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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Stingray Sushi Bar + Asian Latino Grill
Owner Darius Mansoory pulled out all the stops with Stingray, which melds seemingly incompatible elements in surprisingly harmonious ways. Ultra-contemporary Stingray lets you start with pork potstickers or fish tacos. Come dinner, go the other way, if you’d like. Latin: Pan-roasted pork tenderloin over black bean-corn salsa with ginger-lime beurre blanc served with butternut squash roasted with coriander. Asian: Pad Thai of wok-cooked duck breast with julienne vegetables, baby spinach and rice noodles covered with peanut sauce and topped with pan-seared scallops. Get it? 59 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-6476
Stone Balloon Winehouse
Its top-shelf wines will blow experts away, but the excellent and affordable wine-by-the-glass program is ideal for those still exploring. The food is equally good. Chef Jason Dietterick, formerly of Rehoboth’s excellent Nage, is big on farm-to-table, hearty but not overly heavy nouveau-bistro cuisine, and there’s a well-rounded cheese program. Visit Tuesday nights for Dietterick’s three-courses for $22 dinner. The dining room harbors an Old World feeling. 115 E. Main St., Newark, 266-8111
Sully’s is the chain place we just can’t ignore. Clubby in an uptown way, it never disappoints. Portions of its famous sides are enough for two. The seafood starters are fresh and delicious. The wedge salad is simply classic. The fish entrées range from simple (broiled lobster tail) to conservatively contemporary (Hong Kong Chilean sea bass). Then there’s all that aged beef. In a place so right, there may be many martinis to choose from, but only one to sip: gin and Vermouth, please. 5525 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 479-7970
Toscana Kitchen + Bar
Toscana has never been afraid to reinvent itself. Dan Butler’s legions expect him to stay ahead of the curve. His housemade tortellini, coated in sun-dried tomato cream, is a simple luxury, and the Really Good Fries aren’t just a clever name. Italian at heart, Toscana does a mean Sunday fish and pasta dinner, and 20 select bottles of wine are offered for only $20 each. One of the few upscale spots with a really lively nightlife scene, Toscana is where Trolley Square’s vintage crowd hangs with cosmos and John Dalys. 1412 N. Dupont St., Wilmington, 654-8001
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