The Quality is No Hoax at Hoak’s Lakeshore

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the front of Hoak's Lakeshore Restaurant in Hamburg, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

Summer cooking means grill cooking in Western New York and when the sun is out there is no better time to dine outside or on the lake. Known for their quality and some of the best surf and turf in the Southtowns, Hoak’s Lakeshore has been serving Hamburg, New York along Lake Erie only the best for decades.

Hoak’s fried lake perch, while seasonal, offers a great taste of local Western New York ingredients. Served with coleslaw and choice of potato in true fish fry fashion, the tantalizing fried dish come in broiled, lemon pepper, Cajun, or garlic parmesan preparation options. The Hoak’s Famous Fish Fry, broiled fish, and yellow pike feature the same options.

The seafood specialties offer up a great deal of variety for diners as well. The shrimp plate comes fried or broiled, as does the scallop plate, or one could try the shrimp and scallop plate to sample both. The fried clam strips are a unique bite, while the Buffalo style fried shrimp come tossed in Buffalo sauce with a side of bleu cheese for a true taste of Western New York.

Those seeking a massive amount of food will want either the fried seafood plate or the broiled seafood plate. The fried plate comes with fish, clam strips, shrimp, and scallops, while the broiled plate features fish, a king crab leg, scallops, and shrimp. Recommended for two, but technically always still an option for one is the broiled supreme seafood plate, featuring two ten to twelve ounce lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, fish, and a king crab leg.

Two other supreme seafood plates exist at Hoak’s. The broiled cold water lobster tail dinner comes with soup or salad and choice of potato or slaw for the lobster-lover. The Alaskan king crab dinner comes with the same options, featuring three quarters of a pound of the crab delicacy.

Steak specialties are just as sought after at Hoak’s as the seafood, and each include choice of soup or salad and choice of potato and vegetable. The New York strip steak comes in at fourteen ounces, while the steak and shrimp features the same steak with four jumbo shrimp fried or broiled. The surf and turf is a monster of a plate, featuring the fourteen ounce C.A.B. strip steak and a ten to twelve ounce lobster tail.

The traditional dinners at Hoak’s feature the same accoutrements as steak dinners. The boneless chicken dinner comes in choice of sauce between BBQ, Cajun, honey mustard, or lemon pepper, while the broiled pork chops feature two eight ounce chops cooked to perfection with a side of applesauce.

When it comes to the quality of the ingredients at Hoak’s, one of the best ways to view their impeccable standards is through a salad off the menu. The salads are not small, in fact, most feature a beautifully grilled up slice of meat, like the seven-ounce strip steak loin or ten-ounce grilled chicken breast. Therein is the quality, the thick char along the perfectly plump protein, and the sheen of the wet lettuce and vegetables catching the lights above.

The freshness is right in front of the diner, always front and center, is the point. The falafel salad achieves the same effect, not featuring any meat at all but still gorgeously trimmed and prepared, for a true vegetarian option as well. The grilled shrimp salad features two grilled shrimp skewers for a pescatarian option, while the Julienne comes with turkey, ham, and roast beef.

All the classic Western New York sandwiches are present on the menu too, with the roast beef on kummelweck featuring home roasted C.A.B top rounds, and the original buffalo chicken sandwich available deep-fried or grilled with the original recipe dating back to 1988. The Reuben, hot roast beef and gravy, and corned beef sandwiches all come in the classic style of preparation, both excellent options, while the menu also flaunts the Hoak’s Famous Fish Sandwich on rye as one of the specials.

Hoak’s has a healthy stock of chicken sandwiches in general too. The Chicken Florentine comes grilled with spinach, mushrooms, mozzarella, and bacon, while the grilled chicken sandwich offers a more customizable experience with choice of sauce for a buck extra. The chicken cordon bleu is a must-try too, layered and coated with gooey Swiss cheese for an extra savory touch.

Hoak’s Famous Steak End Burger highlights a small portion of the menu for the loose ends on the menu entitled, “Burgers and other favorites.” The eight-ounce burger comes on kummelweck with the basic trimmings of lettuce and tomato for free, with onion, bacon, and cheese about three-fifty extra. The healthier option vegetarian breaded chik’n patty sandwich can also be found here, as well as chicken in the basket, four pieces of deep-fried chicken with coleslaw.

Appetizers at Hoak’s are a hearty mix of seafood and bar classics, like mozzarella sticks and beer-battered onions rings. Chicken wings can be found here in singles and doubles, with hot, medium, BBQ, and mild sauce options, while chicken fingers are in with the burgers and other favorites.

The shrimp cocktail and the peel and eat shrimp are solid choices for a treat from the sea. The clams are great too, available in a half dozen or dozen, but the coup de grace of the starters is the seafood stuffed mushroom caps. The earthy, just a pinch of salty goodness cooked into the veggie classic is downright mouth-watering.

Mainstay soups at Hoak’s keep the hearty and seafood elements in play, while the menu also features a rotating soup of the day. The French onion soup au gratin is a mind-bogglingly good blend of savory and salty, while the New England clam chowder is an undeniable masterpiece in terms of creamy good broth and wholesome flavor. The Manhattan clam chowder is only available on Fridays, but undoubtably worth setting the day aside for.

On Saturdays and Sundays only, Hoak’s does an amazing prime roast. The queen cut comes in at ten ounces, while the king goes up to sixteen. Both are served with chef salad and choice of potato, and should definitely be a new diner’s first choice if they are there on the weekend.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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