We Wish a Fish—or Seven
If you’ve missed the Insider’s reporting on the Italian Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of The Seven Fishes, book a table at Piccolina Toscana in Wilmington for Dec. 24. A mere $59 buys you the best meal of the year. Start with an amuse boucheâ€¨ of hearth-baked lobster and crab crepe â€¨with lemon and tarragon. Share pancetta- and thyme-stuffed clams, fennel- and spinach-stuffed oysters, and grilled octopus. Your second course is a pan-fried salt cod cake â€¨with celery root and horseradish purée and chive-caper gremolata oil. Course â€¨three: scallop and local Swiss chard ravioliâ€¨with Verjus garlic butter sauce, and crispy leek-arugula salad. Finish with a cream cheese-frosted gingerbread doughnut â€¨with lemon curd. You could make it at home—maybe—but why not let someone spoil you? 654-800, piccolinatoscana.com
Delaware Today publishes 10 monthly dining reviews a year. A review of reviews from 2013 reveals a stunning crop of great new places. In case you missed any, here’s the compendium:
Peruvian rotisserie chicken is the star of the show at—where else?—The Chicken House. Read the December review here.
The flavors—and the clever craft cocktails—are otherworldly at 14 Global. Read the November review here.
Bryan Sikora brings casual sophistication to Wilmington in the form of La Fia—a bistro, bakery and gourmet shop rolled into one. Read the October review here.
While some authentic Italian dishes remain from its original incarnation, Mona Lisa Euro Bistro’s overhaul includes exotic ingredients and European classics. Read the September review here.
Flavorful, carefully prepared pub grub rules at the Rose & Crown in Lewes. Read the July review here.
Pochi Chilean Cuisine and Wine Bar’s wine-centric approach—along with its flavorful Chilean cuisine—refreshes the downtown Wilmington dining scene. Read the June review here.
It might not be the most innovative ticket in town, but Taverna is certainly the hottest. With a straightforward menu, bold flavors and fresh ingredients, there’s plenty to love (and devour) at Platinum Dining Group’s newest venture. Read the May review here.
Café Scalessa has been a part of the Wilmington restaurant scene from 2002-2011. Now home again in his former spot, Don Scalessa delivers solid Italian fare to returning and new clientele. And yes, the disco ball is still there. Read the March review here.
Chef Tom Hannum brings a taste of the Green Room to the legendary gathering spot known as Buckley’s Tavern in Centreville. Read the January review here.
We’re excited about Sabor restaurant at the beach. Fusing the flavors of Mexico, Central America and Spain, the place offers all hand-crafted foods prepared according to original, traditional recipes. The guacamole is made fresh, the tortillas are made on the premises, and the maragraitas are mixed with fresh squeezed fruit juices. Check it out on Del. 26, just less than a mile from Bethany Beach. 616-1957, sabormexicana.com
If, like your Insider, you’re still wondering what you’re going to do for New Year’s Eve, here is a smattering of dining specials:
The Café Napoli family of restaurants rings in 2014 at Bella Vita of Cavaliers Country Club with a premium open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres such as shrimp cocktail, roasted pork loin with sautéed broccoli rabe and pesce alla Florentine; three food stations; a three-course sit-down surf-and-turf dinner; a buffet table loaded with sweet treats and a champagne toast. Deja Groove plays the music. The breakfast buffet opens right after the ball drops. Call 731-5600 for rezzies.
At 16 Mile Taphouse in Newark, book a four-course dinner for $40, $50 with beer pairings and $60 with wine pairings. Seatings are 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. When the ball drops, champagne all around. Call 266-8111.
Harry’s Savoy Grill in North Wilmington will serve a three-course dinner starting at 5 p.m. and continuing until 9:45 p.m. Enjoy an appetizer, entrée and dessert, with price determined by your entrée selection. Live music by Jackie Greggs starts at 9 p.m. The champagne flows at midnight. Call 475-3000.
Victoria’s in the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel of Rehoth Beach offers a $75 dinner as follows.
Amuse bouche: Stuffed sweet cherry pepper with herbed cheese, prosciutto and balsamic
First course: Prime beef tartare with cornichons, Dijon and quail egg or smoked salmon blini with vanilla crème fraiche and caviar
Second course: Virginia oyster chowder with smoked bacon, hominy and limas or baby mache with persimmons, chèvre, balsamic and crispy parsnip
For dinner: Pan-roasted lamb loin with farro, hazelnut, cranberries and creamed spinach, or dry-aged New York strip with ruffle butter, lobster mushrooms, purple fingerlings, or free-range poussin with fig-almond stuffing, baby carrots and romesco, or pan-seared crispy-skinned rockfish with Brussels sprouts, smoked bacon, smashed new potatoes and black garlic beurre blanc. We’ll leave the dessert choices a mystery. They’re stunning. Call 227-0615.