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Jul 31, 2012 10:34 AM

Dinner In Wilmington DE

We need a great restaurant for a wonderful dinner in Wilmington De in October. I was headed for Domaine Hudson until I saw some Chowhound chatter and I thought I should ask this question first. Thank you.

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  1. While I haven't been to Domaine Hudson in a while (because I moved out of Wilmington, not because I don't like it anymore), I haven't heard anything to dissuade me from eating there.

    Another good option is Orillas--I was there for lunch yesterday and it is still quite good.

    If you feel like doing some driving, I can also recommend the House of William and Merry in Hockessin (20-25 minutes from downtown Wilmington).

    You are not going to find anything truly stunning in Wilmington, but you can certainly have a satisfying, creative, well-presented meal. Service around here tends to be more friendly than formal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: travelmad478

      Thank you very much for your help.

    2. If anything Domaine is better lately. The chef was a recent Beard nominee for something. Ate there a month ago...very good meal. The iPad wine list is fun to play with, but I'd ask for the old printed version which is easier to navigate.

      8 Replies
        1. re: gfweb1

          I thought the Beard nominee (for "Rising Star" or something like) was DH's prior chef, J.D. Morton? He left DH in May and is now cooking at Eclipse. Or is the new chef also a Beard nominee?

          1. re: c.w.

            He is at Eclipse and it is still the best restaurant in Wilmington.

            1. re: Anaphylactic

              If you are referring to DH, I'll have to disagree. My last 3 meals there were unimpressive and not at the level I had been used to from DH. Things like under-seasoned soup, overcooked meat, and servers unable to competently debone a whole snapper at tableside. Which is a shame -- DH has long been one of my favorites in Wilmington, but my wife is now unwilling to go back. And perhaps our experiences are atypical.

              EDIT: Although I'm now recalling from a thread a few months back that you were quite bullish on Eclipse, so maybe you are referring to Eclipse. In which case, I still disagree -- I like the restaurant quite a bit, but don't think it's the best in the Wilmington area. I'd probably give that crown to either Moro or House of William & Merry.

              1. re: c.w.

                I'm referring to Eclipse. Haven't been to DH in ages.

                1. re: c.w.

                  I don't know if bullish is the right word. I just find it more consistent than any other place in Wilmington, and it is sporting an entirely new kitchen staff from a year ago.

                  And as much as I've enjoyed W&M, it is twenty minutes from the city Wilmington.

            2. re: gfweb1

              We were at DH for the first time under the new owners for Mother's Day brunch (I believe the old chef had left right before then). The limited menu struck us as unremarkable with a very disappointing selection that seemed out of place for brunch. Even with the place only half-full, service wasn't up to the standard we had come to expect from DH.

              However, a couple with two young children were sitting behind us. Being Mother's Day, I didn't think anything of it. But the youngest kept tossing his silverware to the floor and crying intermittently creating a bit of a racket. I know that this can't be helped but the parents didn't think to take their child outside until he calmed down and the wait staff kept picking up the tossed silverware. Finally, the family finished their meal and left but I later saw the father standing in the back of the restaurant near the register by the kitchen. I later learned to my consternation that the couple were the new owners of DH.

            3. Are you looking for fancy fine dining, or something more comfortable?

              7 Replies
              1. re: Rilke

                We are celebrating a birthday so I would say ambiance plays a significant role too.

                1. re: JHW

                  For food + ambiance, I'd recommend either Moro or Krazy Kats (technically in Montchanin, about 5 minutes outside of Wilmington).

                  I happen to love the ambiance of the House of William & Merry (and the food), but if you are looking for something "swanky" I don't think they're really it (plus it's in Hockessin, 15-20 minutes outside of Wilmington). The Green Room at the Hotel DuPont has a very nice high-end ambiance, but I don't think the food is quite up to the same standard (good, but not great, IMO).

                  And yes, Domaine Hudson's ambiance is great, but I personally can't recommend due to my own recent experiences there (noted above).

                  1. re: c.w.

                    I haven't been to Krazy Kat in probably 10+ years but I remember the atmosphere there as...well, let's just say Haute WASP-y Country Club, of the white shoes and hair spray variety. This is not really to my taste, though certainly, it is catnip to the Greenville crowd. If I am remembering wrong, or if things have changed over there, please correct me, c.w.

                    1. re: travelmad478

                      I agree. KK is a bit aging, but the food is still good...or was a year ago when I was last there. Wm & Merrie has very good food but it would be a short schlep from town and isn't swanky.

                      A longer drive, but worth it , is Fair Hill Inn in Fair Hill MD. Its about 10 minutes from Newark.

                      1. re: travelmad478

                        On my visits (two in the last year) the crowd at Krazy Kats certainly skews older than some of the other restaurants that have been discussed in this thread, and the atmosphere does have more of a clubby/formal feel, if that's what you mean. For me, I think it's a similar feel to Sunday brunch at the Green Room. I think it remains a good, more upscale kind of atmosphere, albeit one that won't appeal to everyone and may not be the kind of "ambiance" the OP is looking for.

                        1. re: c.w.

                          We have reservations at KK on Saterday and we are staying there. The descriptions cracked me up as while not all Wasps we are all over seventy and "white shoe".Well, I am honest. I think Eclipse Bistro might be a nice counter poise to KK. I just can not begin to thank you all for really helpful comments. Thank you all very much.

                          1. re: JHW

                            Enjoy! The food is good at Krazy Kat, it's just not my kind of place. Shine up those white shoes and you will think you've been eating there all your life ;-)