One Potato, Two Potato
Decent fare and plenty of good drink make two Celtic newcomers cause for a toast.
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Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House
Dover Downs Hotel
1131 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover
Oysters on the half shell, bouillabaisse
The menu’s section of Celtic cuisine includes all the predictable dishes: Guinness stew, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash (sausages served over potatoes), and fish and chips. The cod, dipped in ale batter, tasted fresh—true of everything we sampled.
As befits any good pub, Kildare’s offers plenty of sandwiches and finger food. It’s in this segment that Kildare’s displays real creativity. Meaty grilled portobello mushrooms stand in for steak in the vegetarian cheesesteak, which also features sprouts, grilled veggies and American cheese.
If only fast-food restaurants could make a morning menu item such as the Irish breakfast sandwich, a blend of fluffy scrambled eggs, melted cheese and cubed brunch potatoes on a seeded baguette. Next time I’ll add bangers or bacon for $1.
Glistening oysters on the half shell are the main attraction at Doc Magrogan’s, and each one I sampled was outstanding. Island Creek oysters from Massachusetts were delightfully briny, shining with the clean taste of the ocean. Piper’s Point oysters from Prince Edward Island were milder and sweeter, while the succulent Deer Creek oysters from Washington had size on their side.
The Mediterranean salad featured colossal snow crab claws that were sweet and slightly salty. I was equally pleased with the size of the two fat shrimp. The salmon, however, was surprisingly bland.
More attention should go to the salad’s accoutrements. Instead of the pedestrian black olives, Kalamata olives would have upped the flavor. The tomato wedges were wan, though fresh local tomatoes were still available when I visited.
The popcorn crawfish came in a bowl big enough to serve four hungry men. Into the clams casino, Doc’s throws andouille sausage. Clams played the right role in the bouillabaisse, which included linguini and chopped tomatoes, making it more like a cioppino. Still a seafood stew by any name, the medley included a decent-sized lobster tail, perfectly cooked shrimp that twisted in the broth like fusilli, and mussels.
I like the idea of offering eight types of seafood with several different sauces so you can pick and choose. Adding lump crabmeat for an additional $4 is brilliant, though I didn't care for the lemon-butter sauce I requested on my tasty mahi-mahi.
Service at Kildare’s was efficient, perhaps a nod toward the businessperson’s schedule. At Doc’s, dirty plates lingered in front of us. The place is new, so it was working out the bugs. Regardless, its best features are fresh, unadorned seafood, especially oysters served with a frosty beer. Kildare’s is all about the nosh and a pint. Consequently, these sister restaurants are the perfect spots for friends who want to say, “Bottoms up.”
Page 3: In Nog We Trust