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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Second Street Grille
Chef Ray Richardson deserves his propers. He maintains a cozy, laid-back place where his kitchen is as comfortable preparing local faves such as Maryland crab soup and crab cakes as it is with teaming fried green tomatoes with crabmeat and a salad of green pea tendrils drizzled with a chili-lime vinaigrette. Your fish dinner may get a simple buerre blanc or a more playful treatment of Asian touches such as wasabi and pickled ginger. Richardson has as much fun with beef, chicken and pasta. 115 Second St., Lewes, 644-4121
If you’re looking for a walk on the wild side, Sedona occasionally offers game. Less exotic fare all gets a contemporary treatment that goes perfectly with the sophisticated decor of this Bethany treasure. Think peppered tuna with white beans and portobellos in a Pinot Noir reduction. Make a reservation if you’re visiting during summer. 26 Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach, 539-1200
Soffritto serves a healthy mix of Northern and Southern Italian specialties, created with fresh ingredients, in a breathtaking atmosphere. Linguini pescatore is a specialty of chef Antonio Ramos, as is nearly every seafood dish, from langostinos to Dover sole. Wednesday is fish night, when a whole fish can be ordered and filleted tableside for a mere $19.99. The copper water feature spans an entire wall of the dining room, and a nearby stone fireplace mixes with terra cotta and earth tones inside one of the prettiest dining rooms around. 1130 Kirkwood Hwy., Newark, 455-1101
Chef Steve Hagen offers the best of both turf and surf: filets, strips and slabs of prime rib with such finishes as herbed butters, mushroom pan gravy and fresh ground horseradish; pork chops with brandied apple jam and fried leeks; and salmon, tuna and mahi mahi with delicious risottos, fresh fruit salsas and unique barbecue glazes. 238 Atlantic Ave., Millville, 539-0626
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