Hidden gems revisited
As a newspaper columnist, broadcaster or any other calling that puts you “out there,” learning what will hit a nerve (or what will not) is an inexact science at best. Take last week’s Beach Paper column, for example. What started out as a lighthearted culinary romp through some of our towns to the south, north and west, morphed into a magnet for emails, texts and Facebook posts questioning- and adding to - my choices. In spite of my brilliantly crafted disclaimer in the last paragraph citing space restrictions (and creeping senility) as an excuse for not including every last restaurant in the tri-state area, I did feel a few pangs of guilt for passing over a few places.
One of those is The Backyard in Milton. Diagonally across Rt. 16 from the new Gilligan’s and Po’Boys Creole, this friendly spot is known for hearty breakfasts, fresh lunches and early dinners. To add insult to injury, I even forgot to include The Backyard in my New Jersey-flavored Taylor Pork Roll go-to list that I published a few weeks ago. Sorry, Ami Rae! Milton wouldn’t be the same without you.
Now how will I wiggle out of last week’s topic and write about something new? Why bother … I’ll just power through and expand your range even more. Take Dover for example. Two of my favorite spots are Restaurant 55 and Cool Springs Fish Bar right next door. Though they are owned by the same family, they couldn’t be more different from one another. Cool Springs chef/owner Dennis Forbes prepares your food in a totally open kitchen. Bar seats surrounding mission control are the holy grail of visual dining. Dennis’ focus is certainly excellent seafood, but if his spicy ribs are on the menu, get them. Restaurant 55 is owned by his daughter Desiree. She whomps up big, juicy burgers using local beef delivered fresh daily. There are 16 combos from which to choose. Sip a craft draft and crunch some rings while you make up your mind.
Waaayyy south in Seaford I overlooked one of the new kids in town. I like Bon Appetit French restaurant so much that Dona Maria’s Pupuseria slipped my mind. Not unlike Fredy Garcia and Joaquin Cortez’ Cabañas restaurant across from Bethany Blues Lewes, Dona Maria’s features pupusas - warm corn tortillas stuffed with pretty much anything from cheese to beans, to beef, pork … just ask. Tamales and plantains also make the required appearances on the menu. I owe this popular place a visit and will post some photos at RehobothFoodie.com very soon.
Despite my (heroic?) attempts to cover all of my Fenwick favorites, I left out two spots that I love. The first is Barry Kruemmel’s Flying Fish Café. As the former sushi chef at Bethany’s popular Misaki, Barry continually bats a thousand not only with his rolls but his cleverly conceived entrees sporting an Asian accent. Just slightly north is Jimmy’s Kitchen in Ocean Bay Plaza (no relation to Jimmy’s Grille). The lanky and talkative Jimmy operates the flattop griddle like a 747 every day until he runs out of stuff.
His announcement of that fact signals the closing of the restaurant for the day. It usually happens in the very early afternoon. The Nor’Easter breakfast extravaganza and the freshly made chicken salad club (I add cheddar and bacon) are two of my pick hits. Rain or shine, there’s always a line.
Here comes that disclaimer again: I’m sure I left out somebody’s favorite place! But I only get to splatter so much ink onto this page, so get out there and discover your own hidden gems. You’re at the beach and it’s fun to explore.