Bramble & Brine, Fine Dining and Wine!
It’s wonderful when a restaurant opens in town that is very different from anything else here. Our several truly marvelous fine dining establishments all share a contemporary flair when it comes to the artwork and ambiance. Bramble & Brine has a different aesthetic.
The lovely Bramble & Brine, features an old-world flair, with crystal chandeliers and classical gilded-framed art. Situated in a lovingly restored Rehoboth Avenue cottage, replete with delicate and vintage china, as well as rooms sprinkled with antiques (this writer is especially fond of the old typewriter at the hostess stand), Bramble & Brine personifies romance.
And while the atmosphere is of the charming past, the menu and cuisine is anything but old-fashioned.
Except, of course, for the Slow and Low Old Fashioned cocktail on their drink menu. They use honey and orange-infused rye. I sampled another choice, the Blue Goose, a dirty Grey Goose Martini, with a hint of blue from blue cheese stuffed olives (smooth and fabulous). Bonnie toasted with the Kirs to You, Kir Royale—De Perrier Blanc de Blancs with Chambord, and it was divine.
We will, of course, have to go back for The Bronte Squared, a writerly concoction noting that both Charlotte and Emily Bronte were known to write in the wee hours as they both had insomnia. The coffee-inspired libation of Disarrano, Bailey’s, and Espresso Vodka would have helped!
Creative cocktails like the Churchmanhattan, named for Joe Churchman Sr., father of the owners, and the F. Scott F. for Gatsby fans aside, the creativity continued with the cuisine.
The chef, Joe Churchman, is well known in Rehoboth, having shown his creativity at Eden, Planet X, and Venus on the Half Shell, as well as Philadelphia’s famed La Virtu. His spouse Megan takes care of front of house and has a delightful welcoming presence.
Following our cocktails, first came the soft, warm bread with rosemary butter, followed by a potato leek soup featuring house cherry tasso ham. Luscious and with a definite kick.
We sampled the unique appetizer of Calamari and lamb sausage—crispy chickpea, black garlic romesco and pepperoncini powder. Distinctively delicious. The sprout salad wrapped with heirloom carrot slices, served to the next table, looked awesome, but we had to pace ourselves.
For entrees, I chose the pan roasted black sea bass. The firm, flavorful fish was accompanied by roasted turnips, fried artichoke and kale custard, crispy kale, and shallot reduction. It was a superbly memorable entrée, maybe the best bass I have ever tasted.
Bramble & Brine has a signature seared duck dish and Bonnie opted for that, one of her favorites. The orange lavender scented breast was accompanied by carrot puree, glazed tiny carrots and an herbed potato latke—the duck breast was divine and the latke, well, not your grandmother’s latke. So unusual and savory.
As for the wine list, I enjoyed a crisp Sauvignon Blanc by the glass with the sea bass and Bonnie chose a Pinot Noir with the duck. The list is extensive and appealing, featuring many blends and varietals—there’s a Bordeaux by the glass I want to sample, so I will have to stop by the small but lively bar one evening to check it out. Clearly, as much time has been taken assembling the wine list as has been given to refining the recipes.
While we dined, the bar was busy and the restaurant business steady, but the decibel level did not offend at all. In fact, all the attentive service, bustling bar conversations, and romantic ambiance combined to give me the feeling of a restaurant with a hearty pulse without being in annoying overdrive. A perfect combination.
Yes, despite feeling sated after the entrees, we did manage to share a dessert. If we could only try one it had to be the mud pie, a chilled meringue over a decadent chocolate confection on a plate artistically adorned with rich chocolate sauce. I whispered “Uncle” halfway through my half, and wished I had the remainder for this morning’s breakfast.
Overall, it was a stunning experience. Like our other fine dining choices, dinner at Bramble & Brine has its sophisticated price point. Entrees range from $23 for the vegetarian choice to $34 for a rib eye, with the other wonderful choices in between. Appetizers run from $9-$13, salads at $9, and soup at $7.
So for a gourmet experience, a celebration, a romantic dinner or simply a remarkable evening, enjoy the very different vibe and exquisite culinary artistry at Bramble & Brine. And welcome it to Rehoboth’s growing list of magnificent dining choices. We love being a foodie town on the East Coast’s culinary trail.
Bramble & Brine is located at 315 Rehoboth Avenue (the former South Pacific Florist space). For reservations, call 302-227-7702.