|by Jennifer P. Rubenstein|
|A New Moon Rising
Last Sunday, Sharon and I had the pleasure of dining together at the Blue Moon restaurant in downtown Rehoboth (right next door to CAMP Rehoboth where the construction progress is impressive).
The Blue Moon has to be one of the oldest establishments in Rehoboth Beach, celebrating its 27th year in 2008. It was recently purchased by the long-standing management team of Tim Ragan, Megan Gardner, Lion Gardner, and Randy Haney. The new owners have been responsible for the daily operations and management decisions of the Blue Moon for the past several years. They are committed to continuing the Blue Moon's 27 year tradition of excellence long into the future.
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted and seated and then introduced to our server, Tom Greeson, who took excellent care of us all evening long. He was amazing. It shouldn't have surprised me to find out that he has been providing excellent service to diners at the Blue Moon for 17 years.
The service, though, was not the only excellent thing that evening. Let me tell you about the food! It was a rainy, chilly evening, so we started with two heavy appetizers: the lamb sausage and the foie gras.
Each day, there is a new menu at the Blue Moon. The lamb sausage appetizer is something I hadn't seen before, so I had to try it. It was delicious. The sausage itself had a lot of herbs and veggies in it, so it was lighter than I expected, but still had an unmistakable lamb flavor. It was served over lentils that were cooked perfectly with wonderful flavor and chunks of carrots and celery.
The foie gras was a hilarious take on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In this case, the bread was a sturdy yet fluffy brioche; the peanut butter was a think layer of hazelnut butter on the brioche; the jelly was the champagne syrup drizzled on the side. All this was topped with a fragile and rich piece of pan seared duck liver. It was the kind of thing that would have made Julia Child chuckle with pleasure before, during, and after eating it.
The next item that arrived was a mixed green salad that Tom graciously split for us. As many of you know, I am originally from California where ordering a salad with a meal is practically state law. If you are the type of eater who tends to skip this course, please don't skip this paragraph. At the end of the meal, even though I was completely stuffed and carrying more than half my entre in a "to go" container, I still regretted splitting that salad. It was so wonderful that I wish I had ordered my own. While the description may sound like the kind of salad you can get in any upscale restaurant, the balance of flavors made this salad distinct from any I have had in a long time. It was made up of just the right mix of organic greens, fresh golden and red beets, tiny pieces of candied walnuts, chunks of pears, crumbles of gorgonzola cheese and the perfect amount of the perfect vinaigrette to make all the flavors work together. It's the kind of salad that had us using our knives to push every last little leaf and crumble onto our forks and into our mouths.
In addition to graciously splitting the salad for us, Tom was incredibly attentive, making sure our water glasses were never empty. We had a wonderful time chatting with Tom and the other diners out on the converted front porch of the restaurant.
The next dishes to arrive were the entrees. Sharon ordered the Hanger Steak, which is a cut that is showing up on more and more menus. It is a cut prized for its flavor, but it is not particularly tender, so it is typically served marinated and quickly grilled to rare or medium rare. The Blue Moon's version was grilled with tons of flavor and served with some homemade shoestring French fries and some amazing sauted shallots that had been marinated and cooked in red wine until they were very sweet.
My entre was the Pasta Bolognese, which I fully expect to start craving soon. It was the perfect comfort on a rainy evening. My favorite part was the homemade pappardelle noodles which were thin, wide and long. The sauce was very light but full of flavor with bits of pancetta, pork and veal stewed with vegetables and tossed with the noodles. Of course, it was topped with shaved parmesan-reggiano. Yum. It was the "loaves and fishes" of pasta in that I kept eating it but couldn't manage to make much of a dent. It was a huge bowl, and I ended up getting two more servings from the leftovers.
For dessert, we shared a Key Lime pie which was creamy and delicious with a lovely graham cracker crust. Next time I am going to save room for their signature dessert called the Moon Pie, which was enjoyed by the people sitting next to us. It is literally over a foot tall, with layers of ice cream and meringue. Tom told us that the Moon Pie was the first dessert that the original owners put on the menu back in 1980.
Don't wait for the next blue moon to dine at this wonderful restaurant.
The Blue Moon is open seven days a week for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to approximately 10:00 p.m., plus they serve a marvelous Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They are located at 35 Baltimore Avenue and reservations can be made by calling 302-227-6515.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 05 May 16, 2008