Little Delaware has a lot of flavor, but we often puzzle over where we should eat. To make the decision easier, we scoured the state in search of restaurants that go above and beyond. It wasn’t an easy task to narrow the field to 50, but they are all listed in the February issue, out now. A random sampling:
33 West Ale House and Grill, Dover
When it opened over a decade ago, the original 33 West was just what flagging downtown Dover needed: a fun, hip place for diners. When it re-conceptualized itself a few years ago, it remained that, adding a bistro/gastropub vibe. Dinner entrées took a step up while remaining more than reasonably priced, and a new tap system put craft brew front and center. Novel burgers and pizzas retain their rightful places. Must try: braised short-rib carbonara, which elevates the rich classic.
33 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 735-9822, www.33westalehouseandgrill.com
a(MUSE.), Rehoboth Beach
Hari Cameron, who opened the restaurant in 2012, was named Delaware’s Restaurateur of the Year in 2013. He creates food that he’d like to eat. And that might mean crispy fermented okra with chili aioli and pickles or rockfish with collard greens, garlic, black lentils and walnuts. For fun, sit at the bar, serviced by David Engel, who delivers a martini with a twist of dry wit. Must try: potted chicken with foie gras and whiskey.
44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107, www.amuse-rehoboth.com
Caffé Gelato, Newark
The restaurant suffers the sort of identity crisis you can’t help falling in love with. Does it represent Italy or modern America? Is it a great place to enjoy homemade gelato, or is it a really fine full-service restaurant? With 100 varietals represented in its 1,500-bottle wine cellar, is it simply afraid of commitment? Those kinds of dichotomies have kept it interesting for the past 15 years, and our infatuation has yet to wane. Scottish salmon with big lumps of crabmeat served with whipped carrots and parsnips? Or homemade linguini topped with lemon-thyme braised chicken with roasted fennel, roasted shallots, oven-dried tomatoes, arugula and toasted pine nuts? Um, yes. Please. Must try: frutti di mare over linguini.
90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811, www.caffegelato.net
For the entire list, click here: http://www.delawaretoday.com/Delaware-Today/February-2015/Our-Favorite-50-Restaurants/