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Rehoboth Beach, Spring 2004!


SWoodyWhite
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Spring is here, and with it comes the reopening of the summer resorts. Rehoboth Beach is no exception; restaurants that have been closed for the winter are unlatching their doors, and those that have been operating on limited hours are getting back to full service.

That being the case, I’m starting a new thread on what is happening in Rehoboth Beach, the better to reflect the changes with the seasons. If you can’t find what you want to know in this thread, check the older one at http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=31336&st=0 . And by all means ask questions, and either I or someone else will try to find an answer.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Café Zeus has reopened, after a winter’s closure. My partner (der Brucer) and I dropped by for their “Three-Way Thursdays,” which proved to be an excellent bargain. We started with $3 martinis (Absolut or Skyy), followed by a pair of offerings from their $3 appetizer menu. I tried the fried ravioli, with a marinara dipping sauce, while he had the Middle Eastern appetizer platter, where a selection of hummus, falafel, dolmas and pita bread played with a yogurt/cucumber dipping sauce. Der B is normally the sort of fellow that insists that the food he eats have spent part of its existence walking on it’s own; not so this time, as he was very pleased.

The Middle Eastern influence continued for der Brucer with the same cucumber sauce complimenting a spice-crusted rack of lamb. This came with couscous, and a chef’s variant on the listed vegetable. It turned out that Chef Charles Davidson hadn’t been pleased with the zucchini he had found in the markets, so he substituted a halved and grilled orange bell pepper, filled with roasted cherry tomatoes. The presentation looked good, and tasted even better, according to der B. For myself, I had the salmon steak topped with pistachio butter and herbs, which with served with orzo and a slice of grilled pineapple glazed with soy. The salty and the sweet was a good foil for the rest of the plate.

Dessert? A martini glass filled with chocolate truffles for me, which sent me into a happy if groggy heaven. Der B had an uncompromisingly thick slice of cinnamon cheesecake, served with a generous supply of squeeze-bottle caramel and chocolate. The cheesecake itself was baked in a biscuit/shortbread crust, a surprising choice that paid off very well.

Chef Davidson talked with us later about how he works using with French technique balanced with his own Southwestern upbringing. This dual background serves as an interesting base for a highly eclectic menu. While it wasn’t intentional, there are several choices on the menu that would satisfy most any vegetarian, making Café Zeus a good destination for a wide range of diners. Der Brucer wants to return, and soon. So do I; that Middle Eastern appetizer platter he had looked tasty.

Cafe Zeus, 37 Wilmington Ave, 302-226-0400

Currently open Thursdays through Sundays from 5pm

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Can you imagine my surprise when I sat down to partake in a wine & food tasting at one of my favorite Rehoboth resturants at a table with 6 strangers and the last two gentlemen to sit introduced themselves as Woody & Bruce. Knowing that SWoodieWhite was a fan of Celcius I casually looked over and sayd " Are you SWoodyWhite?" The stranger looked at me with a somewhat startled look and said "yes"? I intorduced myself and we proceeded to enjoy a wonderful event with a group of about 30.

It was a pleasure meeting these two fine gentlemen. I'll leave it up to Woody to describe the meal and wines. he can do so far better than I.

Also a report on AJ's Brewing Co. Not a review because I haven't tried their fare as of yet. I went by last weekend and the sign said that they'd be opening at 9PM on Saturday and another in the door saying they's be open at 7PM. I called and was told that they had just gotten the Dept. of Health OK the afternoon before and were scrambling to get open. The bar would be open at 7 and the kitchen at 9. That was a little too late for us to wait for diner and they were evolving the menu. This weekend we drove down on Saturday for the above mentioned Wine & Food Tasting so were limited in time, but two of our friends tried it out.

One had what she said was a very good fish & chips and the other had lamb chops, but was a little disappointed as she wanted rack of lamb. They both said the food was very good.

