Dining in Wilmington DE
My wife and I will be celebrating an anniversary with a stay at the Hotel Dupont. While I know the Green Room is considered to be excellent, I'm looking for places away from the hotel to dine. We will be there Fri-Mon, and so far I have a Saturday night reservation at Domaine Hudson. I'd appreciate other recommendations. Since I'm a wine geek (hence the one reservation I've made so far) I'd appreciate knowing about any good BYO places too. I'd also like to know of good places to get breakfast. While prices is not a major object, I don't want every meal to be expensive.
If it's a nice day, breakfast on the deck at Kid Shelleen's (14th and Scott Sts. in Wilmington, about a five-minute drive from the Hotel DuPont) is a pleasant option on a weekend. You can even walk there in about 20 minutes--after you get across I-95, you're going through the Trolley Square neighborhood, which a fun place to walk around and look at houses, if you're up for a little exercise.
Wilmington is not BYO country, unfortunately. There are really no options.
We had a good time over the weekend. Wonderful weather, beautiful countryside as we spent some time driving around in DE and PA.
My trip to Domaine Hudson was everything I could hope for as a wine geek and foodie. (I know that is a dirty word here on CH)
Friday evening we decided to walk over to Deep Blue since it was very close to the hotel. Dinner was quite good, service was excellent, and the wine list was reasonably priced.
My dinner at Domaine Hudson on Saturday was fantastic. (Disdclaimer: I had never met Tom Hudson or his wife Meg prior to this visit, but I have had some interaction with him on the Wine Spectator Forums where we are both members.)
We were greeted by Meg as we came in and she showed us to a table in the window. We were quite impressed by the place, quiet, serene, yet obviously well run.
Our server came to the table with two flights of Champagne and sparklers as we looked at the menu and decided what we wanted. TFor the wine geeks among you, hey were:
Fabrice Gasnier "La Cravantine" ROSE Sparkling Chinon (NV)
Aubry "Premier Cru" Champagne (NV)
Domaine Barmes Buecher Cremant d'Alsace (2006)
After they were delivered, Tom came over and we talked wine, the Wine Spectator crew, and Wilmington. He is a nice guy and I was pleased to finally meet him. I asked him to choose what we drank that evening and we started what was a long and fantastic evening of great food and wine.
We started with a cheese plate: Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton, Crottin de Chavignol, and Drunken Goat. All were excellent and served with crackers, olives and fig spread.
Served with the cheese was a flight of Rieslings
Chehalem "Reserve" Dry Riesling (2006)
Freiherr von Heddesdorff "Trocken" Riesling (2007)
Peter Mertes "Privatkellerei" Riesling Kabinett (2007)
We then progressed to the Domaine Hudson Mixed Salad (baby greens, apple, Jicma, and an orange-champagne vinaigrette)for my wife and a small plate of the jumbo sea scallops (4 large scallops with mashed carrots, pumpkin seeds, pomegranates and a walnut-maple butter sauce) for me. They were perfectly cooked and some of the best scallops I've ever eaten.
Tom then dipped into his cellar and brought out a 2005 Loring Paso Robles Russell Family Vineyard Pinot Noir. He served it in two glasses, one a traditional burgundy glass, the other an Oregon pinot noir glass (with a curved up rim) so we could see how different they tasted based on the glass. I was supprised, but they tasted different based on the glass. The burgundy glass tended to deposit the wine further back on the tongue and gave it a totally different feel and sensation. In any case, it was a wonderful Loring, lots of wild berrys and pomegranate with spice and nicely balanced oak. Wonderful wine.
My wife then ordered the flatiron steak, served with asparagus, exotic mushrooms, romaine and gorgonzola cream. She loved it. I ordered the Free-Range duck breast, with a fennel-papaya slaw and a citrus vinaigrette. To accompany them Tom produced an absolutely stunning 2004 Quinta do Valle Meao Douro. I wish I had some of this wine so I could cellar it for 5 or more years. It was inky and powerful. Flavors of plum, mocha, spices, beef and smoke with fine tannins and a long finish. What a huge and powerful wine. Wonderful.
For dessert my wife ordered the chocolate and zucchini brownie while I had the blackberry sauvignon sorbet. Both were excellent, especially since they were accompanied by a wonderful South African sticky. A 2001 Vinde Constance Klein Constantia, my wife's favorite of the night.
I can't emphasize how wonderful the meal was. Great food, fantastic wine, wonderful service, and two wonderful people to thank for it. Tom and Meg have a great place here, I certainly hope they do well as this is just the kind of wine bar that every wine nut dreams about. They made our anniversary a memorable one. I know that I will stop in every time I find myself in the area. I also highly recommend it to anyone who loves great food and great wines.
You might try Mikimoto's for Sushi and it is very close to the Hotel. My fav, Toscana located just a few miles away, Deep Blue located very close to the Hotel. The only BYO that I am aware of is a Peruvian restaurant south of Wilmington but still not far away and very good food, not a great area but worth a try, Manos Latinas. Elipse is also a good option. Let me know what you try and how you like it.
Whatever you do, don't try Manos Latinas. Had to be the worst meal I've had in years...and my stomach hurt afterwards! It's not at all fancy either. You may want to consider Moro in Wilmington or Krazy Kats in Montchannin or....if you really want a good BYO, head to Philly (30 minutes up the road from your hotel).