At this point in the holiday season, the kitchen has lost its luster. Fortunately, several Delaware restaurants are offering special menus in December. Meanwhile, markets are featuring meals or individual dishes to go. Here is a sampling.
Brandywine Prime Seafood & Chops in Chadds Ford is a busy fine-dining destination at this time of year. Credit the proximity to Longwood Gardens’ holiday display. But many guests are treating visiting family to a special dinner. “We’ve sold out every Christmas that we’ve been open,” says managing partner Michael Majewski.
Routes 1 and 100, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; 610-388-8088
Brandywine Prime’s big sister, Piccolina Toscana in Trolley Square, has been offering the Feast of the Seven Fishes for more than 10 years, says chef-owner Dan Butler. It’s so popular that he often holds the feast on two evenings, typically December 23 and December 24. “Christmas Eve winds up being one of the busiest nights of the year,” he says. Make your reservations early. There’s usually a waiting list.
1412 N. DuPont St., Wilmington, Delaware; 302-654-8001
On Thursday, December 23, enjoy an intimate Seven Fishes feast at Chef Robbie Jester’s Inner Circle Event Co.’s Landenberg facility. The operation shares the space with Full Circle, Jester’s home-delivery service, and Great Big Jerk, which sells wood-and charcoal-grilled jerk chicken. The reservation-only event has limited seating.
1215 New London Road, Landenberg, Pennsylvania; 484-720-8552
At Harry’s Savoy Grill in Brandywine Hundred, Christmas Eve is all about the beef. Filet Oscar is a top seller, says owner Xavier Teixido. “Our menu is all filets and prime rib and veal chops—and we gussy it up a bit.”
2020 Naamans Road, Wilmington; 302-475-3000
Le Cavalier at the Green Room in the Hotel du Pont will offer three courses for $75 per person on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For an additional fee, add a seafood course (caviar!) and a raclette cheese course. Make reservations on Open Table.
42 W. 11th St., Wilmington, Delaware; 302-594-3154
Big Fish Restaurant Group’s downstate Delaware eateries will have special hours on Christmas Eve. However, the summer House Saloon in Rehoboth Beach will serve dinner from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day. Upstate, the company’s restaurants should have regular operating hours on Christmas Eve.
Once again, Big Fish Market in Rehoboth Beach has a range of family meal options, including turkey and ham dinners, prime rib for up to 10 people and seafood selections, including two whole sides of grilled or roasted salmon. Add on party trays, rolls, extra sides and desserts. Order in advance.
20312 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; 302-227-3665
Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront also has an extensive takeout menu with similar selections. In addition, you can order four-course Christmas Eve menus for six, holiday platters, desserts and bakery items.
720 Justison St., Wilmington, Delaware; 302-652-3474
Le Cavalier’s Maison X Le Cav, the restaurant’s carryout division, has assembled a “Christmas Experience” for two. Customers can select two appetizers from a list that includes mussels escabeche and coquilles Saint-Jacques. The entrée list features such dishes as duck tagine, game pie and beef Wellington. For dessert: Meyer lemon tart or Yule log. The cost is $155 for two.
42 W. 11th St., Wilmington, Delaware; 302-594-3154
Lettie’s Kitchen in Hockessin has crafted a holiday catering menu and holiday meal option. Last year, the Hockessin hot spot sold glazed ham with hash browns, pineapple casserole, green beans, coleslaw and slices of chocolate cake. It went over so well that owner Tom Alexander will likely do it again. Call to confirm.
1318 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, Delaware; 302-239-7816
Each holiday season, Janssen’s Market in Greenville pulls out all the stops with festive holiday menus. Past offerings have included turkey, ham, tenderloin, standing rib roast and seafood. Depending on availability, you might spot pheasant and turducken among the offerings. Purchase just the protein or get complete meals for up to 12 people.
3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware; 302-654-9941
Melissa Ferraro, the owner of Sonora, is a traditionalist at Thanksgiving, but come December, she shakes things up with family meals for four. The Cajun-themed menu ($75) includes shrimp and andouille gumbo, rice, chicken and crawfish meatballs with remoulade, fried green tomatoes and cornbread with honey butter. Ferraro also has a vegetarian menu with two pot pies and Caesar salads ($35) and a lamb prix fixe with plum sauce, fingerling potatoes and creamed spinach ($99). For an extra fee, add a charcuterie board, wild mushroom soup or dessert, including Guinness chocolate cake with Irish Cream frosting. Pick up on Christmas Eve.
3 Chesmar Plaza, Newark, Delaware; 302-525-6010
For Hanukkah, all four Rosenfeld’s Delicatessen sites in Delaware have latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot, a round jelly doughnut dipped in powdered sugar.
Traditional Yule logs are a hit at Old World Breads in Lewes. “They’re so good,” says owner Keith Irwin in a reverent voice. “It has a chocolate-almond roulade, marzipan and chocolate mousse covered in ganache.” The bakery is also selling pies. Order online.
32191 Nassau Road, Unit 4, Lewes, Delaware; 302-313-5191
In downtown Lewes, Lloyd’s Market cooks turkeys and hams in the local famous WondeRoast oven, which usually roasts chicken. “People start reserving turkeys after Labor Day just because we can only do so many,” says manager Darren Purcell. The market also sells Fifer Orchards pies.
611 Savannah Road, Lewes, Delaware; 302-645-6589
Since it’s better to give than receive, consider a gift box from Taste Local Eats, founded by Kennett Square residents Sandi Fiss and Ann Vaughan. Holiday boxes include items from around the Brandywine Valley. The Sweet & Salty Box, for instance, includes Neuchatel Chocolates from Oxford; Cocky Confections Old Fashioned Peanut Brittle from West Chester; and Fire Beast Hawaiian Fire Jerky, made in Philadelphia.