Blackwall Hitch Brings a Sophisticated Menu to the Ocean Block
Right in the midst of the south side ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue, amid purveyors of gummy bears, sunglasses, caramel popcorn, and old-time photos, awaits a new star in the culinary coast’s roster of contemporary dining experiences.
Long the home of beer, burgers, and baby buggys, the site having been occupied first by Irish Eyes, then the Green Turtle, the large, very accessible space at 52 Rehoboth Avenue is now home to Blackwall Hitch—a casual but sophisticated restaurant with a knockout menu, crackerjack professional staff, and a beautifully designed space.
Yes, there are burgers, soup, salads, and flatbreads for lunch and dinner; yes, families with youngsters are welcome and comfortable, yes, nobody needs to be dressed to the teeth. But don’t let the friendly and relaxed atmosphere fool you.
This is a very fine kitchen, under the guidance of veteran executive chef Aileen DeLario, set up to serve some of the most inventive, delicately seasoned, absolutely delicious entrees in town.
I might be tempted to write “what’s the hitch?” Well there isn’t one. This is a marvelous new restaurant.
And for folks wondering whence comes the name Blackwall Hitch, it’s from the sea. Sailing lore to be exact. Because a Blackwall Hitch is a sailors knot, first used in the mid-19th century to secure sailing ships to docks along the Chesapeake Bay.
But enough about the place, what about the food?
Stunningly good. Bonnie and I dined at a cozy corner table last Sunday night and were thrilled with our menu selections.
Naturally our first selection came from the extensive cocktail menu. I’d like to say I sampled the Mojito, but I had two, so that’s not just a sample. Great. Bonnie had a concoction called Rum Honey Rum and it was delicious.
From there we dove into the Shrimp Blackwall appetizer— sautéed shrimp with a white wine, garlic, and creole butter, and scallions, served with warm artisan bread. Our charming waiter knew to bring us extra warm bread to soak up every bit of the sauce.
Other starters included a French Fry flight with rosemary, parmesan, and garlic fries, zucchini frites, flaming saganaki (flamed cheese with brandy and lemon, served with pita), crispy calamari, and PEI mussels among others.
The salads include a Salmon Kale salad with roasted beets, lemongrass shrimp noodles salad, and The Shobb, which stands for Shellfish Cobb and sounds amazing.
For entrees, I had the Pan-seared Striped Bass, in a disctinctive and absolutely addictive lime butter sauce, with a really fresh slaw of zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and carrots among other ingredients. The fish was ever so lightly fried, perfectly cooked and delicious.
Bonnie chose the Crispy Soft-Shell Crabs, dusted in Old Bay seasoning, also served in that decadent lime butter.
You want decadent? We finished with a New York Cheesecake (and while many claim to be real NYC, this was the real deal) with caramel sauce and fresh strawberries. Along with many other appealing choices, they offer a menu full of chocolate truffles as well.
While the appetizers are in the $9-$17 range, and entrees $20-$35 range (and truly worthy of the cost), there are less expensive ways to get hitched: burgers and flatbreads range around $15-$16 and there are salads and soups, too.
The place is welcoming to the beach and boardwalk crowd for lunch and dinner, the bar is bustling and inviting, and there are private tables in the rear of the restaurant for a lovely dining experience whenever you go.
And I cannot say enough about the friendly staff, attentive service, and servers well-acquainted with the menu so they are equipped to offer suggestions. Bravo to both the kitchen and front of house.
I’m practicing up on my old sailors’ knot-tying skills, and plan to hitch myself to another table at The Blackwall Hitch very, very soon.