Former Café Azafrán spot is still a family affair

May 22, 2014
Beets and mixed greens cavort with almonds, pecorino and arugula garlic dressing at The Gate House of Lewes. BY FOODIE

I had this wonderful topic all planned for you this week. I was going to explore the vagaries, whimsies and caprices of caramel corn and related confections. It was shaping up to be a groundbreaking essay – a Pulitzer magnet if there ever was one.

Then last Sunday I made the mistake of going to the brand new Gate House of Lewes for dinner. All bets were off, because I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. So caramel corn’s loss is your gain, as this place is quickly shaping up to be a winner.

Along with their sons Wilson and Taylor, Wilmington natives Gretchen and Chip Gates bring over 60 years of combined culinary experience to this diminutive eatery at 109 Market Street. Gretchen graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, and her sons are diplomats of the Culinary Institute of America. School is one thing, but real-world experience in distinguished kitchens such as Jean-Georges in New York City and the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is what really tells the tale.

Though everything is outstanding, the MVP (most valuable plate) title is a tossup between the kale salad and the almond crusted duck breast. The salad is finely chopped with pumpkin seeds and parmesan, with a texture like tabbouleh.

I could order that lemon garlic dressing in a wine glass and drink it through one of those squiggly straws.

The duck isn’t encrusted with just any almonds – they’re Jordan almonds! Thin slices of the roasted breast share the plate with peppered kale, and the whole thing is drizzled in a reduction of the duck juices and … wait for it … amaretto!

Gate House is open for lunch and dinner 7 days, and summer seats in the cozy herb garden promise to be prime Lewes real estate.

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