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Lewes DE Trip Report (a little Rehoboth and Dewey too)

Bob W Aug 31, 2009 02:30 PM

We're back from a week in Lewes, and the news is good. There is a ton of great food to be had in that wonderful little town.

Blue Plate, Savannah Rd, Lewes.: We tried this place for breakfast. It was crowded when we arrived and more crowded when we ieft. With good reason. The food is very good (omelets, french toast, etc.). As you'd expect from the name, nothing too frou-frou. Just good solid food. Great choice for families with small kids.

Jerry's Seafood, Second St. Lewes: As many of you know, this is the home of the famous crab bomb. The crab bomb is a ten-ounce softball-sized mass of lump crabmeat and not much else. It costs $34. The question is, is it worth it? The answer is yes. Ten ounces of lump crabmeat is a lot of crabmeat. Really good. Ours came with decent redskin mashed potatoes and very good haricots vert. We also got a good appetizer of fried calamari (decent amount of tentacles). The twins shared a portion of pan-fried shrimp in sherry butter sauce. Quite luscious. Note: The menu item was pan-fried trout and shrimp, we asked if we could just get shrimp, the answer was yes, and the price was $4 less than the trout/shrimp combo. Well played, Jerry's.

They also have the usual kid's menu but ours love shrimp so we let them split an adult entree.

Cafe Azafran, Markert Street, Lewes: OK, this is a great place. It seems to be beloved among the locals, and with good reason. We had a wonderful meal on the patio (dog friendly, btw). Mrs. W. got the Seafood Tarragona (a bouillabaisse sort of dish), the twins got bowls of al dente orichiette (!) with butter, and me and my brother Lurker W. shared 9 tapas/appetizers. A word about the tapas: You might think small plates, but these are not small plates. You will be well fed. We over-ordered and were very well fed. Standouts included the sea scallops, the fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers, and the La Mancha plate (cheese, ham, chorizo, romesco sauce). We could have had a third person share these dishes and still been quite full.

Add to this very good bread, assorted olives, white and red sangria, and wonderful desserts (I got panna cotta, everyone else was too stuffed), and you've got a real winner. Oh, particularly good service too.

Note: this place is open all day and appeared to be packed whenever I looked in.

Beseme, Hotel Rodney, 2nd St, Lewes: We hit this place for a late breakfast and had the lovely dining room to ourselves. We mainly got crepes, which Beseme is known for, and were not disappointed. Maybe a little too expensive, so not what I'd call a "deal," but still worth a stop. We'd go back.

Notting Hill Coffee Roastery/Lewes Bake Shop, Second St. Lewes: This is Oby Lee's Lewes outpost. Same great coffee. Nice people. Very cozy little place.

Crabs: Lazy Susan's vs. Crabby Dick's, both on Route 1 (Coastal Hwy between Rehoboth and Lewes). Lazy Susan's claims to be the home of "hot fat crabs." All they had were mediums at $36/doz. They were hot, and tasted fine, but in no way were they fat. In fact, they gave us more than a dozen. The steamed shrimp at $14.99/lb were decent, as were the hush puppies. Overall, nothing special.

After that, Mrs. W was still craving crabs, so she treated herself to a few at Crabby Dick's. Her verdict: No contest. The ones she got were around $60/doz, but were huge (she sent me a pic of one of them). So, despite the silly name, Crabby Dick's gets Baltimorean Mrs. W's seal of approval.

Pizza: Grotto and Louie's. We hit our usual two spots and both delivered. Grotto in Dewey -- basic large cheese, with salad and meatballs. The garden salad is way overpriced at $5.99, but the pizza was great and the meatballs were too -- the twins devoured them as always -- but a little smaller than usual.

Louie's on Rehoboth Ave -- again, the basic large cheese pizza, and grilled hot dogs for the kids. Two winners.

So, a great trip. Thanks to lewes17266 and everyone else for the recs. We are looking forward to our next trip already.

  1. RVA_via_Reho Sep 12, 2009 04:06 PM

    I grew up in Rehoboth and was back this week to the area. Went to Agave in Lewes for the first time based on a review I read in the Coast Press, plus I love tequila. The place is decorated warmly though it is fairly small. We sat at the bar for drinks. The place was hoppin and the bartender was moving at warp speed. While I appreciated her speed, she made it feel frantic, and we were hesitant to ask for things or make conversation, less we disrupt her pace. I would have liked to have more friendly conversation. The kitchen area is open and right next to the bar, and so the smoky smell from the grill frequently wafted onto us, which I did not like at all.

    Went to Cafe Azafran for midday coffee to escape the rain. I ordered a cappuccino which tasted burnt. The place was pretty full for a rainy day in the off season. The person who took my order seemed new, and it took quite awhile for my drink to be made. My boyfriend loved his drinking chocolate-Chocolate a la Taza(?). The place is a little too small for it to feel comfortable being a "fine-dining" place.

    I like all 3 (Grotto's, Nicola's, Louie's) pizza options equally--they all serve a different product. Had a Nic-Spin-Oli (Spinach and cheese boli) this week which was as yummy as I remembered.

