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Aug 15, 2011 04:20 PM

The House of William and Merry (Hockessin, DE)

Has anyone been to this new establishment? Stumbled across this today. From the looks of things, they just opened up in the last month or so.

The menu looks very appetizing, and the decor looks modern and breezy. it could be a real gem in the area. And they have Sunday Brunch to boot!

Will need to check this out soon, maybe for brunch.

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  1. We've been a couple of times. Its a nice comfortable place. The food has been pretty good too. We were there so soon after it opened that I hesitate to comment on details. I like the place.

    1. So far I have been once, for lunch on a weekday. I was pretty surprised to see how many people were there at that hour, during the week, but perhaps I underestimate the "ladies who lunch" crowd in this area, not being one of them! Anyway, I was quite happy with the food--creative, generally well executed, and tasty. Like sal_acid, I was hesitating on commenting before I'd gone a few more times, but I definitely want to go back, if that's any indication. The Sunday supper menu looks particularly intriguing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: travelmad478

        The menu looks interesting albeit a bit pricey. I am holding off going since I get the impression that there may be a few kinks needing to be worked out?

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Not too many kinks, but I'm holding off on a dinner there for a while. We had a couple of nice lunches though.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            What kinks have you heard about? I didn't notice any during my one visit, but maybe there are some that I don't know about.

            The restaurant is on the fine-dining end of the spectrum price-wise, but I'm OK with it because I feel like the area can use a place at this level (especially with what I presume to be the imminent demise of Domaine Hudson...see the other thread!). Lunch was actually quite reasonable, in fact. I think my mushroom-spinach flatbread was $12, and well worth it.

            1. re: travelmad478

              I've declined to discuss kinks because I thought it would be premature.

        2. We were travelling by the area the other day - I found this place on opentable.
          We were the first to stop by on Saturday morning around 11:30, though several others came in as we ate. It's a very pleasant space, with an open kitchen as you walk in. They do have what looks like a nice porch for outdoor dining as well. I'd also point out that it's well thought out for those who have a little more trouble walking, with ramps all the way in.
          The service was pleasant and well-informed.
          We were wowed by the corn and goat cheese dip-really nice flavor balance-it is a bit deadly, though, if you are looking for a light starter. We also tried the corn soup, which was very richly flavored without being too heavy-very tasty.
          For mains, we had a cheese omlet, which was nicely prepared, but about what you would expect for an omlet.
          The mushroom saute with flatbread was excellent, with an interesting tomato-jam concoction-highly recommended.
          And I couldn't resist the bacon-bacon-bacon burger, which was pretty much as advertised-a large burger full of flavor along with fries. A serious burger, nicely done.
          We shared a blueberry dessert, which was fairly light and nuanced, along with good coffee.
          I felt the wine selection by the glass was pretty good, too.
          As to price-well, I live in NY, so it seemed cheap to me. Two starters, three entrees, one dessert, one glass of wine and three coffees = 84.50 before tip.
          All in all, we were very pleased with this stop. If we lived nearby, we'd certainly be back for dinner, especially the $30 Sunday supper. A friendly, casual, serious restaurant. I wish them well.

          9 Replies
          1. re: David W

            Wow... a hundred dollars seems to be a lot to charge in Hockessin for a burger, a cheese omelet, a saute, et. al. If I was in NYC I'd feel more comfortable, but...

            Thanks for the post though!

            1. re: bluehensfan

              It is really not that expensive. Lunch entrees max out at $13, which for what you're getting is entirely reasonable. Yes, a shorti hoagie at Wawa is half the price, but then you have to sit in your pickup truck and get iceberg lettuce shreds all over your lap when you eat it. :-)

              I am not wantonly insensitive to the price/value relationship, either. I was horrified by the disconnect at the Fresh Healthy Cafe that was briefly located on the opposite side of Rte. 41. That place charged prices that rivaled William & Merry's but the food quality was a lot closer to Wawa's (and the service was a hell of a lot worse, too).

              I had that mushroom flatbread thing and really liked it--did not feel I was overpaying at all. And the burger is not a plain burger--it's massive, has multiple components of bacon in it, and comes with really excellent fries.

              1. re: travelmad478

                While a nice concept, Fresh Healthy Cafe was pretty much doomed from the start. Their prices were totally out of line for what you got. I would assume this was due to their high rent (speculation on my part). And their location, I thought was poor (we never knew the place was there until a few weeks before they closed). They opened in a tough economic climate and had an uphill battle all the way. A different location and cheaper rent = more traffic and cheaper prices might have saved the day. Who knows. At least they gave it a go, I commend them for their effort.

              2. re: bluehensfan

                Bluehensfan, understand your concern, but if you break it down, it doesn't seem unreasonable:

                2 - starters ($10/starter) = $20
                3 - entrees ($15/entree) = $45
                1 - glass of wine ($7.50/glass) = $7.50
                1 - dessert ($8.50/dessert) = $8.50
                3 - coffees ($2.50/coffee) = $7.50

                I believe that comes out to roughly $88.50. Something that you would expect to pay at a mid/high end restaurant for lunch in a metropolitan area. Yes, Hockessin isn't Philadelphia, New York or Washington, D.C., but if the food is excellent, the menu varied and imaginative, the waitstaff on point and the prices within reason, they will come. All of us here know that we are starved for mid/high end food in this area. Whether H&M survive will depend on how well they execute those points. I hear your concern regarding prices (and they are valid concerns), but let's see what H&M delivers in the next year or so. You might be correct in assuming that those prices will not fly hear in this area. Time will tell.

