Chef Tyler Akin Fuses French and American Flavors in Delaware

Chef-partner Tyler Akin seamlessly blends elevated French dining with American nostalgia at Le Cavalier in Wilmington's Hotel du Pont.

Chef Tyler Akin knows how to keep himself busy. With multiple projects in the works, some might assume that Le Cavalier has fallen to the backburner after cementing itself as an essential part of Wilmington’s dining scene.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, though, as chef-partner Tyler Akin and the team at Le Cavalier continue to cook up incredible dishes that seamlessly blend the often unfamiliar flavors of France with American favorites to which everyday diners can relate.

@delawaretodaymagazine For a nice night out in Wilmington, you can never go wrong with Le Cavalier! 🥂 #delaware #fyp #food ♬ Natural Emotions – Muspace Lofi

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Something about the dining experience at Le Cavalier conjures up feelings of eating a good home-cooked meal—despite the gilded ceilings, grand chandeliers and foie gras mousse, which were likely not features of your childhood kitchen. It’s not “comfort food” in the traditional sense, but something about the dishes at Le Cavalier offer all the same warm feelings with every bite. By identifying where French and American favorites overlap, Akin creates an approachable atmosphere for diners to experience authentic French flavors and techniques without leaving behind the comforts of home.

Duck Cassoulet (left) and Poussin Chicken Provençal (right) are both features on Le Cavalier’s seasonal French-inspired menu.

Take the poussin chicken Provençal for example, served with pomme puree, lemon-vermouth jus, roasted shallot and olives. Roasted chicken and mashed potatoes are a staple in most American households, but Akin and the team at Le Cav elevate the dish with layers of Provençal flavors, especially in the lemon-vermouth jus. Every bite reminds you of flavors you’ve tasted a thousand times before, but something in this elevated take leaves you craving another bite.

Similarly, fries are a typical part of the average American diet. Le Cavalier serves them alongside a beautifully prepared steak tartare for an extremely French appetizer that still makes American diners feel right at home.

Chef-partner Tyler Akin also loves a burger—and who doesn’t? The acclaimed Philadelphia chef and restaurateur elevates the classic American cheeseburger with French-inspired flair at Le Cavalier.

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“With this one, we went a little more classic,” explains Akin of the burger currently on the brunch, lunch and dinner menus at Le Cav. The massive burger features a toasted sesame seed bun, ComtĂ© cheese, caramelized onion, slab bacon and schmaltz aioli. The elegant flavor profile contrasts with the extremely inelegant (and highly enjoyable) process of eating a giant bacon cheeseburger. This contrast is a window into the spirit of the eatery as well as the mind of the chef behind it.

The menu also features entrees like duck cassoulet with flageolet beans and a mouthwatering Toulouse sausage, prime strip steak with Romanesco, crispy fingerling potatoes and béarnaise, and grilled eggplant with Marcona almonds, tahini, beets and Swiss chard.

duck cassoulet, le cavalier
The duck cassoulet at Le Cavalier is served with flageolet beans, an Toulouse sausage.

Akin is always putting out fresh new dishes at Le Cavalier, despite his new restaurant projects underway. Whether it’s foie gras, lamb shoulder or a big and messy American burger, there’s always something new at Le Cavalier that keeps diners coming back for more.

Le Cavalier | 42 West 11th Street, Wilmington | 594-3154

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