The Restaurant Issue: 96 Favorites
In our tiny state, 96 restaurants may seem like a lot, so let’s put this in perspective: The Delaware Restaurant Association counts 1,900 members, everything from pizza joints to Zagat-listed classics. How do we choose 96? Editors considered the atmosphere, novelty, quality of cuisine, reputation, longevity, wine program, service and value at 200 top-tier restaurants (plus a few just over the state line), including past Best of Delaware winners. We didn’t include every neighborhood tavern—we’ll get to them in another issue—nor every neighborhood Italian place. (Find them at www.delawaretoday.com/Delaware-Today/February-2008/Dining-Guide-World-Class/.) Left standing: a diverse roster of places you simply must visit—if you haven’t already.
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Darius Mansoory’s smashingest of smash hits is bathed in black lacquer, deep red walls, and more Japanese pop art (hello, Racer X) than you’ll ever need. An approachable but never-dull pan-Asian menu is highlighted with Western sushi rolls like its famous Hairy Mexican and the inventive Sahara Roll—snow crab and asparagus topped with Cajun-spiced white tuna. During happy hour, select sushi rolls are priced two for one, sake-tinis are poured with profusion and Wilmington’s younger power set settles in. Part of Miki’s strength is its ability to attract non-sushi types with solid seafood and steak offerings, plus stir-fry, tempura and things like fried Oreo cheesecake spring rolls. 1212 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638
After a not-so-seismic shift from New American- to Mediterranean-inspired fare (think more pastas, seafood, salumi, and risotto), Moro, under James Beard Award-nominee chef-owner Michael DiBianca, remains one of the most innovative dining forces in the state. Moro prides itself on its ability to source the best and most unique product, be it seafood from top-notch Philly fishmongers Samuel and Sons, or salami flown in overnight from Seattle’s Creminelli Fine Meats. Perhaps the best way to experience Moro is with a three-, four- or five-course chef’s tasting menu, created by DiBianca on a whim using the best ingredients of the day. 1307 N. Scott St., Wilmington, 777-1800
Nage is a fine balance of comfort and spectacle that simultaneously satisfies adventurous guests, a creative kitchen and the Sunday supper types. The menu changes daily, and has to, in order to keep up with the imaginations of Kevin Reading and Hari Cameron. Part of the fun is watching the gastronomes in the kitchen take an ingredient and run with it (see sumptuous fig halvah with pistachio ice cream and fig compote) or take a familiar dish and turn it ever so slightly on its side (see slow-cooked beef tenderloin with mulled red wine gastrique and mustard seed jam). One mainstay, Nage’s Kobe beef burger, is considered one of the best in the country. Great deals are plentiful, so keep a keen eye toward happy hour ($6 and under bar food), Sunday seafood dinners, farm-to-table dinners, VIP deals, and more. 19730 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 226-2037
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