I stopped in on Sunday AM and picked up a menu and as I was doing so a voice came from the back room saying that the menu was a work in progress. Looks like burger, pizza some intersting sandwiches and so forth. I spoke with the person behind the the door and was told that they were brewing their own root beer as of now and were meeting with someone this week about setting up their brewing system. Until then their beer is being brewed by Fordham.

We'll eat their in a couple of weeks and let you know what we think FWIW.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Spring, and the reopening of Rehoboth Beach, continues. A stroll down Rehoboth Blvd. revealed the following:

Summerhouse will be opening it's doors again on May 6th.

Abstractions, the sushi bar and restaurant at 203 Rehoboth, returns tomorrow, April 9th. http://www.diningdebeaches.com/show_restau...&submenu=&town=

Same night marks the return of the Rehoboth branch Hooters.

Already open on a limited basis are Sydney's, the jazz club next to Cloud 9(Thursday through Saturday) and Taste (122 Rehoboth, Friday-Sunday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for lunch).

And, coming this month, the Rehoboth Beach Wine and Food Festival, running Friday, April 23rd, to Sunday, April 25th. When I get more information, I'll be posting.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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A reopening that I missed was on Thursday, at Catchers (249 Rehoboth Ave., (302) 227-1808). I didn't mean to miss it, I just happened to be walking down the street in the other direction.

We made up for that lapse on Saturday. I had originally intended just to have der Brucer look at the menu posted by the window, but when he gets enthused over what he reads, I've learned not to interfere. I really didn't want to cook that night, anyway.

Catchers is definately geared for family dining. Der B's comment was that it reminded him of homestyle cooking that had turned enough of a profit to redecorate. I'm inclined to agree; the dining room is bright and cheery, with fun posters on the wall and a staff easily identified by their colorful shirts over beige shorts or slacks. The menu specializes in seafood, of course, although there are things like BBQ and Prime Rib for those disinclined.

Der Brucer started with their cream of crab soup, a sherry-based bisque; I had the Maryland crab soup, lightly spicy and filled with veggies. Both soups had generous amounts of backfin crabmeat. We followed with a shared appetizer, a stuffed portobello mushroom, filled with their Lobster and Crab Imperial, and topped with red and yellow tomatoes. Again, the crab and lobster included was generous; the balance between the seafood, the portobello, and the tomatoes was interesting and delicious.

His entree was the grilled Flounder Almondine, served on a pool of lobster cream sauce. I tried one of the specials, a pecan-crusted red snapper, again grilled. Both fish were done just right, flavorful and moist. Two sides come with each entree; we both had the creamed spinach, and while I opted for the garlic mashed potatoes, he had the stewed tomatoes. "These have been done right," he commented, noting how the tomatoes were still meaty without having turned to mush.

Did we have a quibble? No, not a real one. Our waitress was nervous opening the bottle of wine, but that's a skill that takes practice, and der Brucer is an old hand at coaching those new to the task. By the end of the evening, our server was joking with him like an old pro.

This is a restaurant I can recommend, easily.

Most entrees run from $15-22, appetizers are in the $8 range. They do have a children's menu; as I said at the start, this place is geared for families. Rehoboth being what it is, that means it's a place for everybody.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Another weekend, and business is picking up all over the place. Saturday, the boardwalk was filled with people strolling and enjoying the sun, gift shops were doing a lively business, and more restaurants had their doors open.

The next two weekends will be particularly busy. Running Thursday, April 22nd through Sunday, April 25th, is the Lewes Blues Festival. http://www.diningdebeaches.com/preview.php...uesfestival.htm

At the same time, from Friday, April 23rd through Sunday, April 25th, is the Rehoboth Beach Food and Wine Festival. http://www.diningdebeaches.com/preview.php...foodandwine.htm

Following closely behind, the following weekend, is the Rehoboth Beach Cabaret Festival, from Friday, April 30th, through Sunday, May 2nd. http://www.diningdebeaches.com/preview.php...cabaretfest.htm

And I've been told that things aren't supposed to be really busy until July 4th!