    Ate at Pig+Fish in Rehoboth where the salads were amazing but my flatbread pizza was hugely disappointing. I still like the atmosphere of the place and will return for their reasonable prices.

    Stoney Lonen in Rehoboth has the best happy hour ($2 any bottled beer) and is low-key, frequented by locals, and Chester the bartender is an institution.

    10 Replies
    1. re: RVA_via_Reho
      Lewes17266 Sep 14, 2009 06:23 AM

      Many Second Street restaurants are tiny. Half Full and The Bake Shop can be frenetic also but then in the off season they are such special places.

      1. re: RVA_via_Reho
        Bob W Sep 14, 2009 11:34 AM

        We ate out on the patio at Cafe Azafran. I see your point about the dining room but the patio is very spacious.

        1. re: RVA_via_Reho
          c
          consaacs Dec 26, 2009 08:56 PM

          We went to Agave a day after the December snow, and the place was still busy for supper.
          We found the menu very meat-heavy. Vegetable sides were costly. Chips and salsa, even,
          The atmosphere was great, as we snagged one of the few tables.

          About the pizza debate, Growing up, I loved Louie's the best, and would always get a slice during a day at the beach. But I would also go to Grotto's often, once we moved up to a more northerly beach (we called each section of the sand separated by a jetty a "beach."
          Nicola came later, and since the flavor of the pizza was different, and we were used to Louie's and Grotto, we came to love the Nic-a-boli instead of comparing another pizza.
          My spouse and I have since then raised our kids on Grotto during trips home, and we have two who love the stuff and one who doesn't care for it.

          Is Louie's now available fresh and hot? Last summer I saw the former Beach Luncheonette advertising Louie's, and so I know that spot just north of Rehoboth Ave on the boardwalk is the new home of Louie's. Does anyone know if it is predictably fresh and hot?

          Now if George's Fries will just re-open.

          Another Virginian from southern DE

          1. re: consaacs
            Sensuous Dec 28, 2009 01:28 AM

            consaacs, Louie's is closed now but during the season their pizza is always fresh and hot and so delicious. Another great pizza can be found in Rehoboth at Casa Dileo which is open all year,

            1. re: Sensuous
              Sensuous Jan 3, 2010 03:20 AM

              M. Gallucio's in The Villages of Five Points has good pizza. Everything they serve is wonderful actually. They offer a delicious Italian wedding soup for I think five or six dollars.
              Fisher Bay Gourmet in that same neighborhood rarely gets mentioned. Their sandwiches and salads are outstanding. These two restaurants are owner-operated and the owners are always present.
              The Five Points restaurants always get looked over for some reason. I guess Fish On and The Greene Turtle overshadow them.

              1. re: Sensuous
                beauxgoris Mar 6, 2010 01:36 PM

                My family has our summer house there and Cafe Azafran is our favorite restaurant. Their crab cakes and arctic char are both outstanding!!!

                1. re: beauxgoris
                  Sensuous Mar 10, 2010 04:32 PM

                  Cafe Azafran is wonderful. I love their granola and yogurt. It is the best breakfast in town.

                  1. re: Sensuous
                    l
                    Lewes Mar 15, 2010 03:54 PM

                    Hey Sensuous - have you tried new JD's Filling Station yet (old Blue Plate) ? Curious since its owned by Dos Locos of Rehoboth. They seem to do a good breakfast biz.

                    1. re: Lewes
                      Bob W Mar 17, 2010 06:47 AM

                      Is it also Mexican? Mexican is one of the cuisines we don't go for down at the beach; just too much other good stuff to fit in. But, we're always looking for good breakfast spots.

                      1. re: Bob W
                        Sensuous Mar 20, 2010 04:59 AM

                        We have not tried The Filling Station yet. I have seen the interior though and it is very nice. Their very large menu is on their window and is varied. They offer many Mexican dishes but it is not a Mexican restaurant .

                        -----
                        Filling Station
                        104 S Main St, Edinburg, VA 22824

        2. e
          Ellen Sep 2, 2009 07:26 PM

          I fully concur with Azafran. A perennial favorite. Jerry's crab cake sandwich is great if you're not up for the Bomb. You missed Agave for good fresh Mexican fare, great margaritas and a quality tequila selection. Try it next time, and Half Full for good artisanal pizza and a very nice selection of wines by the glass. Blue Plate is always reliable for a good diner breakfast. Striper Bites is has its weak points but their Striper Bites Club, which is blackened rockfish with bacon on grilled sourdough, has always been a favorite. All of the above are in Lewes.. Nage (outpost of the DC place between Lewes and Rehoboth and next to an excellent butcher) is also very worth trying with a decent wine list on the upscale side. Hated Grotto on principle given what they charge for a tiny crappy looking slice but then again I walked out without trying it. I'm glad you enjoyed everything.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Ellen
            Bob W Sep 3, 2009 07:32 AM

            Thanks Ellen -- I noticed Half Full and it's on my list. Have you tried Kindle? Same question for Lewes17266!

