Rose and Crown’s British Pub Fare

Fit for a king: Flavorful, carefully prepared pub grub rules at the Rose & Crown in Lewes.



Grilled prawns are served with an avocado-cucumber salad and crispy potato sticks in a tomato vinaigrette.

Jay Caputo is a highly decorated chef who has prepared steamed fluke and braised veal cheeks for posh crowds at the James Beard House in New York, Spanish ragout and lecithin foam for the connoisseurs at Meals from the Masters, and cured “three-day” pork at his Espuma restaurant for the better part of a decade.

So what, exactly, is he doing with burgers, deviled eggs and pot roast?

Last year, Chris Becker, along with Jim and Rachel O’Hare, owners of the stately Hotel Rodney in downtown Lewes, approached Caputo with their mission: to resurrect their classic Lewes pub Rose & Crown inside the hotel. The original British pub lived for 20-plus years just down the road on Lewes’ busy Second Street, but for version 2.0, the owners knew they needed to go big. After an expansive remodel—which grew to include imposing black wainscoting and enormous upholstered booths set against ancient exposed brick—a chef of Caputo’s caliber was a logical place to start.

“Running a British pub was never on my radar,” the chef says with a laugh. “But when I saw some of the renovations they had done, it started feeling like something I could be a part of. And whether I’m making a pot roast sandwich or steamed fluke at the James Beard House, my principles don’t change.”

Whether he likes it or not, Caputo manning the controls of a corner gastropub is an idea that makes way too much sense. As the three-day pork attests (not to mention his superb smoked-pork tacos at the Latin-themed Cabo Tequila Bar), Caputo is a master of slow and low. And Rose & Crown—with its dark, cushy features and its heady list of microbrews—is slow country indeed. In here, beef short ribs bubble in vats of 16 Mile Old Court Ale until they slide off the bone. Thick hunks of bacon braise away before joining a rich mac-and-cheese patina of Gruyère, cheddar and Parmesan.

“Slow cooking is probably my favorite way to cook. I just love the way flavors develop over time,” says the chef, who says he aims for spoon-tender in his braised items. While anyone with a Crock-Pot can swing tender, Caputo’s finely honed ability to build flavors—like a mason layering brick—is what allows Rose & Crown to elevate familiar pub grub to fantastic heights.

Baked portobellos are stuffed  with ricotta, peppers, polenta, spinach,  bread crumbs and roasted tomato sauce.Slow cookery doesn’t get more classic than duck confit, and R&C’s decision to use it in its re-imagined shepherd’s pie is perhaps the best example of layering flavors to twist a classic into more elegant terrain. Beneath puffs of Parmesan mashed potatoes, tender hunks of duck, salty and fatty in all their glory, swam with dried cherries, reduced Pinot Noir and charred flecks of carrot, whose nearly burnt surface pushed beyond caramelized sweet and to a slightly bitter, smoky campfire state.

His no-nonsense, no-shortcuts philosophy is part of what makes Caputo the chef he is. So it’s not surprising that even the homemade pretzels, chips and pickles at Rose & Crown are addictive. And with longtime collaborator Craig Clifton manning the kitchen, those same values imbue into hearty eats like the R&C bacon burger, a marvel of meat-dom cooked just enough to coax the perfect amount of juicy, smoky perfection from its ground chuck and apple-smoked bacon composite. A nest of deeply caramelized onions and melty farmhouse cheddar kicked in ample amounts of funk and tang, respectively.

A plate of crab deviled eggs took a different path toward reinvention: levity. Pulverized orange zest, parsley and sweet flakes of lump crabmeat replaced the mustard globs and paprika inside boiled egg halves, creating a subdued, refreshing aura. A woody mushroom and Parmesan salad, stacked open-faced on grilled bread with wilted arugula and a soft-fried egg, shared its DNA with a hearty breakfast sandwich, leading instantly to a recognizable, comforting sort of satisfaction.

The same sort of sensation emerged when Rose & Crown brought out the big guns. The biggest and best was tender grilled swordfish—fillets so break-apart soft you’d swear they were bathed in beer, too. The fish’s gentle, muted flavors tasted even fresher when paired with wilted tomatoes and spinach, while briny capers and olives did the heavy lifting in the seasoning department.

Equally sublime was a plate of grilled prawns, presented in a dazzling splash of colors and accoutrements that explored multifarious flavor and textural combinations. A creamy, cooling cucumber-avocado salad bridled the smoky prawns. Meanwhile an aromatic curry-infused tomato vinaigrette draped across it all like a downed power line, electrifying every bite with a warming curry kick.

No matter how simple or polished the dish, nothing in Caputo’s and Clifton’s Rose & Crown oeuvre felt superfluous or short-changed. Even desserts kept pristine composure. The buttery, flaky sourdough biscuit in the fresh-tasting strawberry shortcake was overshadowed only by the heavenly pastry cream that held it all together. The T.S. Smith & Sons apples in a bubbling cobbler barely maintained their crisp bite beneath an oats-laden shell and molten caramel sauce.

With its warm, open space, the new Rose & Crown represents another sterling notch in Lewes’ budding, under-the-radar dining scene. And the Caputo blueprints allow for every edible detail, no matter how tiny, to be experienced. They not only help R&C avoid the platitudes of traditional pub dining, they guide guests through a structure of expertly built flavors, brick by brick.  

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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The Station Gallery
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Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

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Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Elements of Nutrition
4710 Kirkwood Hwy
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
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Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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World Cafe Live Wilmington
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 130-265-89111
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January 14, 15, 16 – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Invention Convention Lights, camera, action! This year’s Invention Convention features hands-on video...

Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

More information

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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Cost: $30

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805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Cost: $9

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Legislative Hall Library
411 Legislative Ave.
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Division of Public Health
Telephone: 800-282-8672
Website »

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Cost: 45.00

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
Wilmington, DE  19804
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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Do you want to learn how to make soap? This is your chance! Join me for a fun and informative class @ Liquid Alchemy. I will teach you how to create your own recipe and the in-and-outs of soap...

Cost: 45

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
, DE  19804
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Doberstein Admissions Ctr.
320 N DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE  19805
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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The 3rd Place
1139 W. 7th Street
Wilmington, DE  19805
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Sponsor: West Side Grows
Telephone: 302-690-9459
Contact Name: Delaware Permaculture
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Cost: $0

Where:
Copeland Room, Hagley Library
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $15

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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Cost: $10

Where:
World Cafe Live At The Queen
500 N Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
Website »

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: $30 per person

Where:
Delaware College of Art and Design
600 N. Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19081
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Sponsor: Delaware College of Art and Design
Telephone: 302-622-8000 x 123
Contact Name: Mark Tajzler
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Cost: FREE for TLC members / $10 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Cape Henlopen High School Theater
1250 Kings Highway
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 130-264-59095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $30. Ages 10-18 and one adult per youth.

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Bethel United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
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Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Coastal Concerts, Inc.
Telephone: 888-212-6458
Contact Name: Edna Ellett
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Cost: 45

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Ballroom at University and Whist Club
805 N. Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Cost: $20 General Admission

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Frankford Fire Hall
7 Main Street
Frankford, DE  19945
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Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
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110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $10 + FEES

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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