It’s in the Name: Palate Has Palate Pleasers
Here’s exciting news. The wonderful restaurant Palate Bistro has reopened in the Safeway Shopping center off Route One. The chef-owned gourmet bistro, so very popular over the past several years, closed briefly in 2020 so the owners could concentrate on opening their second venue, Harbour, along the canal in Lewes.
Now that the new seafood restaurant is up and running, local foodies are thrilled that Chef Gary and Lorraine have reopened Palate for dine-in or curbside pick-up. It’s now open 4:30-8:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with its New American Cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.
In addition to the owners being in the house, they have announced that chef Andrew Guffy has joined the Palate family. Guffey was most recently with the restaurant a(MUSE.), beloved but now gone from Baltimore Avenue.
On a cold flurrying evening recently, Bonnie and I sampled dinner from Palate Bistro by way of curbside pick-up, First, and this is important these days, they packaged the dinner in two convenient paper shopping bags and containers which kept the entrees intact and looking great. It’s a talent that restauranteurs have been encouraged to perfect during COVID and Palate got it right.
We enjoyed the ample appetizer portion of Country Style Duck Paté with house chutney, Dijon, apple slices and a delicious baguette. I’m a fool for paté and the pickled veggies with it, replacing traditional cornichons, worked just great. Happily, the portion was large enough to suffice for my appetizer one night and a happy hour treat the next.
A second appetizer was the Maryland Crab Chowder, a red base with big chunks of crab and an abundance of Old Bay seasoning. It was perfectly hearty for our snowy night, evoking my many Chesapeake Bay memories.
For her entrée, Bonnie chose (and then shared with me) the Shellfish Pappardelle, with Gulf shrimp, jumbo lump crab, basil pesto, and, of course, Parmesan cheese. It was a light pesto, a superb choice, not to overwhelm the shrimp and crab and a marvelous dish. Again, the portion was large enough for us to have a side dish with supper the following night.
My choice of entrée was the Duck Breast with (on the side for travel) a Port wine cherry reduction, baby spinach, and wild mushroom barley. The medium rare duck slices were absolutely perfect, with the accompaniments making for a delightful gourmet experience.
Other entrée choices include Braised Pork Shoulder with Hoppin' John—Carolina rice, black-eyed peas, braised collard greens, and white cheddar jalapeno cornbread, Bourbon & Brown Sugar Slow Braised Beef Brisket with red eye gravy, Yukon potato gratin, and maple-roasted baby carrots…and many more.
On the intriguing list of sides, next time I’m going to sample the Rosemary Thyme Roasted Root Vegetables and Yukon Gold Potato Gratin with White Cheddar Cheese of Locatelli Cheese.
And YES, we had their in-house baked desserts. We ordered only one but were secretly happy when Lorraine ignored us and sent two slices of their delectable desserts—one sweet coconut cake and the other banana-flavored, both with decadent creamy frosting. One slice was gone in record time, and the other, I admit, made the next morning’s breakfast a treat.
While it’s heavenly being able to enjoy some of our amazing fine dining choices at our own dining tables (which I never thought of doing before the pandemic) it’s still no substitute for the real dining experience.
Happily, Palate is open for in-restaurant dining, with plenty of COVID precautions to keep you as safe as possible.
While Palate’s website is being retooled, view the menu by clicking the Palate link near the bottom of the harbourlewes.com site. Their phone number is 302.249.8489. Enjoy!
Dining News You Can Use
With many of us missing our pre-COVID dining experiences, with meals served, wine poured, and all the sensory ambiance that implies, in-restaurant dining is making a big comeback as more and more vaccinations are given and people, still masked and socially distancing, venture out.
Governor Raises Capacity Limit
On February 4, Governor John Carney announced newly-approved regulations that permitted restaurants to increase their indoor dining to 50 percent of capacity instead of the previous 30 percent. The new rules went into effect on Friday morning, February 12, just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.
The change came about as the number of Delaware’s COVID hospitalizations and people testing positive for COVID continued to fall.
In a press statement, Governor Carney said, “We are administering more vaccines each day, and we continue to see improvements in our COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations statewide. That’s good news, but it’s no reason to let our guard down.”
The new regulations apply not only to restaurants but also to retail locations, gyms, places of worship, and arts venues.
Outdoor Dining, Drinks-To-Go Extended
Expanded outdoor seating and the popular drinks-to-go regulations enacted by the State of Delaware last year to help restaurants navigate the pandemic have been extended by the Delaware House of Delegates. The bill, passed on January 27, is now headed for the state senate. The bill was sponsored by House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and would keep the expanded rules in place through March 2022.