            Also, what's the locals' take on the Buttery? Everyone always asks us if we've been there and we still haven't tried it.

            1. re: Bob W
              Lewes17266 Sep 3, 2009 12:21 PM

              Actually, my husband was at Kindle on Monday evening with a large party. There were at least ten men there, maybe more. They ordered drinks and appetizers, salads, entrees across the spectrum, and desserts. He said there was not a misstep. He described it as upscale but comfortable. He had a ribeye that he said was enormous and perfectly cooked well done, without attitude. He is not quite ready with only one visit to rank it up there with Fish On, but it just may be in that league. It sounds like their menu is very creative, not at all ordinary.
              He promised me he would take me soon!
              There is a thread here about Kindle with some negative comments though, so we will just have to see.
              My husband also goes to The Buttery with business associates on occasion and brags on it. He says it feels to him like the perfect Second Street restaurant for a special lunch.
              I love love love Half Full!

              1. re: Lewes17266
                l
                Lewes Sep 7, 2009 05:53 AM

                Comment & corrections on the above posts;

                Kindel is way overpriced;
                Jerry's also has the best burger in town (fresh, not frozen);
                Buttery is past its prime & now for tourists;
                Blue Plate bought by the Dos Locos people & will go Tex Mex next year;
                Lewes Bake shop no longer associated with Oby Lee in Rehoboth;
                Nage in Rehoboth came first so DC branch is the "outpost";
                Try Blue Seas in Lewes for breakfast & lunch;
                Good new Cajun place in Milton called Po' Boys on Rt 16;
                Favorite bumper sticker "LSD" for Lower Slower Delaware

                1. re: Lewes
                  Bob W Sep 7, 2009 12:27 PM

                  Thanks for the comments.! Sorry to hear about Blue Plate; we don't eat Tex-Mex at the beach.

                  As for Lewes Bake Shop, as of two weeks ago they had shelves full of delicious Oby Lee coffee -- they must have some arrangement with Oby Lee. Perhaps they just buy the coffee and then do the roasting.

                  I like the LSD oval!

                  1. re: Bob W
                    Lewes17266 Sep 14, 2009 06:31 AM

                    I am glad that the two (Oby Lee and The Bake Shop) have those cranberry oatbran muffins that I love so much with their coffee in the winter.

          2. Lewes17266 Sep 1, 2009 05:50 AM

            Hi Bob W. Thanks for this. I am pleased that you and yours had a nice time here in Lewes.

            The Blue Plate serves a wonderful "Eggs Delmarva" which is a menu item you will find at other restaurants in the area. It is like Benedict but with lump crab in place of the meat.

            We think Jerry's Crab Bomb is worth the price too. I especially like that it is baked. Jerry's is offering a raw bar now but it is not good, not at all, and I am relieved you did not go for oysters there.

            My favorite item at Cafe Azafran is the house-made granola over yogurt for breakfast. My mother from South Carolina has one of their purple coffee mugs and uses it every morning. She loves the place when she visits.

            I have not eaten at Beseme yet. I have stepped inside and it is lovely, I agree. They often advertise fried chicken on their corner easel so we want to give that a try soon.

            You already know how I feel about The Bake Shop; love it.

            I have a neighbor who is originally from Baltimore and she also loves Crabby Dick's! We have been but were not so impressed but have never had their crabs so now we will have to return. Their Old Bay popcorn is wonderful. The atmosphere is fun.

            Our experiences at Lazy Susan's have only been excellent. I wish yours had been also. I would only recommend steamed crabs and shrimp there though.

            We do love Louie's pizza and wish it were more convenient for us. I have seen some amazing grinders coming out of that little Louie's kitchen. Bob W, we are not fans of the very popular Grotto Pizza.

            Thanks again for your opinions. I feel very fortunate to live here. Have a good day!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Lewes17266
              Bob W Sep 1, 2009 06:46 AM

              YW, Lewes, the pleasure was all ours.

              Couple comments:

              I don't see how Jerry's could cook their crab bomb any way other than baked since it's round. LOL People need to see it to believe it.

              I saw the Eggs Delmarva at Blue Plate but I'm not a poached egg guy so regretfully that won't be on my agenda.

              Cafe Azafran looks like an awesome breakfast/brunch spot. Not many places do all three meals of the day well -- this could be one of the few that does.

              I love the Rehoboth Beach pizza debates! I'd rank it Louie's, Grotto, Nicola. But Nicola's Nic-o-boli is a winner. Any other contenders?

              Finally, do you have a L2 (Lewes Local) oval on your car? I'm jealous of those that can use that one!

              1. re: Bob W
                Lewes17266 Sep 1, 2009 08:08 AM

                I haven't seen that one. That is so cool. I will have one on my old beach buggy soon!

                1. re: Lewes17266
                  Bob W Sep 1, 2009 08:18 AM

                  It's actually L squared but I don't know how to do a superscript 2 on here. It's very cool and you definitely should get one!

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