A Real Catch
We offer a warm welcome back to Catch 54 in Fenwick Island. We’ve always loved the food there, and we’ve always loved the vibe—laid back, with a stunning view of the Little Assawoman Bay. Now there’s even more to love. Since rebuilding after a fire last summer, Catch has built two outdoor decks on the water, plus a fireplace inside and event space, with plenty of decor that reflects the famer-meets-fisherman concept. The update includes a raw bar with oysters from up and down the East Coast, crab claws and sashimi. And it includes a tweaked menu with classics like a split lobster tail stuffed with crab imperial served with farm beans in a wild mushroom brandy cream, plus an old-time Eastern Shore favorite, fried oysters with chicken salad. There are several fresh fish offered every day. If you’ve never been there, check it out. If you haven’t been back since the reopening Memorial Day weekend, we think you’ll like it all over again. 436-8600, catch54.com
A New York State of Mind
So, a family moves from New York City to New Castle County. Said family goes in search of restaurants on par with their big-city favorites. Said family experiences some disappointment. Where-oh-where are they going wrong, family would like to know? Your Insider, as familiar as anyone with the deleterious effects of an existential crisis, could let no such dilemma plague anyone for long. New York quality? There’s no shortage. Here’s the DI’s short list:
Moro, Scott Street, Wilmington—In this cozy and contemporary space, chef Michael DiBianca lets good food speak for itself.
Deep Blue, 11th Street, Wilmington—Cutting-edge seafood, a lively lounge and the best Nicoise salad this side of the Seine makes it a consistent favorite.
Harry’s Seafood Grill, Riverfront, Wilmington—An ever-changing seafood menu, a great raw bar and a waterfront patio equaled a winner right out of the chute. One request: please serve the ceviche in meal-sized portions.
Piccolina Toscana, Dupont Street, Wilmington—Every time Dan Butler re-invents Toscana, he aces it. Going on 20 years, it’s still one of the most exciting places in town.
Orillas Tapas, Market Street, Wilmington—Julio Lazzarini, thank you. We could graze all night, every night. White sangria? Why didn’t someone think of it sooner?
Ernest & Scott Taproom, Market Street, Wilmington—We can’t get past the apps. Every one is a knockout. And with so many crafts brews to sample, every flight is an adventure.
Chelsea Tavern, Market Street, Wilmington—No one has more fun with food. That means inventive combos from app time through dessert.
Eclipse Bistro, Union Street, Wilmington—Intimate and comfortable, with a recently revamped menu and new talent in the kitchen. Owner Carl Georigi keeps it fresh and consistently excellent.
Le Shio, Concord Pike, Wilmington—Call the aesthetic industrial wabi sabi. Call all the food on the Asian fusion menu delicious.
Ole Tapas, Kirkwood Highway, Newark—Dinner for two: six or seven tasty plates and one or two glasses of wine each for less than you’d pay at places that aren’t nearly as good.
Stone Balloon Winehouse, Newark—From the start, this one had townies asking, “Where have you been all my life?” Great food, innovative wine program. One we should visit more often.
Bistro on the Brandywine, Chadds Ford, Pa.—The Insider still pines for the braised short rib he enjoyed on New Years’s Eve two years ago. Or was it three? No matter. Some of the meals have been unforgettable. Bring back the goat cheese crepes, please.
Gilmore’s, West Chester, Pa.—Chef Peter Gilmore cut his teeth at Georges Perrier’s famous Le Bec Fin in Philly, so you know he understands French like few others.
Dilworthtown Inn, Chadds Ford, Pa.—An elegant country feeling, five-star food and an amazing wine cellar keep Dilworthtown at the top of every dining list in the region.
Taste Artisanal Market, Paper Mill Road, Newark—OK, we know Taste isn’t a restaurant, but for stocking the larder at home, there’s no better selection of imported groceries anywhere in the state. This is choice No. 1 when the DI needs cheese.
Proving Their Medal
With 799 breweries from 45 states and 54 countries entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories, the 2012 World Beer Cup in Boulder, Colo., was the most competitive ever—which makes the news for Delaware even more exciting: Iron Hill and Dogfish Head finished in the money in some very tight categories. In the Experimental Beer category (42 entries) Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot took silver. In Smoke Beer (48 entries), the Grodzinski brewed at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Newark won bronze. Among British-Style Imperial Stout (40 entries), Iron Hill, Media, Pa., won gold for its Russian Imperial Stout, as well as gold for its Old Ale in the Old Ale or Strong Ale category (51 entries). Finally, Champion Brewery and Champion Brewmaster awards are given in each of five brewery categories, based on the awards won by each brewery in the given size category. For small breweries, the winner was Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant of Media. Since it all started in Newark, we’re claiming that as a win for Delaware. Congratulations, Iron Hill and Dogfish. We’ve always known you were great.
New at SAS Cupcakes: $2 Tuesdays. Self-explanatory: Hit SAS on Main Street in Newark for $2 cupcakes all day on Tuesdays. That’s one delicious deal. If you need a novel gift, plan to do a little shopping in the shop. 368-2253, sascupcakes.com
For Dear Old Dad
Act now. There are only a few reservations still available for the Ugly Tie Father’s Day Brunch at The Green Room of the Hotel du Pont on June 17. Enjoy beef tenderloin with red wine jus at the carving station, roasted Verlasso salmon with roasted garlic cream, the chef’s terrine and charcuterie, brandied lobster bisque, salads, unique French toast and pancake combinations, and lots of delicious pastries. The buffet runs 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., for $38 per person. For rezzies: 594-3154. Seriously—call today.
In Another League
Among other new arrivals at the beach this season, hello to Ivy, in the former Venus on the Half Shell at Dagsworthy Street and The Bay in Dewey Beach. Go for dinner. Stay to dance. Order everything by the piece. That means you won’t get too full or spend more than you need to. Some menu highlights:
Marinated grilled Asian hot wing, $2
Thai spice-crusted sea scallop on scallion rissotto cake with hoisin-lime glaze, $4.50
Smoked fontina-polenta fritter with marmalde of charred onion and apricots, $4
Braised beef short rib with roasted garlic polenta cake and bacon jus, $4.50
Ceviche of shrimp, scallops, lobster and ahi, $4
Kobe beef sliders on toasted brioches with micro greens and Roma tomato, $3
Snow crab claw with wasabi cocktail sauce, $1.50
We could go on and on. Instead, we’re headed out to eat. 227-9292