Delaware Dining: A review of The House of William and Merry on Old Lancaster Pike in Hockessin by Matt Amis
The House of William and Merry dares to be different.
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Chefs Gone Wild
At a Glance
The House of William and Merry Restaurant, 1336 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 234-2255, williamandmerry.com
Soups and salads $8-$12
Root beer salmon, bigeye tuna tartare, “Strawberry Fields”
No results found for “avocado scallop blue cheese banana walnut French toast.”
This was my poor Google toolbar after I asked it to find a recipe I had just eaten at The House of William and Merry, a recipe so strangely unique and spellbinding I felt compelled to search the World Wide Web for some kind of precedent—some occasion in time when someone else assembled those words together in a sentence.
No results found. I think this one is all you, W&M. And I think I can add safely that no other restaurant in Hockessin tonight is painstakingly stacking avocado slices atop seared sea scallop atop blue cheese-filled banana-walnut French toast.
Yes, that is all one dish. And I left out the pomegranate seeds.
Chefs Bill Hoffman and Bruce Galloway Jr. are sort of like kids in a foie gras shop. The pantries inside their charming converted Victorian house are stocked with golden watermelon, pickled ramp, purple cauliflower and more truffles than a Godiva store.
And they’re clearly having a blast, as dishes like the above can attest. “I have to put a leash on them sometimes,” said Merry Catanuto one night. Merry is married to Bill the chef, and they are the William and Merry from the name.
Both are trained chefs—Merry at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and Bill at the Philadelphia Culinary Arts and Design School. Merry worked as a chef at La Pastaia in San Jose, Calif., before returning to—where else?—The Deer Park Tavern in Newark. Bill has worked as chef at Wilmington’s shrine to ornate fine dining—the Green Room at the Hotel du Pont, as well as Bistro on the Brandywine, Columbus Inn and Eclipse Bistro.
The House is their first restaurant, and the owners picked the location wisely. Though it’s still just a census-designated place, Hockessin possesses the kind of well-to-do residents that will support an adventurous, upscale restaurant. And while there are some great places in town, there’s nothing quite in W&M’s genus.
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