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Good restaurants half way between Washington DC and Philadelphia?

My wife and I have often met my father-in-law and his wife for dinner at Tidewater Grille in Havre de Grace to try to split the distance between West Baltimore and Wilmington. Food is good, although menu does not stray far from the tried-and-true IMO.

We have also met friends for dinner at Backfin Blues in Port Deposit, a little north of Havre de Grace. I like this place better than Tidewater Grille --- menu is more ambitious, and more fish options.

If a strict 50/50 split in distance isn't required, I'd also recommend Fair Hill Inn in Elkton. Have been there twice, both good meals.

(And sorry, no idea about Bel Air!)

Jun 27, 2014
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Anniversary dinner - wilmington , DE area

Moro on Scott St. in Wilmington usually has several vegetarian options among their small plates options, and the kitchen has in the past offered to whip something up if there isn't anything on the menu that works. Harvest in Glen Eagle Square has always had 4 or more vegetarian entree options. Moro definitely qualifies as nice/fancy IMO; Harvest is nice but "casual nice" as I'd call it.

Jun 12, 2013
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Anything new under the sun in northern NCC, DE?

I think Pochi is worth a visit. Have been there about half a dozen times since it opened (all for lunch). If memory serves, I have had the pastel de choclo, pescado grille, pollo arvejado, and cevice mixto. Enjoyed them all -- although the ceviche mixto could have used fewer red onions.

Dining companions have had the lomo a lo probre, salmon, the crab cakes, and the plateada al jugo. A colleague called a salmon special the best piece of salmon he had ever eaten. Undoubtedly some hyperbole there, but no one that I've taken or encouraged to go there has expressed disappointment.

Apr 09, 2013
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

I-95 Del/MD

Lucky's Coffee Shop and the Corner Bistro in north Wilmington are our usual breakfast spots, but we're pretty lazy when it comes to breakfast and usually won't travel far for it.

Fresh Thymes in the Trolley Square neighborhood of Wilmington also good. If you are looking to travel a little farther before breakfast, I have heard good things about the Over Easy Cafe in Newark but have not personally tried.

Dec 27, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Christmas Eve early dinner nice place in around Wilmington

Open Table shows 6 pm availability at Harry's Seafood and Piccolina Toscana, although neither of them is at the same level as Green Room or Moro in terms of ambiance, but I have had plenty of satisfying meals at both. Domaine Hudson has availability but I haven't felt comfortable recommending them for some time now. If you can eat earlier, Krazy Kats has 5:15 availability through Open Table.

Dec 10, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Where Can I get Decent Steaks at a Fair Price in the Wilminton DE area?

While we don't buy a lot of beef, we get most of it at Costco. In addition to the tenderloin (which I agree is good), we get their flank steak and NY Strip (both also good IMO).

We also like the meat from Haldas Market on Silverside Road in front of the Branmar Shopping Center, although I don't recall how their prices compare to Janssen's or Whole Paycheck. They're also our go-to place for unusual cuts of meat, like the whole rind-on pork belly I needed to do porchetta.

Aug 04, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Dinner In Wilmington DE

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.

Aug 02, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Dinner In Wilmington DE

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).

Aug 02, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Dinner In Wilmington DE

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.

Aug 02, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Dinner In Wilmington DE

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?

Aug 01, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

ISO top-rated Russian Imperial Stout in northern DE

If you mean Victory's Storm King Imperial Stout, it is not one I tend to drink. More hoppy than I like in an imperial, which I don't find appealing. Although neither is local, I tend to prefer Stone (which you mentioned) or Samuel Smith.

Jul 31, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

ISO top-rated Russian Imperial Stout in northern DE

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the flagship RIS's from both Portsmouth Brewery (Kate) and Three Floyds (Dark Lord) are available only at the brewery, and they usually sell out in one day.

Also, Portsmouth Brewery to my knowledge doesn't have a distributor at least outside of N.H. (which their website seems to confirm), and Three Floyds distribution doesn't seem to come close to Delaware either, according to RateBeer: California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin . . . and Denmark (go figure).

Jul 31, 2012
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Dinner with Executive Boss and Clients [Wilmington, DE]

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.)

