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The Dining Insider: A blog about eating well at Deep Blue, Corner Bistro, Padi, Cool Springs and other great restaurants


The Year of Eating Better

You’ve made the resolution yet again: You’re going to watch your diet—for real this time. If you think that means starving yourself or eliminating everything that makes food taste so good, don’t worry. Think less about avoiding the bad, more about embracing the good: fresh whole foods—lean meats, lots of vegetables and fruits—prepared without extra fat. And don’t think you have to avoid your favorite restaurants. They make plenty of good-tasting food that’s good for you. Some faves:

At Deep Blue Bar & Grill in Wilmington, grilled Atlantic salmon comes with bacon and black lentils, spiced apple slaw and apple cider-sherry gastrique. No need to hold the bacon if you’ve been a good eater at breakfast and dinner. If you really want to go lean, try the cumin-rubbed yellowfin with a cake of black beans and roasted peppers with spicy scallion sauce.

At Padi restaurant in Hockessin, green curry paste sautéed in coconut milk with bamboo shoots, bell pepper and eggplant provides the flavor, your choice of beef, chicken or shrimp provides the protein. Or try the red curry: red curry paste sautéed in coconut milk with bamboo shoots, bell pepper, basil leaves and our choice of the aforementioned meats.

Here’s the warning: If you don’t work off the pasta, it will stay with you. But if your’re consumption is modest, try the Papardelle with a Bolognese of lean wild boar with fresh Parmesan at Sovana Bistro in Kennett Square. The noodles are homemade, so there’s no need to worry about heavy processing of the sort that goes into your basic store-bought macaroni.

What can we say about the mussels bucatini at The Buttery in Lewes? You’ll be smitten. Enjoy Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in saffron cream sauce with Brussels sprouts, carrots, crispy Speck ham and orange-pinenut gremolata. OK, OK—so the cream, ham and pinenuts are upping the fat factor. Here’s your rationalization: muscle maintenance requires a bit of fat. Do five more minutes on the treadmill.

If you buy the French-women-don’t-get-fat theory, head to Corner Bistro in Wilmington. Take a seat in the recently remodeled dining room. Order the pork chop with a ragout of white beans and broccoli rabe drizzled with a Port-fig reduction. Taste. Sigh. Plot your return.

Here’s one full of beneficial phyto-nutrients: scallops with beet risotto, blood orange syrup and crispy beet greens. Find it at Eclipse Bistro in Wilmington. Or head to Domaine Hudson, where you can go all-veg with a warm salad of mixed legumes, cauliflower, carrot, frisée, pine nuts, fresh herbs and cumin vinaigrette.

Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant offers a menu of “healthy selections” of less than 600 calories—and every one is a winner. We love the Fisherman’s stew, as well as the teriyaki grilled chicken breast with sesame-glazed asparagus and roasted red peppers.

Cool Springs Fish Bar and Restaurant in Dover is the destination for hungry seafood lovers. Try the seafood quartet of salmon, swordfish, shrimp and sea scallops. Grilling keeps everything lean and flavorful.

There’s nothing like the earthy aroma of porcini. A dusting of it dresses up a 6-ounce filet mignon with a red wine sauce accompanied by fingerling potatoes and local arugula at delicious Abott’s Grill in Milford.

We could go on, but by now, we think we’ve made the point: Our best restaurants offer plenty of delicious entrées that won’t bust your belly. The Insider wishes you all the best with your resolve.

For other healthy meals, click here.