Eden, Paradise in Rehoboth
What, exactly, makes a great restaurant great? Is it fairy lights suspended from the ceiling? Or pale blue, filmy curtains separating the bisque-colored booths—booths accented with recessed lighting in every alcove? Is it soft, gentle music in the background? All of these things provide a clue to the care the owners have taken to create the perfect dining ambience.
Oh, let’s not to forget the main course. The food!
It’s true. Eden is a feast for the eyes. In addition to the lovely atmosphere described above, the restaurant boasts attractive artwork on its walls, and of all things, aged barrels at the bar.
When asked about them, our excellent server Jordan explained that Eden provides in-house infusions, accounting for a perfect bourbon. The bar has other features. Sally’s cosmopolitan was the best proportion of spirits, lime, and cranberry juice—a blend not perfected in many cosmos. My diet soda was the perfect blend of, well, diet soda. Hard to get a cosmo just right. The diet soda—not so much.
But forget for a minute the splendid niceties of the room and the skill of the bartender. There was food a’comin!
First came the appetizers. The next time I visit Eden (and there will be a next time!), I may just order a bunch of the eye-opening, pre-entrée specialties and call them the meal. Sorry, Eden folks…I mean, you should always order an entree too!
The menu is top-drawer and creative throughout. That includes the appetizers. I ordered the Grilled Housemade Sourdough, a dish that included garlic confit, housemade ricotta, and a marvelous lemon honey drizzle. Who thought grilled bread could be so special, and the topping was absolutely mouthwatering. We both tried the Lobster and Crab Fritters, golf-ball sized concoctions that featured housemade ingredients as well and were loaded with the two, competing shellfish.
But the star of stars was Sally’s choice of appetizer, the Chef’s Daily Ceviche. That evening’s creation featured ahi tuna amid seaweed salad, sesame seeds, and sweet, garlic teriyaki sauce. It had a small kick of spice, and the pieces of tuna were like velvet. Sally’s verdict—a party in her mouth. I pilfered a piece whenever she gazed elsewhere, until she caught on and protected her catch with a nasty glare. Next time, I will try the Fried Quail & Biscuit, a maple butter biscuit with berry compote and chili-infused honey glaze. Again, an example of the creativity of Chef Chase Nelson.
Before we get to the entrees, I should spend a moment lauding the service. Everyone was efficient and friendly, and the servers were tag-teaming throughout the dining room, making for quick ordering and much attention. A round of applause for them.
Like the appetizers, the entrees were hearty with an emphasis on creativity. Sally had a Grilled 14-ounce NY Strip Steak, complete with mashed sweet potatoes, haricots verts, and demi-glace. It tasted as good as it looked, and cooked exactly to order. I chose the Eden’s Mac ‘n Cheese, a variation of the popular dish all moms make. This version included goat cheese and Pecorino Romano, a chicken breast, spinach, and roasted red peppers, all mixed with housemade garganelli pasta. Believe me, this mac ‘n cheese was nothing like your mom’s. Rich and creamy, it was definitely a dish to savor.
There were many dishes left behind that we will try on our future Eden adventures. The Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops with bacon-roasted Brussels sprouts and the Pan-Seared Local Rockfish with lemon risotto come to mind, as does the Grilled Portabella Mushrooms for a vegetarian twist. Looking over this fabulous menu, it’s hard to find a dish you wouldn’t want.
Now for the desserts. Eden calls them the Last Course, perhaps foreshadowing an evening devoid of the necessity of a snack. Pastry Chef Kara Murphy has fashioned a dessert menu that focuses on old-time favorites with a modern twist. Sally had the Peanut Butter Pie, a special not on the menu but offered nonetheless. It was light and rich, just like it should be. No heavy dish here. Perfect. I had the Cinnamon Apple Tart, flaky with a dollop of ice cream and caramel sauce. Again, a pastry with a perfect blend of flavors. There are several dessert offerings, from Key Lime Pie, Crème Brûlée, Cheesecake, and Chocolate Torte and Mousse Cake. All unique in their preparation. For example, the Chocolate Mousse Cake has coffee mousse, chocolate butter cream, ganache, malted crumble, caramel sauce, and whipped cream. What could possibly go wrong?
Eden is one classy restaurant. It is not particularly dressy, yet still gives off an air of quality. The food is great, the service is excellent, the place is gorgeous.
What makes a great restaurant great? Try Eden. You’ll find the answer there. ▼
Michael Gilles is a playwright, actor, and director from Milton, and a regular contributor to Letters from CAMP Rehoboth.