Dec 02, 2011
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Driving up from Lisbon to Oporto for three weeks.

Just wanted to chime in with a huzzah for Cozinha das Rainhas. Ate there during one of our two nights in Obidos last week, and it was probably the best meal we had during our time in Portugal. "Suprising, sophisticated food" is a great way to describe it.

Our other dinner in Obidos was at Pousada del Castelo, which was a large group dinner (28) with a fixed menu. Good meal overall, but tough for me to evaluate well (or fairly) given the group size.

Oct 19, 2011
c.w. in Spain/Portugal

Prince on Delaware (New Castle, DE)

We went to Prince on Delaware this past Saturday before a concert.

FOOD:

Very good overall. What we ate:

Grilled Niman Ranch pork chop (my dad) -- came with two mammoth chops, and they were perfectly seasoned. Really, really delicious.

Baby back ribs (my mom) -- the table's pick for best entree. Really juicy, really well flavored, perfectly cooked. I'm usually picky about ribs, but couldn't find anything to fault (other than that I didn't order them).

Fried chicken (my wife) -- the skin wasn't quite as crispy as I thought it could have been (a little more flour, I think), but the meat was very moist and flavorful.

Salmon (my mother in law) -- she loves salmon and said it was good; I hate salmon, so I didn't taste it.

Fried red snapper (me) -- the fish was moist and well cooked, but not as crispy on the exterior as I think it should have been. The batter was underseasoned. The menu also says it's supposed to come with two fillets, but I only got one, and it didn't come with the tartar sauce promised. They fixed that when asked, but not with tartar sauce, what they brought out tasted similar to thousand island dressing - normally I wouldn't even eat my fish with tartar sauce, but the lack of seasoning made me want something to go with the fillet.

The sides: three of us ordered the same -- collard greens and mac'n'cheese, and both were very good (I thought the mac'n'cheese could have been a little more moist, but nobody else agreed). We all agreed with travelmad's assessment -- the collard greens were out of this world. My dad said his potato salad on the side was good -- and his grilled asparagus, while fine, should have come with more than 4 thin spears. The mashed sweet potatoes my mother in law had were tasty -- I can't stand most mashed sweet potato dishes because of all the sugary stuff most folks want to mix in.

Dessert: My wife and I split the chocolate mousse cake dessert. Very good if you are a chocolate fiend (like my wife).

SERVICE:

Enthusiastic and friendly, but a little on the slow side (both in terms of table service and kitchen speed). They were very busy, almost all of the tables were full, and I think they may have been a bit overwhelmed.

Also, and this is the first time this has even happened to me in a restaurant, but when I ordered coffee with dessert, the coffee was brought out without any cream or milk, and when I asked for it our server told us they were out -- no cream, half-and-half, whole milk, or skim milk. Almost unbelievable. Again making me think they were a bit overwhelmed by the full house.

And the final piece to our dinner, the restaurant forgot to include the tip on the credit charge -- I wrote in a 20% tip but only the food/drink cost showed up on my credit card bill.

CONCLUSION: We will definitely go back. The meat items were delicious, the fish not quite up to that level (not bad, but paling in comparison). Service (both attention and speed) could use some improvement. And please have some milk around for the coffee!

Dec 22, 2010
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Downtown Wilimington DE esp Ethnic

Yes, yes, yes on India Palace! My wife has been going there for 20 years, I am a more recent convert. We love the food so much we hired India Palace to provide the food for our rehearsal dinner in June. Definitely worth a bus ride (Route 5 for Maryland Ave., I think -- although it's totally worth a taxi ride).

We went to Prince on Delaware for dinner on Saturday, overall a good but uneven experience -- I'll add a fuller review to travelmad's link below.

And I'll second Juliana's Kitchen. If you follow the link travelmad provided, I have a review in there.

And Tijuana Taco Shop, we like them a lot too. Come to think of it, travelmad recommends a lot of the places my wife and I love. I think the Route 4 bus can get you to the Taco Shop (or very close) from Rodney Square, but I don't think it runs past 8 p.m.

