Planet X: Out of This World
Owner and chef, Justine Zegna’s Planet X has been around in Rehoboth for a long time, 16 years to be exact. With its expansive front porch for outdoor seating and inside private dining rooms and quirky spaces, it’s a legend around here.
But the thing with legends is tricky. Can they continue to shine and compete with our bold newcomers? Oh my goodness, yes! Their local, natural and organic modern cuisine continues to provide meals that are worthy of the title of legendary.
In the past few weeks, I’ve dined there twice, with my selections and those of my dining mates achieving the standard of memorable meals.
With my penchant for being early, Bonnie and I generally find ourselves at the bar, awaiting our pals. With its young, energetic bartenders and extensive All Natural Martini list, how can that be bad? The cocktails are listed on the menu as Organic and Triple Distilled House Infused creations. I don’t really understand what all that means, except that the Sunshine, with local watermelon infused Tequila, carrot juice, just-squeezed fresh orange juice and lime ($10) is a winner; also the Skinny Cosmo, with Organic Vodka, fresh OJ and lime and a splash of Pomegranate-Cranberry. Their martinis are a great reason to be on the early side. Other choices include the Clean Green, with house-infused vodka, kiwi, and apple juices or the Ruby Red Ginger Slipper with house infused grapefruit and ginger triple distilled vodka and grapefruit juice.
Even on the hot, hot nights we’ve had, the Planet X porch finds the breeze and is delightful.
For starters (also can be enjoyed as entrees), the small plate Crispy Eggplant, Herb Boursin cheese with Putanesca sauce ($12) has always been among my favorites, along with the Smoked Salmon Quesadilla with chili crème fraiche ($12)
The blue cheese salad with baby greens, red grapes, toasted honey almonds and champagne raspberry vinaigrette ($10) is so good I have yet to sample the raw salad of arugula, micro greens, crunchy veggies, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with a tahini-tamari dressing. I’m betting on superb.
My very favorite entrée this season is the Jumbo Shrimp and Vegetable Red Thai Curry with toasted coconut ($25). It’s not explosively hot but it’s got a nice kick and rivals any I’ve ever had at big city Thai restaurants. The coconut/curry combo is subtle and the shrimp are fresh and cooked to perfection. We’ve also really enjoyed the Baramundi Filet (a light, white fish) with crispy Gremolata (I had to ask: it’s an herb condiment typically made with lemon zest, garlic and parsly) and Lemon-Barley Risotto and Spring Petit Peas. ($26)
Next time I am headed for the Sticky Hoisin BBQ Boneless Beef Short Ribs with Creamy Stone-Ground Organic Grits and Sweet and Sour Vegetables ($21).
Carnivore that I am, there is plenty on the menu for me. However, Planet X is well known as a favorite for vegetarians and vegans, with their famous Seitan dishes, including the BBQ dish I just mentioned with the Seitan substituting for the beef. They also do the red curry with Seitan and a marvelous-sounding dish of Roasted Crispy Seitan and King Oyster Truffled Mushrooms, Potatoes Anna and Dressed Arugula ($23). The menu is filled with gluten-free choices or substitutions as well.
And while I spent time at the bar with my martinis, I must also mention Planet X’s wonderful wine list, eclectic, featuring both famed labels and local.
One of my favorite Rehoboth personalities, Father Max Wolf, is credited for his expertise and time in creating the wine list. It goes with the Planet X theme that two of their wines (Tre Fili and Bonterra) are produced organically, with others made by sustainable farming methods. For the brew menu, Dogfish Head 60 Minute and Evolution ESB are standouts.
After my marvelous dinners at Planet X, I have never been able to sample dessert— either too sated or too guilty, so you are on your own! But I bet they are grand.
So before I finish up here, let me just say a word or several about the funky Planet X décor. There’s a Buddha at the bar, fabulously peculiar artifacts all around, from odd-ball chandeliers to mosaics and mirrors and well, a darn strange collection of cool stuff that makes the visit not only culinarily exquisite, but ambiancely very special. Seriously worth the visit for the décor alone!
So go an enjoy a night out at Planet X, a terrific part of our Rehoboth solar system.