Edited by SWoodyWhite (log)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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I've been wanting to head over to La Tolteca for some time now, but der Brucer has been hesitant. His previous experience with Mexican cuisine here in Rehoboth was less than stellar, and he really didn't want to get burned again. Still, while he's a Philly boy, born and bred, his living in SoCal left a mark on his appetites, so Saturday, after touring the town, he suggested we head on up Highway One and give the place a try.

What we found was a very friendly place, and a popular one. The main dining room and the patio were both filled with people, both with families and groups of friends. The blended margaritas we were served tasted of good, fresh lime juice; they can also be ordered on the rocks. The obligatory bowl of chips were crisp but not greasy, with a definate corn flavor; the salsa served with them came in a small caraffe to be poured in a shallow bowl, with lots of tomato, onion, and chiles, plus some cilantro mixed in.

Der Brucer ordered a combination plate of chile relleno and beef enchiladas. I've a heartier appetite, and went for a grande combo that was large enough to require two plates. The chile relleno was very good, filled with cheese and fried until it was liquid, but with the chile itself retaining some of it's fresh crunch. The enchilada filling was ground beef that had been simmering so that the chile powder had blended with the other ingredients, packing some heat but not harsh at all. The guacamole and lettuce on top of a crisp tortilla provided a cool contrast to the other items on the plate. The only part of the plate that fell short was the taco, more my fault than the restaurant's because I left it 'til last, and the shell on the bottom had gotten a bit soggy. As for the rice and beans that came with both dinners, der B. was very happy. He loves good Mexican rice and beans, and there weren't any left on his plate this time. I was too full to finish mine.

There can be a bit of a show, if a table is large enough: the server comes in wearing an oven glove that covers most of his arm, with as many as seven or eight plates stacked along that outstretched arm. I didn't want to know what would happen if someone made a wrong move the server passed by, but it never happened.

It wasn't until we were leaving that der Brucer realized that mariachi music had been playing in the background the entire time, although I had heard it all through dinner. Busy as the place was, the noise level was fairly low; if the music had been any louder, things could have become unpleasant, but that never happened, either.

There are lunch specials, as well, smaller plates at smaller prices. La Tolteca, 4578 Highway One, in the Midway Shopping Center, Rehoboth Beach.

Edited by SWoodyWhite (log)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The First Annual Rehoboth Beach Food and Wine Festival appears to have been a success. Most of the venues were nicely busy with the tastings, and we had a good time meeting new people. (Although der Brucer was right, in going from one place to the next with glasses in hand, that it felt a bit like an adult version of trick or treat!)

While we were out and about, we've heard of a danged good special running at the Blue Moon on Tuesday nights. At a price of $30 per person, they serve a three-course meal of appetizer, salad, and entree; each course comes with a glass of wine. Add dessert, and a dessert wine is also added.

This special will be running every Tuesday before Memorial Day, and will return after Labor Day.

Blue Moon - 35 Baltimore Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE. (302) 227 6515

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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We finally made our way over to Bin 66 on Route 1 (near Gold's Gym). That stretch of highway has been torn up all through the winter, and still needs a lot of work done. But since we've been trying to find a better vet for our dogs, we were in the area and decided to drop in.

This has to be one of the best laid-out wine and liquor stores I've ever been in! Everything is clearly labled and organized. Three circular racks in the front of the store point out best buys, special values, and good gift wines; coolers for beer are stocked in this area as well. Going back, American Reds and Whites are well displayed; along the wall are European wines, and in the back room are the Aussie and Chilean bottles, as well as the fizzy stuff. Hard liquors are along the other wall.

The mark-ups from the distributors wholesale prices are quite reasonable. Rather than the hard metals I see too often in wine stores, Bin 66 is friendly and inviting, with the racks made of redwood. Add to that a staff that is low-key and good with their answers, and I understand why there have been as many favorable comments written earlier.

