The challenge came down from the staff at #VisitWilm: How many Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week menus could I sample in one night?
I want to start here: This is not a recommended way to enjoy restaurant week. These $35 three-course dinners are a great value at any of these participating restaurants, and the menus they’re offering are uniformly great. Make a reservation, order some wine and enjoy someone’s company. Don’t drive around like a maniac stuffing your face. Leave that to the professionals who can’t say no to stupid office dares.
That said, this is what I sampled along a route that took me from Harry’s Seafood Grill to La Fia to Domaine Hudson to Piccolina Toscana to Buckley’s Tavern … with real-time updates on Instagram as I went.
Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week runs through Saturday, Sept. 16 – but all of these are good examples of what these restaurants run on a daily basis, so even if you miss the deal, you won’t miss our on dinner.
Stop 1: Harry's Seafood
Stop #1: Entree @harrysseafood. That's the chili-spiced shrimp tempura with kim chee steamed bun & mizuna-shiso noodle salad. It looks hot but the spice is not over the top, and those steamed buns are a gentle companion to the crispy shrimp. Noodles made it a filling dish, and it would have been nice with a dry Reisling. But I have to pace. On to the next! #visitwilm #wilmingtonde #delaware #foodie #foodtravel #onedown
Stop 2: Domaine Hudson
Stop 2: This app on the @domainehudson restaurant week menu is a raw squash salad with fried almonds, peperonata, tomato miso vinaigrette and Parmesan. Chef Dwain Kalup applies his genius for mixing food textures by shaving the squash at different thicknesses, preserving a satisfyingly crisp crunch. My friend Kip at the bar called it "gazpacho in sold form." No disagreement here. A glass of Hungarian wine, "The Oddity," made a fine match. #visitwilm #wilmingtonde #delaware #foodie #foodtravel #twodown
Stop 3: La Fia Bistro
Stop 3: At @lafiabistro for this glorious pan-roasted Moulard duck breast with smoked duck confit, scallion pancakes and baby bok choy. Not sure the pic gives credit to a beautifully cooked duck, and all the Asian flavors evoke happy taste memories while making you angry that no other scallion pancakes taste this good. Couldn't resist the Blood & Sand cocktail with Scotch, Luxardo and blood orange purée (not pictured -- didn't last until the food came out). #visitwilm #wilmingtonde #delaware #foodie #foodtravel #shouldhavenoteatenasmuchofthisasidid
Stop 4: Piccolina Toscana
Stop 4: This lobster risotto @piccolinatoscana gets its flavor from a slow simmer in lobster broth, but those grains of rice are camouflaging some generous chunks of tail and claw meat in there as well. The frizzled onions are clever on top, adding an earthy, salty crunch. Yum. (Confidential to Stephen behind the bar at @domainehudson: Mary at the bar here says hello and that you are her sensai.) #visitwilm #wilmingtonde #delaware #foodie #foodtravel #notdoneyet #passingnotesbetweenbartenders
Stop 5: Buckley's Tavern
Stop 5: Thank goodness the good folks at Buckley's Tavern knew I was coming to the end of this run and served up something sweet, this chocoholic dream ... chocolate crust tart, milk chocolate mousse, Chantilly cream and some mixed berry sauce, all made in house. My friend Chuck knew a wine to pair ... this vintage Banyuls, a grenache-based dessert wine. No better place to be on a cool late-summer night than the rooftop bar at Buckleys. And with that, I wish you all a good night and happy Restaurant Weeking. #visitwilm #wilmingtonde #delaware #foodie #foodtravel #fiverestaurantsfourhours #donttrythisathome #imaprofessional