Dinner with Executive Boss and Clients [Wilmington, DE]
I will be in Wilmington, DE for work this coming Monday and have been tasked with finding a restaurant to take my executive level boss to and our clients. I have a bit of a conundrum as my boss has eaten in the best restaurants around the world and very much appreciates good ambiance and good food. The client is more laid back and would prefer a sports bar with wings--even though we're paying! :)
Sullivan's has been suggested to me by a colleague and would seem to match my boss's preferences, steak, ambiance, etc, from what I was told. The group as a whole would prefer to stay within American cuisine. Money is not an issue.
Any ideas? Or is Sullivan's my best bet?
Thanks in advance!
Iron Hill on the Riverfront might be a good compromise. I've never had a bad meal there. It's not really upscale, but the food is great and can please a wide variety of tastes. Washington Street Ale House is more casual, but along the same lines.
Sullivan's is okay, but a little overrated in my opinion.
Domaine Hudson could be another option, but I haven't seen a review since they were sold to new owners.
I agree with your Iron Hill reco (if the boss is OK with going more downscale) but I would stay far away from Washington St. Ale House. The food there will only be satisfactory to someone that wants a good hamburger and nothing more. Their more ambitious menu items are seriously mediocre.
Go to Eclipse on Union. Diverse menu. Good wine and beer selection. Cozy and comfortable but top notch all the way.
Sullivan's is a chain and feels like one. The steak is as good as you're going to get around here, but I would not say that the restaurant has "good ambiance." It's kind of soulless, if you ask me. That said, your sports-bar-loving client will probably feel comfortable there, even though the prices are certainly not in that category. (Be aware that Sullivan's is a good 25-minute drive from downtown Wilmington, if that is going to be an issue. It is impossible to get a cab around here, so someone will have to have a car.)
Domaine Hudson is still good, food-wise; I have been there twice since the sale. The atmosphere is friendly and warm, but it is definitely not of the sports-bar-wings variety. No TVs in sight, and the decor leans toward exposed brick, Oriental rugs, French art nouveau posters, etc. The service is not as thoroughly professional as it was under the old regime (I assume that will improve) but it is fine.
I think a good option would be Harry's Seafood, a restaurant right in town. It is lively while upscale, and the food is quite good, although it is of course not a steak place. There is a very broad seafood menu, and even a surf and turf option, if s/he has to have meat.
+1 for Domaine Hudson. Has the feel of high end restaurant.
Orillas Tapas is interesting food. The Paella is good, and it will feel worldly. Sometimes there is live music playing there which may or may not detract from your meal.
I am not a big fan of Harry's Seafood. I find the atmosphere to be very loud, and not conducive to conversation.
Chelsea Tavern's executive chef (and co-founder) left in October, so I myself would not want to try CT for the kind of dinner the OP is planning unless I or someone whose opinion I trust has been there for dinner since Sean McNeice's departure. (I have not been there since the departure, but found CT to be inconsistent even before then.)
If its for business, and its a comp, call the Hotel du Pont.
They have elegant small private dining rooms where you can not only enjoy the best wines, decent food, excellent service, but also be in an atmosphere where you can have a conversation.
Business in Wilmington is not conducted in public.
Then there is Walter's Steak. Food is always good, atmosphere quiet. If you want to conduct a little business, they can usualy accommodate a table away from any crowds.
Domaine Hudson is good and will remain good as long as they don't try to get to fancy.
Sullivan's has a good piece of meat, but for me, that is where it ends. Overpriced for what you get and the staff is good, but managed like a local sports bar.
If in a more festive mood, Catherine Rooney's can be enjoyable to some.
Harry's Seafood is great for seafood. IMO, that is where it ends. Bar, and some menu items, are overpriced. If you have a non-seafood member of your party, menu is mediocre. They do not duplicate the meats at their parent location, Harry's Savoy Grill.
But is it a business dinner, per se, or a dinner of business associates (chief among whom is 'laid back').