This season, the restaurant scene goes cosmo, offering more cuisines from around the world, but remembering local favorites, too.
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Visitors from North Wilmington will be pleased to know that Tammy Wang and Winson Chinupakit, owners of the popular Jasmine on U.S. 202, last year opened Saketumi (4298 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 645-2818). “We just tried to blend all of the Asian cuisines on one menu,” Wang says. Along with a sushi bar, the restaurant offers traditional Chinese dishes, including General Tso’s chicken, and Thai curries. Most entrées cost less than $20, including pad Thai noodles. For true blue Westerners, Saketumi sells a rack of lamb and filet mignon.
After working at her sister’s restaurant, Seaside Thai in Rehoboth Beach, for five years, Lily Thamibutra decided late last year to go it on her own with Lily Thai Cuisine (10 N. First St., Rehoboth Beach, 227-3348), in the old Lingo’s Market. Expect the standards, including pad Thai and tom yum goong soup, as well as some local twists, such as kao pad fried rice with Maryland crabmeat. Most dishes are under $18.
Jerry Richard, owner of Steakhouse 26 (238 Atlantic Ave., Millville, 539-0626), has tweaked his menu to offer “more affordable family dining.” He also added more seafood dishes, as well as authentic Thai and New Orleans cuisine. Chef Inton hails from Thailand and makes a mean pad Thai, spring rolls and potstickers. Regulars don’t fret. The filet, New York strip and ribeye are still on the menu.
The roster of new beach restaurants wouldn’t be complete without a casual live music venue. Enter the Rehoboth Ale House (15 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-2337), which opened in March. Owner Hugo Mazzalupi hopes to expose patrons to beer’s epicurean qualities. “People get so caught up in the domestic beers that they don’t realize how much flavor beers have. There are so many more beers that bring out the flavors of the food than there are wines,” he says. The restaurant features live music on weekends. Its proximity to the beach—and its hours—should encourage repeat visitors.
“People can have lunch, go spend some time on the beach, and then come back to us for dinner,” Mazzalupi says.
For good-for-you fare, head to the appropriately named Good For You Natural Market (28841 Lewes-Georgetown Hwy., Lewes, 684-8330). This year, owner Andrew Meddick hired chef Austin Andrews to create to-go dishes for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free customers and customers who simply like to eat healthy foods. Dishes include free-range chicken, vegan meatloaf, grilled shrimp and gluten-free pizza dough. Andrews is known for pastries, and desserts include chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free brownies.
Vegan or gluten-free, one thing is certain. “We’re keeping our focus on things that are organic, but we also want them to taste good,” Meddick says. “If they don’t taste good, people obviously aren’t going to want to eat them.”