|by Jennifer P. Rubinstein|
|Shag Takes You Back in Time
It was beastly hot last Sunday when Sharon and I went out for a late dinner to the new restaurant, Shag, on wonderful Wilmington Avenue next to Planet X. We were greeted on the stairs by a very friendly hostess who showed us what the Proprietors Tim Hartwick and Nick Papantinas have done to the place. I immediately smiled when I noticed that the outdoor carpeting near the front door was shag carpeting. It was hilarious.
I am not an interior designer by any stretch (I am inclined toward poufy leather and personality-free colors), but I can appreciate a job well done. The design elements are everywhere at Shag. The front part of the building has been renovated in eye-popping colors from the late 1960s and early 70s. Don't forget to snap a photo in the "hand" chair. Table tops are mirrors, and I felt like I was at Studio 54.
Our table was in the "Blue Palm Dining Room" which is what they call the giant deck connecting the front house and the building out back also known as the "Pleather Bar." The whole aesthetic is fun, fun, fun.
Local singer Viki Dee was finishing her set when we arrived (she plays 70s music on the deck from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday evenings), and a giant industrial fan kept the air moving around. It was very nice out on the deck. We saw a bunch of people we knew, including some DC folks whom we hadn't seen since last summer. Everyone was still buzzing about the "Splash" fundraiser which had taken place there the day before; it was a great party.
The menu at Shag is all about fun and sharing. It's the kind of place where you can pop in for a quick meal and enjoy a mini-vacation away from the everyday mundane world. It's also the kind of place where you could lounge for hours with friends, meet people, and nosh the evening away.
The cocktail menu has retro and modern favorites including a variety of martinis with names like The Nancy Sinatra-tini which is pear vodka, sour and cranberry juice. Ah, can't you feel all your troubles melting away?
The food at Shag is a little of everything Greek, Asian, Italian, and seafood. After meeting Tim and Nick, who have been together for six years, we were inspired to try one of the new Greek items on the menu. Nick is first-generation Greek-American, and they have spent a lot of time in Greece, especially in Thessaloniki, a large city where hip urbanites hang out. Several of the menu items are inspired by the kind of food eaten there.
The Bouyardi is a Greek specialty appetizer of baked Feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives and tomatoes served with pita bread. I loved it. I would definitely order it again. It was delicious and comforting. Even the pita bread was good: thick and flavorful.
For our entrees, Sharon ordered the sliders and fries and I had the fish tacos. The sliders were beautiful little works of art. I hate to call them small hamburgers because they didn't taste like burgers. The meat was very flavorful and juicy angus beef. The patties were topped with smoked gouda and little droplets of roasted shallot sauce. They were yummy.
The fries were amazing. To me, fries are always a good thing (I'm a big fan of the fried potato), but these were extra-special. The menu doesn't explain why they taste so amazing, but my guess is that there is some truffle oil at play. They are served with three flavors of dipping sauce that were fun to try. The serving was so huge that we couldn't eat them all. For those of you who know Sharon and me, you know that rarely do we leave a fry on a plate.
I had ordered the fish tacos which were really good. They are served in a simple manner with a large piece of fried fish in each of three taco-sized tortillas; a small dish of mango chipotle salsa on one side, a small pile of lettuce and a small dish of lime crme fresh on the other. It doesn't look like a gourmet dish, but the flavors were absolutely perfect. The fish was juicy, tender, flavorful and very lightly battered. The mango salsa was sweet and light, the lime crme fresh was spicy and puckery. When I put it all together, I fell in love with the fish taco.
Other favorites on the menu include the meatballs, the Langostino mac and cheese, and the flatbread pizza.
As the sun went down, the wait staff put candles on each table and blue spotlights lit up palm trees in every direction, and we learned why they called it the Blue Palm dining room.
We'll leave it to you to discover on your own why the back bar is called the Pleather Bar.Shag serves dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. everyday and is located at 37 Wilmington Avenue in downtown Rehoboth Beach. Questions can be directed to 302-227-6869.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 10 July 25, 2008