|Sail On, Silver Moon
Twenty-five years ago, Joyce Felton decided to open up a restaurant on Baltimore Avenue and call it "Blue Moon." In so doing, she set the standard for truly fine dining in Rehoboth. And, after two and a half decades, it just keeps getting better and better. So many good things have been deservedly written about Blue Moon that heaping additional praise on it somehow seems redundant. Nonetheless, Susan and I took ourselves there on a recent Sunday night, and were once again reminded just how fine the place really is.
Every thing about Blue Moon is first rate, including the waitstaff. Our server, Matt, was warm, cheerful and helpful. He was most patient while Susan and I dithered over whether to have a drink or not, then read and reread the drinks menu. I wanted to sample their Cosmopolitan, and Susan surprised me by orderingshades of the fifties!a Gimlet. The Cosmo was smooth, smooth, smooth, and Susan savored her Gimlet.
Sipping our drinks, we were admiring the art work on the walls, a flora and fauna exhibition by artist Carlos Pascual. While commenting on the works to Matt, he told us that the exhibit was due to change, and the month of March would be the annual event of the Employee Staff Art Show. Matt says it promises to be great fun. He, it turns out, got his Masters Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and does his work in Pop Art style. Who knows, someday I may be able to say I was served dinner by the next Andy Warhol.
The menu we ordered from is the winter menu. The menus change three times a year, and the new one will debut in May. Appetizers always present a challenge for me, simply because I seem to want to try them all. Blue Moon's are particularly tempting. My Cornmeal Crusted Sauted Oysters were served with roasted shoepeg corn and tomato salsa, with lime-chive aioli. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy oysters, and these were plump, tender morsels with that sweet salt-kissed taste of the ocean. Susan had the soup of the day, an incredible Truffled Lobster and White Asparagus Bisque with Thai basil. The soup had wonderful, distinctive flavors, and plentiful chunks of lobster.
Salad seemed just the right thing to order next, and we split a crisp, garlicky Caesar while deciding what to order for main courses. Susan's choice came before mine. While I lovingly eyed each thing on the menu, she ordered the duck, billed as "Crispy Roasted Five Spice Rubbed Mapleleaf Farm Duck Breasts." A mouthful to order, and an even more delicious mouthful to eat. It was topped with a Hoisin lime drizzle, and sided with a scallion griddle cake and Vietnamese Pak Choi Slaw. There as so many fine things to select from, but I finally settled on the Baked Colossal Shrimp stuffed with lobster and crab. Whoever named this dish "Colossal" was on the right track. To taste all those shellfish in a single bite was truly fantastic. As good as the shrimp were, they didn't distract me from enjoying the accompanying Mascapone and Basil Infused Orzo and Steamed Spinach. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Before ordering dessert we checked out the wonderfully diverse wine list and gave serious thought to the dessert wines. The wine list is a mixture of reds, whites, and champagnes, many of which can be ordered by the glass. As well as a sampling of six dessert wines, there are four ports to be ordered by the glass.
Pastry chef Brandy Dreibelbis has conjured up a dessert menu that would satisfy the sweet tooth of anyone. Ever had a Moon Pie? No, not the Hostess thing in a cellophane wrapper, but a Blue Moon Pie. This is a totally amazing creation of layers of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and pistachio ice cream on a chocolate cookie crust, tipped with baked meringue, chocolate and strawberry sauces. This tower of temptation is a "bet you can't eat the whole thing" challenge. I was determined not to leave a bite, but caved about two thirds of the way through. Susan and I swapped plates and I got to share her Banana Bread Pudding, a glorious concoction served warm with a drizzle of Crme Anglaise and caramel ice cream. Henry VIII never had it so good.
Sunday Brunch at Blue Moon is served between 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The menu for that is fabulous. As often as I've eaten at Blue Moon over the years, I've never gone to their brunch. That will change soon. Brunch is moderately priced at $15. Throw in an extra five bucks and you can drink from the Bloody Mary bar or have unlimited Mimosas.
Happy Silver Anniversarywe look forward to another delightful twenty-five, savoring food that comes along, truly, once in a Blue Moon.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 2 March 11, 2005