Blue Moon: Simply Put, at the Top of Its Game!
I’ve been dining at the Blue Moon for at least twenty of their thirty(!) years in business. Through thick and thin (me and the Moon) I’ve watched this venerable restaurant and bar hold the fort on Baltimore Avenue as one of the strongest anchors in our Rehoboth Gay Community.
After two recent visits—brunch and dinner—I can happily report that the Blue Moon, under the culinary leadership of Lion Gardner, is at the top of its game and better than ever.
Bonnie and I brunched on a hot Sunday morning, sitting at a two-top on the glassed-in front porch, where we were cool as cucumbers and enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of Baltimore Avenue. There was a jazz band in the bar entertaining brunchers, while we enjoyed the current art show on the interior walls. You should stop in to see the wonderful watercolors—I fell in love with one of the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard.
Brunch began with warm rolls with honeyed cream cheese or raspberry preserves along with a perfectly mixed Mimosa ($3!)—more champagne than orange juice, and smooth champagne at that. Our server Amy presented the menus and caused us to check our watches and answer the age-old question—breakfast or lunch? The menu teased us with both.
Leaning toward a late breakfast I went with the steak and eggs ($15)—deliciously-seasoned scrambled eggs along with seared angus beef and buttery hash browns with onions. The hash browns were spectacular but I had to do with just one or two bites so I could concentrate on the protein! The beef was cooked to my preference (rare!) and would have sufficed as a dinner entrée if it wasn’t breakfast time. I understand that the chef is cutting his own beef these days and it was obviously a superior cut—tender and delectable.
Bonnie went right for lunch, since it’s not often you are offered Wild Boar Bolognese ($17) on spinach fettuccini. The bolognese ragu was hearty with ground beef and boar, light on tomato, with a dash of parmigiano—really great. It’s on the Moon’s dinner menu, too and well it should be!
As if that wasn’t breakfast enough, Megan Gardner (co-owner along with husband Lion, Tim Ragan and Randy Haney) wanted us to try the Beef Short Rib Hash ($14), something I admit I may never have ordered if left on my own. The dish came with fingerling potatoes, wild mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, melted cheddar with a fried organic egg atop. The short ribs were melt-in-your-mouth tender, making this gourmet hash a new favorite of mine.
As if we needed dessert…we got it anyway. The Mascarpone Cloud Cake ($9)—an extra light cheese pastry with maple-pecan crust, local blueberries, candied lemon and pine nuts kept me deliriously busy, while the Peach Bellini ($8) had Bonnie’s fork in motion. Angel Food cake and champagne sorbet complimented the ripe local peaches. She reported delirium as well.
Back at the Moon not two days later for dinner, someone had gotten wind of a birthday involved and our table was sprinkled with festive decorations. So yes, I had one Blue Moon Pomegranate Martini and I am lucky I remember dinner. Blue Moon, home of the heavy pour. And we love them for it!
But I surely do remember dinner, as it was just spectacular. I started with the small antipasto plate ($12) and, when it was placed before me by waiter Tim (gracious and perfect service, by the way) I said, “That’s the small one?”
Apparently yes, and everyone says that, reported Tim.
The platter included Tuscan salami, French garlic sausage, Italian dried beef and cured Spanish ham. One of these International meats had a real kick, don’t know which one. There were also artichoke hearts, black and green olives and more. Just how I like to graze.
Bonnie had the Baby Mache Salad ($10) with roasted beets, spiced pecans, blue cheese, shaved fennel and a vinaigrette described as from local bee pollen. The salad was a treat.
Moving on to entrees, I chose the Porcini Dusted Alaskan Halibut ($29) with roasted wild mushrooms and...this was creative…local blueberry compote. I knew I was taking a chance with the combination—but it was spectacular—frankly, the best halibut dish ever. Being a red wino, I had a Malbec with it, figuring the blueberries made the choice okay. I was right.
Meanwhile, as has been our tradition for two decades, Bonnie ordered the rack of lamb ($39) and it really would have been a big enough portion for us to split. The chops, thick, cooked perfectly pink, and savory made the birthday even more festive than it already was. The side dish, creamed spinach with cheese rocked. And since Julia Child said that it was always all right to gnaw lamb chops by holding them in your fingers, we did.
We are only sorry that we could not also have tasted the Battered Virginia Soft Crabs (hurry! Almost out of season), the Lobster, Shrimp & Scallops with squid ink pasta (there was an audacious restaurant up in P-Town which used to serve lobster and squid ink pasta) or the local Wild Rockfish. Of course, Braised Short Ribs and the Wild Boar Bolognese from brunch were also on the dinner menu.
Word from the Moon’s Miss Mona to the kitchen had my dessert arriving with a candle. Good thing they didn’t try the full number—wouldn’t want to burn down the Moon. Waiter Tim’s gift to me was NOT singing “Happy Birthday” and I appreciated it. The dessert itself was a Vanilla Genois Cake ($8) with raspberry preserves, butterscotch and honey-vanilla ice cream. On the other side of the table came a perfect flourless Chocolate Torte ($9) with rum caramel sauce and white chocolate ice cream.
Put a fork in them, they were done. Not only were our Blue Moon meals creative and wonderful, but the staff is so attentive and friendly (and yes, they were that way with everyone) that the whole atmosphere has great energy and panache.
Good, even great, restaurants come and go. But the Blue Moon came and stayed. We enjoyed our meals no end, but our greatest pleasure is that the Blue Moon keeps on keeping on, now, really as good as it gets.