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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For all his culinary gymnastics, Hoffman’s best dish sounded more like a Good Housekeeping recipe than nouveau cuisine. But his root beer salmon was, simply, one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever eaten. An eight-ounce hunk of immaculate quality, the fish was marinated and then glazed in, well, A&W. The syrupy drink highlighted the sweetness in the salmon with surprising gentleness, its sugar content never overburdening the meat. It was, instead, impeccably moist and full of flavor.
Even when dishes missed, they were at least interesting (see, again: scallop-avocado French toast). An otherwise moist and creamy duck confit pasta was overmatched by a dousing of ricotta salata—a salty cheese that vanquished everything in its path. Pan-roasted tilefish’s only crime was verging on the ordinary.
The upstairs loft-dining room at William and Merry is decorated with black, folksy box chandeliers that play against white ceilings and walls, and above bare wood floors. It’s simple and elegant, but it’s a small room free of any sound-absorbing material, so it can get quite noisy.
Bear in mind that ingredients this good don’t come cheaply, and the prices at W&M can get aggressive (a $14 appetizer plate consisting of two seared scallops was a particular brow-furrower). But the food and the kitchen’s sense of adventure is absolutely, unequivocally worth the price of admission.