                As it turns out, my S.O. has met up with her girlfriend and are currently enjoying drinks, maybe dinner without me (sad) at this very moment. So hopefully I will get the 411 on what's what and report back.

                1. re: genevapics

                  Actually I think the place is doing reasonably well, prices be damned. I drove by at 8 this evening (picking up my pizza at Two Cousins, post-workout at HAC, how sad is that!) and the parking lot was quite well populated, as was the porch dining area. That's on a Tuesday. So, looks like they are doing something that this area wants.

                2. re: bluehensfan

                  One thought concerning cost - when we travel and stop at a place we are not likely to get back to anytime soon, we tend to overeat...I probably would have been happy just sharing the corn/goat cheese dip and having the burger-you might want to try that before deciding it's too expensive. I'd urge you to give this place a chance-I think it's a labor of love, and the real thing.

                3. re: David W

                  Thank you for your review. Sounds like a serious restaurant with a casual vibe; exactly what we need in the area. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you stop by the next time you are in the area.

                  1. re: genevapics

                    Thanks for the posts. I guess my concerns were more about $45 for an omelet, a scramble and a burger before tip. I just don't know where else serves up a $15 omelet around here. I just hope they don't price themselves out of business, as I really do hope they succeed because it would be great to have an alternative to Sovana Bistro if you are looking for a good meal in the area.

                    I though Fresh Healthy was ok but I never found the wraps to be much better than those you get at Trader Joe's, and not being into wheatgrass drinks or whatever, never had an appreciation for the smoothies. And they had so many employees but it stil seemed slow... Personally, I kind of wish Bruster's was back there but there is always Woodside.

                    As an aside, I did have a very good rare sushi-grade tuna sandwich on homemade bread at Bella Vista Trattoria in Pike Creek a few weeks back. For what it is, it was darned good. And it's a short walk to Berri Yummi (my latest downfall...)

                    And finally, what's with the takeout place next to William and Merry? I went in on a Saturday afternoon looking for a good bite to take out about a month ago and all they had were pre-prepared trays of salads and some-type of pudding dessert. It looked like an extension of the Acme....not a good thing.

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      I just noticed that takeout place last night as I was sitting in the parking lot of Two Cousins waiting for Mr. tm478 to emerge with our pizza. I had no idea what it was or when it opened. It was still open at 8 PM. I didn't go in, and from what you've said, it doesn't look like I need to!

                4. OK. I've been there a few times and they've now been open a while. I like the place. Nice people, good to great food, timely service, pleasant decoration. We had a Sunday dinner there...$30 prix fixe for three courses Sunday nights, and it was a real bargain. Inventive (but not weird) dishes in ample amounts. Easily the best food in the area.

                  1. OK, had dinner there last night, so that was my second visit. I thought the service was very pleasant, not super polished yet, but trying hard to be as professional as possible while still friendly. That works for me. No screw-ups at all during our (long) meal.

                    The food was mostly very good. To start, I had the corn soup, which I liked very much--definitely creative, not just a run-of-the-mill corn and cream concoction. There was good spicing to it (I believe cumin was involved) and some very fine croutons hiding in there. For my main course I had the seared scallops, which I thought was less successful. There were four scallops (plenty, IMO) on top of what was billed as a summer bean salad. That consisted of green beans, another kind of bean (great northern??), sliced cherry tomatoes, and sliced boiled fingerling potatoes. It was very simple, kind of too simple, because there didn't seem to be any dressing on it at all. I'm sure there was something, but it was so faint as to be indistinguishable. It did taste awfully healthy, probably a good thing after the corn soup, but it was a little bare.

                    Mr. travelmad478 got the pork plate starter, which was absolutely gigantic. I'm not sure I could have finished it as a main course. It included a hunk of pork belly the size of a potato, plus a lot of other things. He loved it, of course. For his main course he had the roasted chicken, which he also liked (I didn't taste it), and which came atop a huge pile of mashed potatoes that he couldn't finish.

                    Our dining companions were also quite happy with their food. One had the rib-eye steak, which came out cooked perfectly in line with her exacting instructions, and the other had a pan-fried trout special over wild rice. I was eyeing that trout because it looked delicious, and I guess it was since every scrap on that plate got eaten. If I go again and they have it as a special, I'm going to get it.

                    No room for dessert--the portions are too big. Sadly, the desserts aren't printed on the main menu, so I didn't have the early incentive to save room for them. Next time I will!

                    Dinner pricing is substantially higher than lunch, so we paid about $235 before tip for four cocktails, four starters, four entrees, a bottle of wine, a glass of wine, a beer, an espresso and a tea. This seems about in line with Domaine Hudson pricing, OK by me. Some of the food was not quite up to the level of DH at its best, and the wine list cannot compare, but I think HoW&M will get there. Plus, it's a quarter mile from my house, vs. ten miles!

                    The dining room is small and every table was taken on a Wednesday night. Only one turn for each table, but that's not bad at all for a weeknight. Good to see that this place is getting early traction.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Thank you for the many reviews. Sounds like a wonderful restaurant.