New England-inspired menu.
All of the wood paneling and Irish flare was quickly pulled off the restaurant's facade. In its place came smokey blue-grey paneling. The same for the inside. When you look close enough, you can see the holes where decorations were once pinned to the walls.
The layout of the restaurant, being touted as a trendy 'Urban Beach House' is the same as it was when it was the Lucky Clover. The wood paneling and flat-screen televisions have been removed from inside the U-shaped bar, but screens are still hung around the restaurant broadcasting various sports channels. Behind the stage is an oversized picture of Audrey Hepburn and nearby is a picture of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill throwing a peace sign.
The menu here was been stripped down as well, and the bar food has been traded for limited, mostly seafood offerings. The kitchen is run by Matt Hinckley, formerly of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink while Nobu veteran Santiago Rodriguez is overseeing the project. Rodriguez heads the Vasilli Group, which runs The Hoxton and has an ambitious plan to open two more British-styled restaurants, Boxpark and Harvey Wolf in the adjoining space on the ground floor of The Axis condominiums.
The New England Clam Bake ($45) was the restaurant's piece de resistance. A full lobster came split in half with small clams, plump mussels, shrimp and grilled corn all topped off with a fresh bay leaf. The lobster was a bit on the small side, yet the meat was succulent and sweet.
The lobster roll ($15) came in a just barely toasted brioche that's light with a hint of sweetness. They don't short you on the lobster, yet it's tossed in a thick, mayonnaise dressing that killed the crustaceans delicate flavor.
Swan's Island Mussel's ($14) were plump, juicy and creamy, just the way the black mollusk ought to be. They're cooked in butter and white wine (why fix something that ain't broken?) and were served with two buttery slabs of toasted bread. Even though the menu is meant for sharing, and the mussels disappeared quickly we would've liked a couple more in the bowl.
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The Hoxton wasn't playing around when it came to the fish and chips. They didn't waste any time trying to be authentic and serve the dish on newspaper. Instead we had crispy, fresh cut fries that tasted like real potatoes and fat fish fillets made from Atlantic Cod. No puny fish sticks here. At $14 the price is bit steep, but worth it.