Now for the really good news: Every Saturday afternoon through Halloween, Bin 66 will be holding wine tastings. Several bottles will be opened each week, and no, you don't have to bring your own glassware, because they use real glass instead of plastic. (Tasters will have to rinse their glasses between wines, of course.) Given the selection of wines Bin 66 has to offer, and that there will be no charge, these tasting Saturdays could turn into a regular event for those in the area.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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The Rehoboth Beach Cabaret Fest was held this weekend. We hit a couple of spots on Friday, and one on Saturday.

Friday we started at Abstractions (203 Rehoboth Ave. - 302-226-0877), a sushi bar and restaurant. They had a good soul stylist singing, whose act would have been better with a live band. I don't know much about sushi, but we enjoyed what we had.

We followed this up with a late-evening jazz set at Sydney's, ( http://yp.washingtonpost.com/E/V/WASDC/002.../79/index.html/ ) where jazz performances are a regular feature. We didn't try their dinner menu, but the desserts were enjoyable.

In both cases, we want to go back to the restraurants again.

The same can't be said about Adriatico, our Saturday dinner. The food was average at best; what can you say when the ravioli is tough? Our server was pleasant, but he couldn't make up for the kitchen. Making matters worse was the entertainment, an act brought down from NYC. The problem was, she couldn't sing, and she wasn't funny. Her backup group was tolerable, but clueless. To top things off, she made repeated condescending jokes about Delaware rednecks that didn't go over, and repeated condescending jokes about drag queens, which also didn't go over.

The good news was that we were able to escape through the back door.

Der Brucer had to wash the aftertaste of that experience out of his mouth, so we went back to the Purple Parrot, where it was Kareoke night upstairs. Sure enough, no sooner had we found some seats but a friend of his came up to find out how we were doing. She was, of course, a redneck drag queen, in full regalia. Somehow, that made the night an enjoyable one.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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I certainly hope the food is improving up in Rehobeth Beach..cuz the last time I went with my wife two years ago we were treated to a world class week of mediocre and occasionaly shitty food..Note: I've been in the restaurant business for 20+ years so don't waste your time posting that I'm an uneducated suburban loser who digs eating at Applebees or some other shiite.... The food "scene" in Rehobeth is remarkable not only for the $30-40 dollar entrees I saw on just about every "independent" restaurant menu but also for the total lack of even decent execution of the food. Whats going on here? Theres not a lot of places in DC with 40 dollar entrees but I'm willing to bet that they are probably able to execute them on a service and food level. The Rehobeth service level seems to be all the waiters and cooks that have been fired from everywhere south of the beach...kinda sad overall...There was even a restaurant called "Fusion"...wow..so cutting edge, the menu was a little asian and a little southwestern...very 1986

listen to Black Sabbath..often

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Woody, great posts, as always!

My month of vacation comes to an end this week, and I had lots of fine dining out, including the trip up north. We had wonderful meals in Rehoboth and Lewes, at Dogfish Head, Blue Moon, The Buttery, and Striper Bites. Will post more later...

Thanks for your continuing coverage of the Rehoboth dining scene.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I guess we won't be seeing you around RehobOth this summer. Yikes!

Woody, I'm with you re: Adriatico. Fortunately, pasta isn't generally on my wish list when looking for good beach eats because Adriatico is crazy-bad and there aren't many other Italian options near the heart of Rehoboth

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Mr. Danzig has every right to complain if he feels the experience wasn't what he wanted. Der B and I have been to places here where the service was less than perfect, and there are high-ticket items which seem too high.

I attribute some of this to the seasonality of the food/service work here in Rehoboth Beach. Many places shut down for the winter, and most cut back on their hours. This has an impact on kitchens and waitstaff alike. And, frankly, our experiences with RB summers have been restricted to a very few weeks a few years back, with very little dining out. (I was cooking for der B's family, to hold down expences; we were lucky to get one night to ourselves on those vacations.) So this summer will be filled with discoveries, as I become more aware of what my new home has to offer.

