At Raas in Lewes, kids can embark on a culinary adventure to exotic climes, exploring Indian fusion and pan-Asian dishes crafted to appeal to youthful palates.
In fragrant and savory chicken saffron tikka ($18), the meat is diced into smaller pieces than an entrée made for adults. Dishes on the children’s menu also have a bit less heat. Chef GG doesn’t want to discourage kids from fearlessly trying new flavors.
“Kids look to things that aren’t too spicy, not lots of garlic,” he explains.
That may be because children have more taste buds than grown-ups. While children are equipped with at least 10,000 taste buds that tell them strawberries are sweet and lemons are sour, adults over 40 may be down to 5,000 taste buds and often appreciate a jumpstart from assertive seasonings.
Naan, a pillowy leavened flatbread, and laccha paratha, a thin bread prized for its flakiness, are ideal scoopers for kids who want to sample butter chicken ($20) or chickpea and potato makhana ($18).
“They can dip into vegetarian dishes, [and] they can get a taste of everything on the table,” Chef GG says.
At Banks’ Seafood Kitchen and Raw Bar on the Riverfront in Wilmington, the children’s menu includes “Live Well Healthy Options” that are 600 calories or less. Choices include such low-fat dishes as grilled shrimp with pineapple and steamed green beans ($12), and grilled, herb-seasoned chicken tenders with steamed spinach and sliced fresh apple ($10).
There’s an emphasis on healthy preparation. Faroe Island salmon ($10) is steamed and served with stir-fried veggies. A grilled hamburger is accompanied by a green salad with Goldfish cracker croutons. Fish sticks are homemade from freshly breaded pollock.
Piazza Mia in Dover is sensitive to kids with food allergies, offering gluten-free ravioli and marinara sauce ($9.99) along with traditional Italian fare, including child-size cheese pizzas ($8.99).
At Harry’s Savoy Grill in North Wilmington, children can order the restaurant’s signature prime rib ($20), just like mom and dad. It’s the same quality, just a smaller portion. The owner, Xavier Teixido, says catering to kids is a long-term investment.
“We want people to say, ‘I’ve been coming here since I was 3 years old,’” says Teixido, who operates Harry’s and Kid Shelleen’s with business partner Kelly O’Hanlon.
The restaurateur listens to moms and dads, too. “We have a lot of parents who want their kids to eat healthier, a salad instead of french fries,” he says.
At Kid Shelleen’s, the children’s menu extends beyond chicken fingers. Instead, grilled chicken is served with broccoli. Chicken tacos team shredded poultry with soft corn tortillas, lettuce, and cheddar and jack cheeses. The menu is chef-driven, giving kids choices that range from cheese quesadilla to sautéed shrimp with a green salad.
“Our children’s menu changed significantly when our chefs and managers started to have children,” Teixido says.
Offerings are mindful of little ones with more sophisticated tastes. The idea is to introduce new dishes while elevating kids’ favorites to a higher level.
“The kids eat mac and cheese and say, ‘This doesn’t taste like the mac and cheese that I eat at home,’” he says. “Good hospitality is inviting to everyone, starting with our youngest guests.”