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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Best Restaurant Rejuvenation
Critics, upstate: Matthew Curtis took over Union City Grille without much of the buzz or fanfare that accompanied the half-dozen or so new restaurants in Wilmington. The Grille’s reputation had been fading. It was considered a decent place for steak, but not much else. Curtis, a former chef at Deep Blue and Toscana, figured great ingredients, good value and some new blood could get people jazzed about Union City again. “The idea was trying to establish a new clientele, a bigger database and just market the place properly,” Curtis says. “They always say if you buy good food, people will appreciate it.” So far, his plan has worked. Monthly wine dinners, great happy hours and his terrific, uncomplicated dishes have people talking. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” he says. “More like we’re re-teaching people how to love food.” (805 N. Union St., Wilmington, 654-9780)
Critics, downstate: Owner Jerry Richard recently converted his Steakhouse 26 to an affordable family dining spot instead of specializing in steaks. Don’t get the wrong message. The New York strip and ribeye are still on the menu. They’re still prepared with the greatest of care. And the filet is still a bargain at $24.95. But Richard has brought a traditional Thai chef on board to diversify the menu. Chef Inton’s pad Thai, spring rolls and potstickers are as authentic as they come. Richard, who formerly owned The Big Easy in Bethany Beach, has also added New Orleans-inspired dishes, such as a daily gumbo. Crawfish are replaced by scallops and shrimp in the seafood étouffée, and the New Orleans Alfredo features smoked pork shoulder, shrimp, scallops and crab meat. (238 Atlantic Ave., Millville, 539-0626)