The Best of Delaware 2009
From crab cakes and cheesesteaks to prime rib and clam bakes, little Delaware is packed with great places to eat and terrific places to shop. Here’s the cream of the crop.
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Critics, upstate: You may discover the Brasserie Grille during your stay at the Christiana Hilton. But if you haven’t checked in lately, you may have missed the restaurant’s fine cuisine, handsome wood decor and cozy bar. Chef James A. Lauser oversees inventive specials, but his kitchen is known for producing nearly perfect steaks broiled at 1,600 degrees, a temperature that seals in juices. Another notable dish is the tropical shrimp Cobb salad, a colorful display of papaya, pineapple and avocado dressed in an orange pecan vinaigrette. The sommelier’s list offers several interesting wines from Italy, France, California and Australia, to name a few. Popular choices include the L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley—which earned a score of 91 by Wine Spectator—as well as Franciscan Oakville Estate Cuvée Sauvage, a crisp white with hints of pineapple and vanilla. Wine Spectator rated Cuvée Sauvage among the top 100 wines of the world. (100 Continental Drive, Newark, 781-7000)
Best Late-Night Menu
Readers, upstate: James Street Tavern (2 W. Market St., Newport, 998-6903)
Readers, downstate: Fat Tuna (319 Atantic Ave., Millville, 541-8200)
Critics, upstate: After an evening at the ballet, Borin visits Pizza By Elizabeths. Popular items on the late-night menu include pizza nachos, “our pizza crust cut into small wedges with lots of melted cheese, jalapeños and fresh pico de gallo,” says owner Betsy LeRoy. Also hot are the Big Bears Buffalo chicken dip (Buffalo chicken wings in hot, creamy dip served with pizza crust wedges) and the herb-crusted goat cheese drizzled with honey. The menu is served until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and until 10 p.m. other nights. (3801 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 654-4478)
Readers, upstate: Johnnie’s Dog House (3401 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 477-1440)
Critics, upstate: Spruance calls Centreville Café “one of the most relaxing and enjoyable lunch spots I can think of. It’s the antidote to the generic chain restaurant—delicious food, fabulous coffee, cozy setting and, to top it off, there’s a wonderful antiques shop upstairs.” Proprietor Susan Teiser has a sense of humor—her signature sandwiches are named after beach towns—but her food is serious. Meats are roasted in-house and layered into sandwiches such as the Fenwick—a pile of turkey, bacon and Jane’s cheese sauce on a thick slice of grilled wheatberry bread—and the Dewey, a combo of roasted chicken with Brie on a homemade croissant. “We make as many of our own products as we can, including soup stocks,” says Teiser. “The things we don’t bake we buy locally.” Hot this summer is the Outer Banks, a quesadilla made with four cheeses and vegetables. Locals may remember November’s election-year sandwiches, named after the Seven Deadly Sins. Folks indulged in sloth, envy, greed and lust. “No gluttony, though,” says Teiser. “Would’ve given the wrong impression.” (5800 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 777-4911)
Critics, downstate: Outdoor noshing at Café Solé is even better with a Cuban sandwich in hand or while dipping some warm pita into garlicky homemade hummus. “When it’s open, we go there a lot,” Leishear says. “The outdoor dining is great. It’s close and quiet and quaint. We like the close-knit atmosphere.” Tomato-artichoke bisque is a signature lunch choice. So is the fried oyster BLT with homemade remoulade. (Get it with Brie.) (44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107)
Critics, over the line: “Terrain at Styer’s is a find,” says Lyman Chen, who stumbled upon it while hunting for annuals. “Terrain felt like I was in a Napa café.” He loves the way the cafe’s sunny atmosphere blends plants, vines and flowers with organic food and reasonable prices. “Where else could you find lentil salad with day boat scallops and fresh bay leaves for $14?” Other popular entrées include the falafel burger, linguine with prosciutto, and flourless chocolate espresso cake served with pistachio ice cream. (914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, Pa., 610-459-2400)
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