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: Dome Restaurant and Bar (400 Lantana Drive, Hockessin, 235-2600)
Readers, downstate: Summer House (228 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-3895)
Critics, upstate: Tuesdays with Jefe, Friday night DJ parties and enough street cred to last through the next century make The Deer Park Tavern the ultimate college hangout. And it’s the first place alumni want to stop when they return to campus. It still works for townies, and it still works for the Harley set, too. “It’s just a great college town atmosphere,” Keeler says. (108 W. Main St., Newark, 369-9414)
Critics, downstate: After more than 70 years of existence, it’s perhaps more interesting to notice the things The Bottle & Cork doesn’t have. “We don’t have chairs,” Pires says. “No glassware, no silverware, no napkins. If you’re fussy about that stuff, you’re in the wrong place.” The Cork is still a bare bones, old school rock club. There aren’t many like it left anywhere. That’s why the likes of George Clinton, Robert Randolph and Dwight Yoakam continue to perform there. (1807 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 227-7272)
Best Bar Menu
Critics, downstate: The quahog-scallop “chowdah” at Nantuckets Restaurant is but one savory reason to visit. Lots of great food is available at the bar, including baked Brie Alla made with baby grape tomatoes and fresh basil pesto, crab and artichoke melt, as well as mussels in basil pesto, garlic and white wine sauce. Though chowdah is the biggest seller, bites like fried mahi mahi skewers, ’Nawlins shrimp and sausage, and oysters Rockefeller are nice bar eats, too. Nantuckets’ lounge is casual, and the candlelit tables surrounding it are draped in white linen. Servers are more than attentive. They also know their seafood, most of which is straight from the docks. (601 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island, 539-2607)
Best Beach Classic
Critics, downstate: The Fenwick Crab House opened soon after the Storm of 1962 and, like the G-scale model railroad that chugs around its dining room, the landmark business is still going strong. The restaurant is traditionally open from Easter to Columbus Day, but its crab cakes are so popular, they are shipped to customers year-round. Scott Fornwalt, who bought the place 26 years ago, says he sold more than 5,000 crab cakes last Christmas. For almost half a century, the Fenwick Crab House has been known for its steamed crab specials and other crab dishes. Fornwalt added the soft shell crab club sandwich when he took over and the crab dip baked in French bread about 20 years ago. Even a classic has to stay current, so this summer, look for the new 10-ounce prime rib burger served on a pretzel roll. (100 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island, 539-2500)
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