Dec 22, 2010
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Juliana's Kitchen, Wilmington, DE

So we made it out to Juliana's Kitchen on Saturday evening before seeing the always excellent Brandi Carlile over at the Grand Opera House. Thanks again to spyturtle and scoopG for their input as to timing -- as it turned out, we dawdled over our meal long enough to miss the the first 15 minutes of the opening act, but that's our fault, not the restaurant's!.

Short review of dinner: Good food, good service, good prices. We will definitely go back.

Longer version:

Drinks: We brought a couple of bottles of wine, but our dining companions also tried two of the Peruvian drinks, the one made from purple corn and the other made from barley. I think that the table as a whole preferred the barley drink, although nobody disliked the purple corn one.

Appetizers: The four of us shared the ceviche mixto, the potatoes in spicy cream sauce, fried banana pieces, and ginormous bowls of a beef soup and a soup/stew with shrimp and rice. Other than the citrus in the ceviche being slightly out of balance (a little tangier than optimal, IMO -- perhaps just a small hint of sugar would help), everyone enjoyed the appetizers. Seriously, the bowls of soup are amazingly large, really entree-sized (and admittedly, they are separately listed on the menu from appetizers).

Entrees: The adobo cerdo (seasoned pork) dish, flat steak with fried banana and a hot dog, a fish filet in a cream sauce (sorry, I'm doing this from memory, did not write things down), and one of the menu specials, a tripe stew. I generally agree with scoopG's comments about the adobo credo -- although the table liked the mashed lima beans, the amount of mashed lima beans and rice in proportion overwhelmed the pork. The menu said it was a "pork stew" but that's not really accurate -- it's a very nice chunk of very tender pork in a great sauce, but not really a stew. The pork was delicious and I really liked the sauce (will ask for an extra spoonful or two next time!). My wife said her steak dish was overall good but a little underseasoned -- and the hot dog/sausage that came with the entree seemed out of place, but admittedly none of us remember what the menu said about it. The tripe stew special was good if you like tripe -- flavor and texture were both good. And the the person who ordered the fish said it was also good -- I did not manage to get to try that one.

Dessert: After a nice visit from the chef (apparently we had been "spotted" on Chowhound...), we shared a rice pudding (good), tres leches cake (very good), caramel cookie (very good), and the custard/pudding (great, very very rich).

The service was attentive but not obtrusive, just the right combination.

Anyway, thumbs up. Thanks to everyone here for bringing Juliana's Kitchen to our attention!

Oct 11, 2010
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Juliana's Kitchen, Wilmington, DE

spyturtle & scoopG --

How would you describe the speed of service? We are hoping to eat there before a show at the Grand and are trying to get a feel for how much time we should give ourselves. If the show starts at 8 p.m., could we get away with, say, a 5:45 reservation, or should we aim for 5:30? This will be on a Saturday -- we aren't looking to linger for hours on end, but we also don't want to end up rushed and having to skip dessert (wives will mutiny).

Sep 28, 2010
c.w. in Mid-Atlantic

Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Seville Trip

My GF and I just returned on Tuesday from 7 days in Barcelona and Madrid. My first time back since I lived there as a kid (25+ years). Of the locations mentioned on your list that we visited....

We had a great dinner at Cal Pep. We lucked out and happened to be walking by at 9 p.m. looking for a different restaurant and spied two open seats at the counter. Within about 5 minutes of our arrival, there was a line two deep behind us. We just told them to feed us, and for the next two hours they just kept laying out dish after dish. The tuna tartare (or whatever they call it) was sublime.

Bar Pinoxto was terrific for breakfast. Fresh warm "chu chus" (spelling?) followed by a delicious omelette sandwich (you did mention you like eggs). Juan (if I remember his name correctly) was a hoot. (Dulcinea in the Barri Gotic was also good for a sweet as opposed to savory breakfast.)

Skip Botin. Against my better instinct, we ate there Monday night. My roast suckling pig was unremarkable, and my GF's filet mignon neither looked like a filet mignon nor was cooked properly. I did like the black sausage appetizer though.

Also, I note you are planning to go to Toledo on a Monday -- some of the sites are I think closed on Monday (El Greco House, Sinagoga del Transito for example).

Have fun!

May 15, 2009
c.w. in Spain/Portugal