It Is Completely Easy Being Green

…when you’re scooping scallop crudo off Versace china inside the prestigious Green Room. Plus Walter’s, Deerfield, Vendemmia, and much more.

Restaurant Riff: The Green Room

The great thing about The Green Room is its ability to reduce any stone-faced, unaffected foodie into a kid who’s about to meet Mickey Mouse (or Justin Bieber). Eyes simply light up when they gaze upon the 100-year old, former Main Dining Room. The history! The art! The drapes! The chandeliers! The Four-Diamond awards! The china! If you’re the type of person who isn’t used to such opulence (*raises hand sheepishly*), the whole experience is pretty incredible. 

So for one night, my dining group sat up a little bit straighter in our chairs, spoke a bit softer, and wondered aloud whether we were using the right utensils. Big ups to Delaware Dines Out for making it all affordable.

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The opening table-setting featured a colorful, ornate Versace plate in front of each chair. The plates, beautiful though they were, dwarfed an amusebouche of scallop crudo, shown above, with hilarious results. Throughout the evening, chef Keith Miller and Co. dazzled. The special discount menu might not have been up to the usual Green Room-standard snuff (I’m still holding out for pan-seared corvina with kale marmalade), but everything was delicious. Most dishes didn’t last long enough to photograph.

Salmon did, just barely. The crispy seared filet sat atop roasted shallot pommes purée and beneath a tangle of sautéed spaghetti squash. I was happy to see the Hotel’s signature Brushstroke o’ Sauce implemented throughout the night (that’s a splotch of Vidalia onion cream above).

This Brushstroke o’ blackberry jam accompanied a terrifically gooey brie en croute, as did pumpkin purée. Between three of us, we knocked out nearly every item on the prix fixe menu, including butternut bisque “cappuccino” (pictured on the top of this page), duck fat-roasted Frenched chicken breast with red wine-black pepper vinaigrette, braised veal cheeks with citrus pear purée, and desserts like apple almond tart and cherry-vanilla crème brulée.

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Longtime Hotel du Pont staffer Carolyn Grubb told me last winter that the Green Room, thanks to affordable prix fixe specials and a more casual approach to fine dining, isn’t just suited for special occasions. I must respectfully disagree. Any occasion to dine at the Green Room is special automatically.

News and Events:

It’s On: Brunch season. Or so I’m told. Does brunch have a season? Is this like wedding season? Cougar season? Wabbit season?

In any event, Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club in Newark has its brunch season (October-May), and it is officially underway. The Best of Delaware-winning brunch kicked off last Sunday. What’s so fab about Deerfield’s brunch? It’s chef Paul O’Toole’s 111 feet of brunchy goodness, including made-to-taste Bloody Marys and hand-squeezed mimosas, eggs Benedict, bacon, sausage and scrapple, every breakfast carb known to man, a raw bar, a carving station (churning out entrées like flank steak and lamb roast), and tons more.

It’s an impressive display that packs the brunchers in weekly. Reservations are not required but are recommended, so call 368-6640. Or click here for more info on Deerfield brunch.

Tuesday, October 5: Walter’s Steakhouse, a local legend in its own right, is pairing with Delaware-owned Bouchaine Vineyards for a special wine dinner Tuesday. A look at the menu:

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Shrimp & scallops
Bouchaine Carneros Estate Chardonnay 2008


Bouchaine Rose of Syrah 2009

14-ounce Delmonico with roasted red onion sauce
Bouchaine Sonoma Syrah 2008

Hazelnut meringues with nectarines
Bouchaine Bouche d’or (Late harvest Chardonnay) 2009

Reservations fill up quickly, so call Walter’s at 652-6780 to reserve your $60 seat.

Wednesday, October 6: The Wilmington/Christiana Hilton, they of Brasserie Grille fame, have launched an exciting weekly wine special. Every Wednesday (known henceforth as Wine Down Wednesday), from the Conservatory Lounge, take in some live music and a premium bottle of wine for just $25. There are some good wine deals to be had, too, considering the selection:

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio
Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc
Robert Mondavi Special Select Pinot Grigio
Robert Mondavi Special Select Chardonnay
Kendall Jackson VR Chardonnay
Beringer White Zinfandel
Francis Ford Coppola Sofia
Robert Mondavi Special Select Pinot Noir
Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Mondavi Special Select Merlot
Francis Ford Coppola Zinfandel

Also from the Lounge during Wine Down Wednesdays: Robert Mondavi wines by the glass, $7; Estate Ultimat martinis with Bruno’s bleu cheese-stuffed olives, $8; Maker’s Mark Manhattans, $8. Call the Hilton at 434-1500 for more.

Sunday, October 10: Break out the smudgeless lipstick and dust off grandma’s gravy recipe: one of Wilmington’s signature events, the Societa da Vinci Vendemmia Wine Festival, kicks off this Sunday.

The event, held at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, is a celebration of all things Italian culture. There’s four hours of wine sampling (including contests that challenge home vintners), lots of Italian cuisine (including the fabled homemade gravy contest), and much, much more.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the gate, and is 100 percent returned to the community through family assistance, educational and cultural grants. Click here for ordering info.

Tuesday, October 12: This event isn’t for another week, but tickets are flying fast, so here goes: James Street Tavern, the reinvented, wine-friendly Newport eatery, is hosting a wine dinner next Tuesday to highlight some selections from Brown-Forman distributors.

Click here for a full menu. Tickets are $55 in advance and $60 at the door, and seats are limited, so make haste with reserving.

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