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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Readers, upstate: Brad Dawson (Caffé Gelato, 90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811)
Readers, downstate: Jay Caputo (Espuma, 28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-4199; Porcini House, 210 Second St., Rehoboth Beach, 227-6494)
Critics, upstate: Karibjanian and husband Joe find themselves at Ezio Reynauld’s Culiniaria almost weekly. It’s always fabulous, she says, “even if you order the same thing each time, like my husband (iceberg salad and ribeye) or try their specials, like me.” Karibjanian’s new favorite is the Thai curry chicken served with jasmine rice. “If I don’t order a special, the grilled marinated chicken breast is excellent,” she says. As for Reynauld, the chef is inspired by his native Italy, as well as French cuisine. Which would explain why pasta and rustic dishes such as calf’s liver are staples of Culinaria’s menu. (Culinaria, 1812 Marsh Road, No. 19, Wilmington, 475-4860)
Critics, downstate: As Matt Haley ’s body of work grows—he’s up to five restaurants—his quality remains consistent. Pires calls Haley “in a league of his own. There is no one better for seafood.” Fellow celebrity chef Butler calls Haley “a bud” and says his restaurants are among the best at the beach. His approach is usually minimalist: Let the flavors of his high-quality seafood speak for themselves. A little butter, olive oil and sea salt does more to illuminate fish than fancy accessories. More ambitious dishes are typically updates on comfort classics like crab cakes and lobster Thermador. (Blue Coast Seafood Grill, 1111 Highway One, Bethany Beach, 539-7111; Catch 54, 39831 Madison Ave., Fenwick Island, 436-8600; Fish On! 17300 N. Village Main Blvd., Lewes, 645-9790; Lupo di Mare, 247 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-2240; Northeast Seafood Kitchen, 29 Atlantic Ave., Suite F, Ocean View, 537-1785)