By Ashley Strehle Hartman / World-Herald correspondent
Published in the Omaha World-Herald, December 28th, 2017
Hook & Lime: Tacos + Tequila
Where: 735 N. 14th St.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; Closed Monday
Info: 402-933-4222 or hookandlime.com
At most Mexican restaurants I’ve visited, food and drinks come in very large portions. Plates are overflowing with rice and refried beans, and margaritas are equally generous.
Hook & Lime: Tacos + Tequila takes a different approach. The portions are smaller at this restaurant and tequila bar in Omaha’s north downtown, but what food and drink you do get is packed with flavor. It’s about quality over quantity.
I’ll start with my margarita. I ordered a coconut and ginger margarita with house-made coconut and ginger syrup and fresh lime juice. You can get it with Exotico Tequila for $9 or with Tres Agaves Blanco for $12.
It was on the smaller side, and it was a far cry from the fruity, blended margaritas you’ll find in chain Mexican restaurants. It had a good kick of ginger, but it wasn’t overwhelming. It was well-balanced, complex and the best margarita I’ve had in years.
All six of Hook & Lime’s margaritas are made with 100 percent agave tequilas, fresh-squeezed juices and house-made infusions and syrups. Each comes with a choice of Exotico Tequila for $7 to $9 or blanco or reposado tequilas for $10 to $12.
The restaurant has the usual margaritas like strawberry and lime, as well as lemon and lavender, apple cider and cilantro lime margaritas. Of these, the cilantro lime margarita with citrus zest tequila, fresh lime juice and cilantro syrup was especially good.
Hook & Lime also has a selection of six cocktails for $7 to $10, including the Mezcal Old Fashioned, Paloma and Tequila & Tonic. They also have a selection of spirits including whiskey, gin, rum and vodka as well as flights of tequilas ranging from $12 to $44. There are plenty of tequila options. Hook & Lime has more than 100 tequilas and mezcals you can purchase by the glass.
For beer drinkers, Hook & Lime also has about eight beers on tap and about 20 brews available by bottle or can. They range in price from $3.50 to $6. They have red and white wine by the glass for $8 and by the bottle for $25.
Hook & Lime holds happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; 9 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and all day Sunday. During that time, you can get $3 tequila shots, $5 strawberry or lime margaritas and $3 Mexican beers, as well as food specials.
You’re going to want to take advantage of these food deals, because Hook + Lime’s food is special. It has a pared-down menu of small plates, tacos, tortas and sides. Most food items cost less than $15.
Keep in mind, though, that servings here are less generous than those at typical Mexican restaurants. Your best bet if you have a heartier appetite is a torta, a sandwich on a bolillo roll. Of these, the El Jefe is particularly good. It has carnitas, guacamole, jalapeño, pickled onion and salsa roja. It’s $12, and it’s delicious.
So, grab an El Jefe and a margarita, and you’re sure to have an enjoyable meal. You’re paying for quality over quantity, and Hook & Lime delivers.