Two Central and South American restaurants serve food that explodes stereotypes of Latino cuisine.
by Pam George Published September 18, 2008 at 05:55 AM
(page 3 of 5)
Give Prince a Chance
Prince on Delaware has made noshing in New Castle a more cosmopolitan experience while staying down home, too.
By Pam George
he landscape surrounding Prince on Delaware in Historic New Castle is distinctly colonial. The restaurant definitely is not. On the menu, the South meets Spain and mingles with Jamaica. Selections have included “tapas” shrimp, tuna tartar, a half-roasted chicken with mole and Caribbean curry cakes. And, for the most part, owner Prince Johnson makes it all come together.
I loved the café chicken salad, chunks of breast meat speckled with dill and oregano and mixed with Dijon and mayonnaise. A touch of sriracha adds kick. Meaty grilled portobello turned a green salad into a hearty appetizer. Black-eyed pea soup with sausage made me forget the bland beans my mother served on New Year’s Day. The soup was close to perfect.
Prince trained at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia and worked at the famed Le Bec-Fin. His kitchen shows a deft touch with seasonings. Its twist on tapas was provocative, thanks to the liberal use of cumin. Caribbean spices turned a succulent center-cut pork chop a lovely bronze color. It might be too peppery for some, but I thought it was dead on.
I adored the moist turkey burger dusted with chipotle seasoning and decorated with a squiggle of spicy mayonnaise. I also admired the cheesy roll. But you can’t call Prince’s “outrageous” wings Buffalo wings. A Buffalo native would be appalled. I thought the meaty fried chicken drumsticks were great, but they are not Buffalo wings in all their lip-burning splendor. I admired the fried chicken’s crispy coating, but a kitchen so capable of handling spice could have doused it with more seasoning. You’d expect the accompanying greens to have a dusky, earthy taste. The flavor, though, was muddied.
Salmon, coated with pink peppercorns and mustard, was fabulous, but the pasty risotto lacked the requisite toothsome quality, and a lovely lobster bisque was flecked with too-fine threads of lobster.
The correctable missteps: Service was slow at dinner and entrées arrived before the appetizers were finished, but those missteps are easy to correct.
“We’re paying the bills every month, and that’s important,” Johnson jokes. It is also encouraging, considering Historic New Castle is not an easy place for a restaurant with creative flair. Tourists expect the traditional, and gourmands from Wilmington are loath to travel. But here’s hoping they’ll continue to give Prince a chance.
Page 4: Great Pumpkin