|What's Bubblin' at The Buttery?
Having been to The Buttery once, I knew what culinary delights were in store for me and my guest, Eileen. It had been a year since I last set foot into the restaurant, but in the meantime I had heard the restaurant's name mentioned many times. Everyone had something positive, if not blindly passionate and noteworthy, to say about The Buttery. These words of praise ran subconscious circles in my brain working like some possessed mantra urging me to return.
Upon entering, the gloriously brilliant colors of this former Victorian home turned into a first-class restaurant brings a sense of excitement to the senses that will certainly be memorable to anyone who steps across the threshold. The meticulously placed floral arrangements and the colors are an invitation to experience the comfortable nature of the restaurant. It is easy to become entranced with the Buttery's professional yet relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Not only is there a spacious dining room inside but also a well designed and glorious deck that wraps around the outside of the restaurant. This is perfect seating for those wanting to enjoy the warmth of summer or the cool freshness of spring or fall.
Despite the quickened yet quiet pace of the servers (who kept our water glasses and the ones of the customers around us filled), our waiter John gave us the impression we were the only people in the restaurant. Traditionally, this has always been true of all servers working at The Buttery. Since Eileen and I were dining surrounded by so much elegance, a bottle of wine was deemed necessary and the Collanini pinot grigio "Canalungo" (Friuli) proved to be the perfect mix of restrained sweetness and dry taste for our selection of appetizers.
Choosing just one appetizer from the deluxe list was a difficult task, as each selection beckoned us, as if begging us for a taste. I chose the House Pat Selection which was purely outstanding as an appetizer; It truly was a meal in itself! The platter arrived bearing a cornucopia which included: Carr's biscuits, imported mustard, capers, mango chutney, red onion Brunoise and apple. The possibilities of so many combinations are a delight to the palate of the diner with an individual spirit. Sweet mango chutney with the sharp bite of brown mustard topped with capers on a crisp wheat cracker is not only surprisingly strong, but sensational.
Eileen's Blue Crab and Lobster Napoleon with Ginger Cream Asian Pesto was accompanied by arugala greens whose crispness was a beautiful companion to the moist seafood platter. The ginger Asian pesto was not overly thick or creamy but was almost magically blended together with the delicacies of the sea. At this point, it was apparent that everything after these appetizer would seem like a bonus.
Typically, summer at the beach is the perfect time to indulge, or overindulge, in the plethora of seafood dishes that a restaurant such as The Buttery would have to offer. Thankfully, as the summer heat had escalated by early July, the Butter Braised Maine Lobster Tail was what called to me; I felt there was a necessary symbiotic relationship between consuming lobster and the aggressive weather of summer. When it arrived bright red, steaming and succulent, my heart almost skipped a beat. The thick, meaty and moist portions proved to be most sumptuous and fulfilling. The lobster could have been served alone and I would have been contented.
Fortunately, the sweet summer corn and crab salad escalated this dish into the higher echelons of fine dining at the beach for this season.
Eileen chose the New York Strip steak (one of the specials that evening). It came properly aged and cooked to perfection. The meat was lean and lacking almost any fat or gristle. I nearly had to fight my guest in order to savor the well prepared entree. Both the strip steak and the lobster are clear indications how the meat and seafood at The Buttery are selected, prepared, cooked and served; It is simply and obviously done so by the best. Other selections you may also choose from: Duck Breast Leg Confit, Horseradish-Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin, Free Range Lamb, Key West Grouper, or Seared Cashew Encrusted Yellow Fin Tuna.
For dessert, my guest and I shared a portion of The Buttery's Peanut Butter Cheesecake and Tiramisu. The latter being one of the best everthe perfect balance between a sweet smooth consistency and moist texture. The cheesecake was a peanut butter lover's dream: all gooey thickness and dream-like sweet-tooth fantasy.
This finale to this perfect dining experience would have only been bettered by a glass of fine red wineif only Eileen and I had room in which to indulge such a treat.
Incidentally, The Buttery's selection of wines both red and white and sparkling wines and champagne is massive in size and impressive in range. One could revisit time and time again just fulfilling temptation by delving into the endless combinations of flavors and sensations by making a variation of appetizers, entrees, and desserts with these wines. Dining at The Buttery was a night to remembera necessary experience for those visiting or living at the southern Delaware beaches. Period.
The Buttery, located at 102 Second St. in Lewes, Delaware, is open daily for lunch and dinner, and Sunday brunch.For more information visit www.butteryrestaurant.com or call 302-645-7755.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 10 July 29, 2005