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A handy program guide to Restaurant Week 2018

June 1, 2018

I receive so many emails asking for my pick hits at local restaurants. So what better time than the second annual Coastal Delaware Restaurant Week (kicking off this Sunday, June 3) to have dining advice foisted upon you by an opinionated guy with an overactive fork? Vacationers, take note: You might want to clip this out for future reference. We're talking Pulitzer Prize here.

Restaurant Week is sponsored by the Cape Gazette, RehobothFoodie.com, and the generous people at Jack Lingo Realtor. The official participants (see their Restaurant Week menus at RestaurantWeekDE.com) offer special prix fixe menus, and I know that you'll return to these places once you try their food. So when you do, here are some of my pick hits. Be prepared to think (and eat) out of the box. OK: Fasten your seat belts! (If they still fit....) 

If the pizza is on the menu at The Blue Hen, order it. The must-have Thai wings remain on the menu at Shorebreak Lodge. Matt's Fish Camp Lewes and Bethany also have great wings and the hard-to-find fried Ipswich clams. Anything tandoori at Rehoboth's own Indigo Indian restaurant will be a home run (don't forget the garlic naan and the onion kulcha). The lasagna and the chicken parm are must-gets at Touch of Italy Rehoboth & Lewes (if you can make it past the alla sopressata pizza, that is...). I love the cool and crispy salads - with Lisa's family-recipe dressing - at DiFebo's in Bethany and Rehoboth. And don't go to Eden without getting the Broken Arrow Ranch venison chop and the Crab & Lobster Tower. 

The Clubhouse at Baywood is the place for lobster toast and grilled pork tenderloin. Creamy crab dip (with freshly baked pretzels!) and the potato-romano encrusted salmon are the things to order at Bethany's Café on 26. Friends with Palate Bistro co-boss Lorraine Papp know that anything dessert will be an existential experience. Bonz steakhouse at the Harrington Casino is home to Chef Ryan Cunningham's genuine wagyu steaks. If you miss the Wednesday/Sunday Paella Feasts at Café Azáfran, then you haven't really eaten at the beach (reservations only!). Grab the latest Coastal Style Magazine to read about my pick hits (including Josh's great salads and steak) at Millsboro's Blue Water Grill. And Wednesday's year-round half-price pasta nights at Lupo Italian Kitchen continue to be the stuff of legend. 

Conch Island is a lot more than rock 'n' roll: Get the conch chowder, the Blue Heaven Burger and the conch fritters. Jakes on the Highway hits the jackpot with that amazing cheezy crab dip. The Create Your Own pasta menu at Casa DiLeo is DIY fun and wallet friendly. Don't leave Bethany Blues in Lewes and Bethany Beach without an order of Pigs on the Wing. And the Sunday brunch buffet at Bethany Blues Lewes is one of the best deals in town. 

Pretty much any of the creatively constructed salads at The Station on Kings are sure to please. And you can shop around at the same time! Full Belly Bistro's reasonably priced lunch specials are must-gets for denizens of Lewes. G Rehoboth's crab & corn chowder and the short rib grilled cheese are the perfect pair - particularly when consumed on their quiet and very private patio. And anything that hints of fried chicken or short rib at JAM Bistro will be an instant hit. Menu items at Victoria's Restaurant are all served with a side of Boardwalk and panoramic ocean views. And then there's Chef Raul's happy hour menu at Fish On in Lewes: Trust me on this.

Veggie tempura at The Cultured Pearl. Frito Pie and the ribs at Cooter Brown's. Saturday and Sunday brunches at Fork + Flask at Nage (you'll love the new small plates menu). Bluecoast Rehoboth's fried oysters and Chef Doug's own crispy ribs. Speaking of ribs, I can't get past the tea-smoked ribs at Saketumi. Flatbreads and the onion frizzle-topped burgers are my pick hits at Blackwall Hitch. Just in Thyme is a locals' favorite with one of the most popular happy-hour menus in town. Gladys' own guacamole at Cilantro is not to be missed, either. 

1776 Steakhouse has stood the test of time with that black ravioli appetizer and top-notch steaks. The new chef at Rehoboth Ale House has raised the bar from boring pub grub to tasty and creative dishes like his seared flatiron steak. This newly re-imagined place is worth checking out. Fridays at Chesapeake & Maine come with freshly fried fish served up with a side of guitarist Bruce Anthony. The craft list at Lewes' Pig & Publican is ably matched by their creative dishes with a Belgian accent. Get anything "poutine." 

Three-time James Beard nominated a(AMUSE.) restaurant morphs fresh mid-Atlantic ingredients into beautifully presented entrees with a side of veteran Rehoboth bartender David Engel. Yolanda's house-made tamales, pupusas and tres leches cake are the things to get at Mariachi. Bethany's Sedona is another time-tested eatery with house-made small plates at special prices. When you go to Ristorante Zebra, get the tortellini with peas and prosciutto. It's a consistent winner - especially if you're dining on the delightful front porch. Speaking of porches, the back porch at Back Porch Café on the ocean block is where you want to spend your Sunday mornings. You will not soon forget the blueberry scones and the eggs Benedict. Ditto for Blue Moon. The fresh pastries ... ahhh .... 

Try one, try 'em all. Either way, rev up your forks and have a great Coastal Delaware Restaurant Week. And here's the kicker: Everything tastes even better because we donate a portion of the advertising proceeds to our local Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth! So there. And don't lose this list.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.