And Mr. Danzig has made me aware of a flaw in my reporting: I'm not detailing the price ranges at the restaurants I've encountered. I've always tended to think in terms of "High End"/"Mid-Range"/"Snack Food," and let it go at that.

All the same, I think Rehoboth has much more to offer than Mr. Danzig found.

Which reminds me, DonRocks, that I picked up a menu from Nicola Saturday, since it's right next door to Adriatico. (8 N. 1st St., 227-6211) It's been three years, but on a quality-time outing on one of those vacations I had the Nic-o-boli while der Brucer and his grandson (about four years at the time) shared a pizza and fries. The Nico-o-boli was a pretty good variation on a calzone, and the pizza was far better than the town standard, which seems to be Grotto Pizza. (Yes, Malawry, I know you like Grotto, we're just going to have to differ on this one. :cool: ) Noc-o-bolis run from $5.50 to $7.85 with "everything," and a regular, 12-inch pizza with everything runs $16.75. Which seems reasonable.

http://www.nicolapizza.com

(Edited for address and phone number.)

Edited by SWoodyWhite (log)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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A possibly appealing offer for SWoodyWhite:

The notoriously particular dining critic for the main Delaware paper, The News Journal, is seeking some likely candidates to join him on future beach-area reviews, and the thought occurred to him (a rare occurrence), that folks such as SWoody and Der Brucer may like to contribute their expertise (and get a free meal in the bargain.) I tried to e-mail SWoody directly, without success (apparently I have a less-than-powerful status on eGullet that forbids me aquiring e-mail addresses).

SWoody, if this sounds like something you'd like to join me on, please drop me a line (eruth@delawareonline.com) or call me at (302) 324-2885. Always enjoy reading your posts!

Thanks

Eric Ruth

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Eric: Der Brucer and I would enjoy meeting you. I've sent you an e-mail with more details.

Hope to meet you soon - S. Woody.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Woody, I have some Rehoboth-update questions for you:

Have you found any good Indian spots in the area?

How about middle Eastern?

Have you been to the Cultured Pearl lately? If so, how was it? I haven't been there in years and was thinking of taking a sushi-loving friend there this summer.

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I had the honor of being the Cultured Pearl's first lunch customer last month. The menu consists of mainly sandwhiches and wraps, if I remember correctly. The only soup that was served was the miso soup.

The quality of the fish was excellent but unfortunately it was lost to other flavors. I ordered two different rolls (can't remember which, sorry) and both were fine. But the ingredients other than the fish powered each roll. I ended up deconstructing the rolls and eating the fish seperately so I could enjoy it.

I am having a hard time imagining an Indian restaurant down there, but then agian who would have thought a Russian caviar joint would last more than one season?

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Indian restaurants? Haven't come across any. At least not yet.

Middle Eastern? That would be the provence of The Camel's Hump, at 21 Baltimore in Rehoboth (302 227 0947). That's where der Brucer and I sampled a sizable flight of Greek wines during the Food and Wine Festival. We didn't get around to sampling the food, however. I'd put it in the mid-range, pricewise. And the staff struck me as friendly and attentive.

We'll be stopping by the Cultured Pearl (19 Wilmington, 302 227 8493) on Friday, May 14th. The Cape Gazette, our must-read weekly for local news, is holding what they're calling The Great Taste, a fundraiser benefitting Rehoboth-Lewes Meals on Wheals, the Rehoboth Art League, and Rehoboth Beach Main Street. Each participating restaurant (and the Cultured Pearl is one) will be offering a light buffet to people buying tickets, along with showing artwork by local artists.

The full list of participating restaurants can be found at http://www.rehomain.com/Great%20Taste.html

My only regret is not finding out about this event sooner, or I would have posted. Sorry!

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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