The Dining Insider: A blog about changes at Eclipse, the buzz on Ulysses Gastropub, Newark Restaurant Week and Chinese New Year at The Crownery

Total Eclipse

Little did The Insider and his lovely bride know that Tuesday nights at Eclipse Bistro mean half-price bottles of wine (under $50). What a most pleasing way to toast the anniversary of our nuptials. As we quickly learned, things have changed at Eclipse. Ryan Marchetta has taken over in the kitchen, which means some interesting tweaks to the menu. We were very glad to see some favorites remain, most notably the calamari appetizer with capers, olives and tomatoes in a light cream, as well as the entrée of pappardelle in a Bolognese sauce made with pulled short rib. Nonetheless, it was time to explore. The harissa-rubbed lamb sirloin, resting on a mound of Israeli couscous, was delicious. The braised short rib in Guinness gravy may not have been the most original dish, but with its roasted root vegetables and rich mashed potatoes, it was a perfect meal for a winter’s night. We know we’re not the only diners who are always too full for dessert, so I hope the gang will forgive us. We won’t delay our return.

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An Epic Launch

Early reviews of the new Ulysses American Gastropub are good, indeed. Diners praise the innovative fare, the extensive beer list, captivating decor and the convivial atmosphere. It seems like North Wilmingtonians have been pining for a place like this for years. With Sean McNeice, lately of Washington Street Ale House and Chelsea Tavern, at the helm, we expect a string of pleasing surprises. Look for the full review soon. Look for the new pub at 1716 Marsh Road, Wilmington. 691-3456,

Where’s the Beef?

We can’t resist teasing you: February’s dining guide is all about the beef. Find out where to get the best in steaks and prime rib, with all the hearty, mouth-watering sides. You might discover a bit of seafood, too. Sorry, but we’ll have to keep you waiting a couple weeks. In the meantime, find out what critic extraordinaire Matt Amis has to say about local restaurants in his monthly Savor reviews. The man just knows…

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A Week of Deals

Newark Restaurant week is coming. Monday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Jan. 29, visit any of the 19 participating restaurants for a prix fixe meal. Several tiers are available, from two-course lunches to family meals to outstanding three-course dinners. Prices range $10 to $25. It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year, a great way to beat the winter blues. Don’t miss it. See the full slate of restaurants and special menus at

Another New Year

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The year of the dragon—year 4709, according to the Chinese calendar—starts Jan. 23. You can celebrate by dining at a delicious buffet loaded with delicious foods at The Crownery in Hockessin. It’s one of our faves. The food is always fresh, far surpassing even the best of take-out places, and you can go off the menu with a selection of dishes that don’t bow to American tastes. (Jellyfish, anyone?) The Crownery’s celebration begins Jan. 29, then continues Feb. 13, Feb. 20 and Feb. 27. We’ll see you there. 239-3825,

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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