Even more ethnic eateries on the way!

June 15, 2017

Out of the 50 or 60 emails I receive daily, there are always a few from locals and vacationers alike that express a desire for more ethnic restaurants here on our Culinary Coast. Many of us moved here from metropolitan areas that are rife with exotic eats, but here in our still-rather-rural neck of the woods … not so much.

Well, as development continues and more and more people are living here year-round, ethnic restaurateurs are gambling that there are finally enough full-timers to keep their seats full. The three most recent to open (or are opening soon) are Indigo Indian restaurant in the ocean block of downtown Rehoboth Beach, Miyagi Ramen Bar near the Safeway on Coastal Highway, and Minh’s Bistro, also on The Highway near the Wawa at Rt. 24.

Vietnamese entrepreneur (and talented actor/singer in his own right!) Thinh Famh is about to open Minh’s Bistro, Rehoboth’s very first Vietnamese restaurant. Named after Thinh’s youngest brother, Minh’s Bistro will serve all the favorites many of us loved in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City, including the ubiquitous pho, grilled grape leaves, summer rolls (Thinh calls them spring rolls) and more. I love the bright, light taste of Vietnamese food.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a media reception at the newly opened Indigo restaurant just steps from the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. Suraj Kumar came to Washington, D.C. from Punjab, India, first working in restaurants in New York, Austin, and Denver. Mr. Kumar and his wife Sudesh have been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. Their son, Raghu, will be the prime mover at Indigo to ensure that the food and service is up to the stellar reputation of their former eatery in Annapolis. By the way, you can meet Thinh Famh, Mr. Kumar and Raghu on my radio show airing at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 1 on Delaware 105.9.

Former Saketumi maître d’ Jeong Hoon Kim has partnered with Saketumi boss Tammy Wang to bring Miyagi Ramen Bar – and Japan’s now-famous noodle - to the beach. “These are not the ramen noodles you buy in the store and throw into boiling water,” Kim warns. “We make these entirely from scratch with our own recipe. We will serve the real thing.” Prices will range from $8 to about $15. Kim chimes in once again: “I want Miyagi Ramen Bar to be the essential neighborhood eatery.” Said eatery is slated to open in just a few weeks.

Of course no discussion of ethnic foods would be complete without a polite nod to a few of the pioneers who braved the year-round vagaries of resort restauranting to bring their family’s traditions to the beach. Semra and John Tekmen have been dishing up authentic Turkish cuisine (complete with belly dancing in the off-season) at Semra’s Mediterranean Grill on Rehoboth Avenue for several years.  I love those vertical, rotating roasters that make Semra’s gyros so delicious. John and Semra are always bringing new items to the menu, and I guarantee you will be surprised at how delicious these entrees are. (By the way, Gus & Gus’ Place on the Boardwalk also uses the vertical spits for gyros.)

Interestingly, the former occupant of Semra’s space was Seaside Thai, the first Thai restaurant in the downtown area. After that restaurant closed, the owner’s sister, Lily Thamibutra, ventured out to create Lily Thai in her tiny oasis on N. First Street next to the original Nicola’s. Lily has secured a good reputation for authentic Thai food served up in pleasing surroundings. She is not shy about using the proper spices and delivers on her promise of authentic Thai cuisine.

Of course we still have our sushi, Chinese, Mexican and Italian staples that we’ve come to know and love. They join all the brave entrepreneurs who have taken the risks inherent in resort dining to treat us to new and exotic tastes.

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