The Seafood Diet: You See Food; You Eat It.
Well, that old joke’s been around for years. But here in Sussex County, an actual seafood diet would be glorious. There’s so much to choose from. And whether it’s tourists seeking the perfect vacation meal, or locals chowing down on crabs, oysters, or haddock, there’s something here for everyone.
In fact, the bounty is so vast, it’s just not possible to note all the amazing restaurants and choices on our various seafood menus. But Letters sure can mention some favorite dishes for this official foodie issue.
Hard-Shell Crabs: If I had a Hammer
Around here, there are so many places to get a dozen or a whole bushel and take out your frustrations with a wooden mallet. These days, our steamed crabs are coming from the Chesapeake Bay, down South, or catch-it-yourselfers in Rehoboth Bay or Indian River. You can hammer away in downtown Rehoboth at Claws, and the new Steamin’ Blues on Baltimore Avenue.
Hard shells are readily available on Route One at The Crab House, Crabby Dick’s, Beaches Seafood Restaurant, Surfin’ Crab, and Lazy Susan; and I bet there are more with hard-shell crabs on the menu. Beaches is my personal favorite. It used to be Jimmy Lynn’s take out for fresh-caught Chesapeake Bay crabs. Now, they get the same great crabs and have added a casual restaurant.
Blue crab pickin’ is a true-blue Delaware/Maryland thing, so be glad you’re on the Eastern Shore and have at it! Three cheers for Old Bay seasoning.
Steamed in the Pot
Superstars include Henlopen Oyster House’s Steamed Oysters in natural liquor with lemon and drawn butter, and awesome Middleneck Clams; Matt’s Fish Camp has steamed oysters galore. And I cannot say enough about Mason’s on Rehoboth Avenue. Get the New England Lobster Roll, which consists of gobs of lobster just dripping in butter. At Salt Air, find authentic PEI Mussels with Grilled Ciabatta.
Fried and Fresh
There’s the remarkable Crispy Jumbo Whole Black Sea Bass at Confucius, and the absolutely authentic British Fish and Chips at Go Fish; try the simple and delicious fried fish sandwich at the Purple Parrot along with their crunchy clam strips. Iguana Grill has tasty fried Grouper Fingers, and of course fish tacos, while Rigby’s boasts Fried Shrimp with Smoked Grit Cakes. And Aqua’s Crab Cake and Sweet Potato Fries are fab!
Broiled, Grilled, and Bountiful
Back Porch’s Seared Dayboat Scallops with Thai Red Curry are legendary, as are the Dos Locos Scallop Fajitas. The Pines has a stunning Seared Tuna with grilled watermelon; and bravo for Herb Grilled Maryland Rockfish at Henlopen Oyster House. For tapas, there’s the Spanish Grilled Shrimp at Café Azafran.
Singular and Stupendous
Blue Moon’s Maryland Crab Fondue, with crab, brie, Old Bay, Roasted Garlic on Sourdough toast is a classic; Chesapeake Fisherman’s Stew at Palate rocks, while Just in Thyme has Cajun Shrimp Remoulade with Fried Green Tomatoes. Have you sampled the Calamari Fritti with Marinara at Lupo? Ahhhh… And if clam chowder calls, Matt’s Fish Camp has it, with plenty of sherry.
Let’s face it, I could go on for days. Our Rehoboth/Lewes/Milton seafood is what our visitors crave and our locals adore. But I cannot close without giving a nod to Lori’s in the courtyard for her Smoked Salmon Plate (my lox and bagel soul food) and her Whitefish Salad Platter. Now that’s a breakfast.
I wish I had room to mention so many more wonderful dishes at our famous restaurants. But alas, I can only suggest that you seafood and eat it. Sussex country is one great catch. ▼