Foodies for Fun
The creative minds behind Chelsea Tavern believe in bold flavor, good taste and some culinary wit. It’s a winning combination.
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Duck confit pizza, pan-steamed mussels, tuna carpacchio flatbread
They had to be laughing.
In fact, I like to imagine Sean McNeice and sous chef Anthony Carnevale laughing maniacally over a griddle as they gave rise to the Dirty Burger—a breaded and deep-fried hamburger patty topped with fried scrapple, bacon, a fried egg, cheese slices and roasted pepper sauce.
Sound delicious? Disgusting? Either way, unless you’re a cardiologist, the Dirty tends to elicit a smile. And it’s a sturdy symbol for Chelsea Tavern, where food can be fun—even funny.
Crafted from the upscale-casual blueprints of Gramercy Tavern in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood (the Wilmington tavern’s inspiration and quasi-namesake), Chelsea is at its best distilling and reinventing Southern comfort favorites for a class of modern diners.
There’s fried catfish, recast here as a Reuben sandwich with a shaved Brussels sprout and bacon coleslaw pressed between grilled honey wheat bread. The bread, made in-house, hummed sweetly to match the crispy, thick filet of fish.
Witness homemade pickles. McNeice blankets them in beer batter, then—plop—into the deep fryer they go. And because one kind of french fry simply won’t do, Chelsea created the Trio, which combines Idaho spuds with sweet potato fries and fried leeks.
With a recent wave of upscale-casual dining hitting Wilmington like a squall, Chelsea distinguishes itself with these and other culinary theatrics.
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