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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Harrington is a steak-and-potatoes kind of town, and Bonz gives its visitors some of the best. Strip dance, anyone? Rastilli Bros.-procured Kansas City strip steak, New York strip steak and hard-to-come-by Wagyu strip steak. Or go for the coveted bone-in filet mignon. You’ll enjoy a very un-casino-like 44-seat outdoor courtyard shrouded in greenery and brick floors. Harrington Raceway and Casino, U.S. 13, 398-5348
Why don’t more people know about the Brasserie? Tucked into the Christiana Hilton, it’s far more than a convenient place for travelers. It’s part steakhouse, part seafood house (chef Jim Lauser prepares some of the best crab cakes around), and all classic. We don’t see veal Oscar on enough menus these days. 100 Continental Drive, Newark, 454-1500
David Weir bridges two worlds: country pub and country inn. In the lounge, feast on burgers, quesadillas and ribs. In the dining room, try shrimp and grits with tasso ham, sherry cream and green chilis. Happy hours are lively. The dining room stays genteel. Come summer, choose from three outdoor dining areas: the vine-covered front porch, the villa-like rear patio, or the rooftop deck. 5812 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 656-9776
The Buttery is a rare package of liveliness, intimacy and innovation, all in a comfy Victorian mansion. Chefs are passionate about farm-fresh and organic produce and meats, but not at the cost of flavor or true innovation. The Buttery has no trouble with contempo dishes, but its crab cakes, bleu cheese salad and seafood chowder will never be replaced. Opulent dining is a steal at $28 for three courses between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and nice weather is for dining on the lovingly restored veranda. The Buttery’s wine program, with an emphasis on small producers and estate-bottled selections, is legendary. 102 Second St., Lewes, 645-7755
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