|Come, Sit and Enjoy the Back Porch
Starting its thirty-first year at the same location in Rehoboth, the Back Porch Caf is as fresh and inviting as any restaurant could ever be. Age has done nothing but refine and enhance. Susan and I were warmly welcomed by Marilyn Spitz, one of the three owners. After being seated and presented with a glorious wine list we got to chat a few minutes with Marilyn about The Back Porch. We learned that partner Keith Fitzgerald selects most of the wines on the seemingly endless wine list. I counted thirty-five reds, twenty-six whites, and healthy sprinklings of ross, champagnes and dessert wines. It should be mentioned that there are many wines served by the glass.
While we were admiring the artwork on the walls by Mexican artist Armando Brito, Marilyn told us that Leo Medisch, the third partner, chooses the art work to display. Another fun thing we learned is that Marilyn goes to Puerto Rico in the off season to surf. She started to work at The Back Porch in 1980 and became a partner in 1984. We love hearing stories like that!
Settling in to look at the wine list, we were greeted by our server, the long, luscious, Louise. At 6'3" she's a stunner of a blonde and wonderfully helpful. She enlisted the aid of Spike, another server, to help Susan select a red wine that was, by her description, fruity. (She really hasn't recovered since she saw Sideways.) They came up with a Willamette Valley pinot noir from Wallace Brook vineyards that was full bodied but light and, yes, fruity. Me? With the first mint of summer, can Mojitos be far behind? I now have a new missionto taste every one of them in Rehoboth by summers' end, and The Back Porch's version was a terrific start!
Everything at The Back Porch is made from scratch on premises, down to such details as mayonnaise. That alone speaks of the serious attention given to a menu that is diverse and seasonal. And we gave equally serious attention to choosing first courses from a selection that made us want to try each and every one. Susan decided to start with the Spring Pea Flan with Lobster and Pea Sprouts, and Tarragon Crme Frache. This is such a gorgeous dish that you hesitate to mess it up by digging a fork into it. Be glad you did. It's the perfect combination of fresh spring peas pured with a tantalizing cream and tarragon. The generous lobster bites that surround it are tender and flavorful. I'd make a special trip back just to have this dish. My appetizer of Crispy Dusted Sweetbreads with Ramps, Morels and Pancetta surely was a close second. The sweetbreads were crisped on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth soft on the inside, sitting atop ramps and morels that partner perfectly with the sweetbreads.
Each time I come to The Back Porch I fully intend to make a meal of the appetizers, then the list of main courses always tempts me into trying something new. I vacillated between the Grilled Breast of Duck, Confit of Leg and Thigh with Pan Roasted Grapes, Verjus and Golden Raisin Polenta (just writing the description makes me salivate) and the Prosciutto Crusted Loin of Rabbit with its confit, Fiddlehead ferns and morel cream. The idea of tasting fiddlehead ferns for the first time swayed me. Louise said that some people have described them as having an asparagus taste. Maybe. I thought they were unique with a sort of woodsy aftertaste, and they sure were fun to look at, all coiled up in quarter size pieces. The rabbit was fork tender and robustly flavored.
After much thought, Susan ordered the Pan Seared Grouper, with Orange glazed endive, Fava Beans, topped off with Saffron Vinaigrette. Everything on the plate was in perfect balance. The grouper was a large chunk of sweetly fresh seafood, contrasted nicely with the hearty fava beans and light endive.
Dessert was a slam dunk for meRaspberry Brown Butter Tartlet. Can anything with raspberries and butter be anything less than great? Probably not, but this dessert ranks among the best. Susan's chocolate addiction kicked in, and she ordered the Steamed Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding with Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream. Truly and intensely chocolate from first to last bite. I almost had to whack her with my spoon to get a taste. The ice cream is homemade and velvety and is the perfect accompaniment to the dense pudding.
Everything about The Back Porch Caf is exceptional from the service to the glorious food. Make your reservations soondon't let summer pass without at least one meal here. After all, this is not your grandmother's Back Porch.
The Back Porch Caf, 59 Rehoboth Ave., is open daily for lunch and dinner. Call 302-227-3674 for reservations.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 7 June 17, 2005