Eating Out: The Moon Still Shines Bright
|by Barry Becker|
I learned a lot in reading the stirring history of the Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Avenue) in the past two issues of Letters, not only about the town and its past but about Joyce Felton and the determination it took to keep the restaurant open in those early years. So, to help them celebrate their 20th anniversary and say "thanks for seeing it through, Joyce", we'll begin our summer restaurant guide with a visit to what has now become a dining landmark in Rehoboth.
Konrad and I are both trying to eat healthier lately, whether we eat at home or go out. So, when our fabulous waitperson Houston Vaughn came to inquire about our dining selections, we had a little chat about healthy choices from the menu. Chef Peter McMahon will also work with diners to accommodate special dining and dietary requests, so don't be shy about asking! But we followed Houston's suggestions (which were just a wee bit naughty) as they all sounded spectacular.
We started with escargot sauteed with leeks and wild mushrooms, tossed in a garlicky beurre blanc and served in a deep phyllo basket. Three sprigs of flowering thyme adorned the basket, adding that extra touch to what was a sumptuous variety of mushrooms and tasty escargot.
I died and went to heaven over the lobster and lump crab Napoleon, sinful lumps of crab and lobster in a rich beurre blanc with dill, served with a heart-shaped puff pastry so delicate it was little more than air surrounded by flaky pastry that disintegrated at a touch. This is so light and rich and absolutely divine, it is now my "new favorite food" in Rehoboth. That is, until the salad arrived.
I would drive into town on the 4th of July just to eat the baby red oak lettuce salad. It has the most luscious dressing, a light miso vinaigrette infused with the marvelous taste of ginger. Besides being delicious, the salad is a work of art in a huge fried wonton basket, with a cluster of enoki mushrooms, peanuts, tiny slivers of carrots, and a light foot-long cheese straw. Konrad tried the mixed field greens, which is dressed with a tasty balsamic walnut vinaigrette. On the side are large blue cheese croustades, crunchy and divine, and the salad has slices of delicious Asian pears, walnuts, fennel and more.
For an entree one may choose from a mouth watering array, including sauteed shrimp, lobster and lump crab tossed in a garlic cream sauce over lemon basil linguini, marinated tenderloin of ostrich, or mustard and panko crusted rack of lamb. Konrad ordered the horseradish crusted salmon fillet, a robust meal, the horseradish giving the tender and perfectly done salmon a little bite, the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette and soba noodles adding great flavor and texture, and the pak choi braised in garlic chili oil offering another complementary and incredible flavor. I ordered the pan roasted Chilean sea bass, a light and simply done perfect piece of the most tender and fabulous fish, topped with huge chunks of tomato just heated through with scallions in a beurre blanc, and served on a bed of very delicately spiced old bay fettuccine, flanked by tender asparagus spears. The entrees are thoroughly orgasmic, and cannot be recommended enough.
Of course, dessert included the legendary Moon Pie, mountainous layers of ice cream and meringue on a bed of oreo crust, served with whipped cream and fudge sauce (how can you not love this??), plus a wide bowl of the most perfect creme brulee with a thick crust of caramelized sugar and whipped cream with a sprig of mint, and some fresh raspberries, strawberries, bananas and edible pansies on the side.
When you enjoy a culinary evening like this, it's easy to see why the Blue Moon is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Everything we ate was not only a scintillating array of flavors and textures, done to perfection and served with art and presentation in mind, but the whole evening was a delight, including the very attentive and friendly service and the ambiance. Congratulations, Joyce, Chef Peter McMahon, and everyone at the Moon for reaching this milestone, and with continued excellence such as this, we look forward to another 20 years!
The Blue Moon, 35 Baltimore Avenue, is open seven days a week. Call 302-227-6515 for reservations.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 10, No. 5, May 19, 2000.