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Wilmington, DE - Domaine Hudson & Harry's Seafood

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Had occasion to be in Wilmington for a couple of nights and had a couple of meals with Mrs MercerChow:

Harry's Seafood: Very pleased that they can produce that level of quality on that scale. For starters I had the ceviche sampler, including scallops, oyster, and snapper, and she had the steamed mussels. All very good. Main courses were crab cakes and soft shells. Yummy. The presentation on the soft shells was impressive - cut in half and stood on end, which I had never seen before. Dessert was a peach mousse, split, which was OK. Wines: two glasses of Veuve Clicquot Brut and a bottle of New Zealand riesling, all delightful. Service was fine. Would go back in a heartbeat.

Domaine Hudson: Disappointing. The oyster chowder for starters was quite good, but nothing else compared. Mrs M had the chicken and wild rice soup and the chicken was dry and overcooked. Not too hungry, she had the crab salad appetizer as a main course, which was fine. I had the free range (!) duck, which was OK. For afters had a cheese sampler, which was good. Wines: two glasses of rose champagne and a bottle of New Zealand pinot noir (Voss), all good. Service was slow and perfunctory - with a monosyllabic waiter. For example, asked for advice on choosing one wine among three and the response was "the Voss." A bit annoying that the table next to us - clearly populated by regulars - was being fawned over by several servers, while we were getting not much more than the occasional grunt. Would not go back.

Interestingly the tab for both meals was almost exactly the same (75-cent difference), so the Harry's was far and away the better value.

BTW, what's up with the street signs in downtown Wilmington? Very pedestrian-unfriendly. Most streets are one-way, and the cross-street signs can only be seen from the direction of auto traffic. Which means that those on foot coming from the other direction have no idea where they are.

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  1. You know I have eaten at DH a couple of times and never saw what everyone else sees. The food was ok at best but I assumed it was me since everyone else raves about the place. Next time try Moro....very good

    1. Have eaten at Harry's a number of times, and never been disappointed.
      http://www.harrysseafoodgrill.com/

      1. Harry's Seafood has been hit-or-miss with me (food and service). Sounds like at Domaine Hudson it was mostly the service that disapponted you, which is not the norm. I've eaten there several times. It's always been very good and have been pleased with the attention we were given. The servers taste the wines, too, so they have pretty good knowledge of what's on the menu. However, the owner is usually on-hand to talk with if there's any doubt, and he's the one who hand-selects every bottle on the menu. Hope you have a better experience next time. It's well worth another visit.

        1. Too bad you were disappointed at DH but to be honest, the one issue that I have ever had with this place has been the service. On my last visit, our waiter seemed pretty untrained, and the food came out of the kitchen wildly out of sequence (two out of four starters brought about 15 minutes before the other two, for instance). We did bring it up with the owners and efforts were made to straighten things out. I vaguely remember something being taken off the bill, or a free dessert provided, or something like that.

          In general I have found the wait staff at DH to be in need of more training--or at least, I would like the attitude to be a little less flip and casual. If I'm paying substantial money for a meal, which at DH I usually am, I want to feel that the person waiting on me is treating the occasion with more respect than I'd see at, oh, TGI Friday's. I don't ever want white-glove service, but I do want well-trained staff, especially given the need to know your way around that wine list.

          3 Replies
          1. re: travelmad478

            Good service is so appreciated. Tough job waiting tables, but even tougher when business slows down in the summer as people head to the shore, including some of the better servers (I know of a few who are seasonally transient and simply go where the $ is). Maybe I'm sympathetic because I waited tables once...ONCE. ;-)

            1. re: travelmad478

              This update from the original poster:
              Subsequent to my original post the proprietor of Domaine Hudson tracked me down to apologize and make amends for our experience there. I stand by my original comments (current verdict: guilty, with explanation).
              But to be fair, I think it is outstanding customer service to follow up as he did to set things right. His responsiveness sets a high standard.

              1. re: MercerChow

                DH's owner appears to read this board regularly and follow up on reviews (good and bad), to his great credit. I've found that bringing things to his attention gets immediate results. (Of course, I would rather not *have* to bring anything to his attention, but have it done right the first time, but better to have recourse than not.)

            2. Owner definitely encourages feedback. If you don't voice your displeasure at time of service, there's always e-mail -- contact info with email link on their Web site: http://www.domainehudson.com/contact....