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Rehoboth Beach, DE Fine Dining

I need a suggestion for a special birthday dinner in or near Rehoboth Beach. We have been summering here for five years and have eaten at most of the restaurants, but want someplace we have eaten at before: Justin Thyme, La La Land, Chez La Mer, 59 Lake. Any comments or suggestions?

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  1. No question for me: Nage on Route 1 or Cafe Azafran in Lewes

    1 Reply
    1. re: jlwnc

      I wasn't impressed with LaLa Land. It wasn't bad, just a bit forgettable (my husband's steak, though, was awful....all he could taste was the "char"). I loved Nage, and recently went to the relocated "Cultured Pearl" and thought the atmosphere was excellent and the food yummy.

    2. I highly recommend either Nage or Cultured Pearl depending on your mood...they are both excellent!

      1. Espuma - The chef's tasting menu is definitely worth it.

        THe Cultured pearl was also very nice

        2 Replies
        1. re: bd9

          Chez La Mer and Eden are good choices if you have not eaten there before (could not tell from your post if you had or had not eaten at these).

          I've never been to Espuma, but I'm itching to try it based on the overall good reviews.

          1. re: Pool Boy

            Went to Espuma and Chez La Mer last weekend. One thing of IMPORTANCE to note is that Espuma Chef & Owner Jay Caputo has been confirmed to have purchased Chez La Mer as of June 15th 2007.

            Espuma rocked and Chez La Mer was hit or miss. Some great stuff at Chez La Mer (escargots, pate, bouilliabaise) and some duds (sweetbreads & chicken). 1/2 price wine on Mondays still is offered and I can't coment on current desserts as we passed. But the chairs have all been upgraded and are much more comfortable now.

            Espuma was a wonderful experience and all around a better performer than Chez La Mer.

            Some more details on Espuma--

            OK, here is what the my wife and I had for dinner at Espuma --

            I had Prawns with beans lemon olives and broth of the gods -- this was simple ane brilliant at the same time. Perfectly executed.

            My wife had 'Bacon and Egg salad'. A poached egg which was then barely dipped in bread crumbs and super flash fried on top of some really excellent bacon and a salad to go with it all....Super.

            My main course was a Duck Confit with brown butter gnocchi and oyster mushrooms with fig spread on top -- well executed and the duck was the highlight of this dish. Good stuff.

            My wife opted for the Chicken (with crispy skin) with peppers, almond ravioli and lobster and best mystery sauce ever -- Damn fine.

            Wine was 2003 Fiddlehead Cellars Pinot Noir 728 fiddlestix -- awesome cinnamon and brown butter and ripe cherries and brown spice -- a very good wine. Maybe 90 points.

            Dessert was an Ice Cream Sandwich with ginger orange ice cream and cinnamon meruinge cookies and dried cherries.

            All in all a great meal. It was made better by the fact that we could linger a bit and the space was nice. Comfortably appointed, there is a wall and curtains alternating to set off the dining room from the bar to leave you feeling a bit of the vibe of the bar area without it becoming too noisy. Service was excellent with the staff being very familiar with the whole menu and specials as well as the wine list -- always a plus. The fact that it was ridiculously walkable from the place we were staying was another plus.

            I'd definitely go again -- or wherever the chef decides to be now that he's bought Chez La Mer.


        2. I've been to Rehoboth several times in the last few years, and my top recommendations are Confucius and The Cultured Pearl.

          Confucius is some of the better Chinese food I've had.

          Cultured Pearl's new space is just phenomenal, and the sushi is still top rate (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaszeta/... for a pic from yesterday). Alas, I found the service a little cranky, and had one of the more bizarre conversations I've ever had with a waitress ("why, if the cultured combo doesn't come with Miso soup, does it say that it comes with miso soup right here in the menu."). But the sushi was top quality, and I rather enjoyed our appetizers as well.

          1. One of my favorites is CLOUD 9 on Rehoboth Ave. Blue Moon is a staple in Rehoboth and never disappoints. Haven't tried Nage, but hear it's amazing, just not in-town walkable.

            1. OK, here's the update on Overeater's list of four:

              59 Lake folded, and the site now houses Stingray, which bills itself as a fusion of latino and sushi flavors. I didn't see anything on their menu that got me enthusiastic last time I looked - it seems more of a night club with sushi as an added attraction. Cultured Pearl and Abstractions would be my choices for sushi.

              Chez La Mer was, indeed, bought by chef Jay Caputo, and is now totally revamped as Porcini House. We celebrated my birthday there last year, and the food was wonderful. But I have to admit a bias here - Chef Jay also happens to be a regular customer at the market where I work, and we've had several friendly conversations. (I've got to find out more about his idea re saucing duck with a peach puree, that he tossed off to my other half at the Farmer's Market last Tuesday.)

              La La Land is, I believe, still operational, but it's been listed in the local paper as for sale.

              Which leaves Just In Thyme. We tried it once a few years ago, and have had no urge to return. It wasn't bad, just tired. The bar appeared to be loaded - so did the people at the bar. Just sayin'.

              So, of the four, I'd head to Porcini House. In a flash. (The lemon tart with the shortbread crust - just thinking of it is making my mouth water again.)

              4 Replies
              1. re: S. Woody

                Hey Woody,

                I'm once again in need of suggestions for a great place for a birthday dinner and I haven't yet been to Porcini House. I'm considering that. Any other suggestions. What about Blue Coast in Bethany or Cafe Azafran in Lewes?

                1. re: Overeater

                  Hi Overeater. S. Woody gives good advice so here is a recent post that you might find helpful: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/645534
                  Lupo Di Mare might be a nice choice for your special dinner here. I have not been but it looks beautiful and has received several good reviews here at Chowhound in addition to this one from S. Woody.
                  You might like Fish On in Lewes for a special occasion. We have been many times and are never disappointed. Blue Coast is probably just as good since it is run by the same group, which also runs Lupo.
                  My husband and I have been twice to Porcini House, once for lunch then with friends for dinner. We really like the place a lot. We were just surprised that their lunch and dinner menus were the same and it is a rather small menu too. It is more quaint, but still quite nice.
                  I love Cafe Azafran but have only been for breakfast and lunch, never for dinner. It is much more casual and is very small.
                  I think you would love any of these restaurants.

                  1. re: Overeater

                    I ate at the bar at Porcini house in August, so the experience was not quite the same as if you got a real table. I had the BLT flat bread pizza and Parmesan fries which were both outstanding. It was a slow night and the bartender Stephanie was charming and lovely.

                  2. re: S. Woody

                    Just had dinner at La La Land last week. They are very much open. The back bar is my favorite place in Rehoboth.