The Rehoboth Foodie says this Seaford mainstay is a hidden gem
One of the sections in the Rehoboth In My Pocket travel app (available for iPhone, iPad and Android, by the way) is titled Hidden Gems. And one of those gems is none other than Bon Appétit restaurant, cleverly hidden in downtown Seaford. Few things surprise me after 10 years of doing what I do, but my visit to Bon Appétit was quite a surprise. After all, the delightfully quaint burg of Seaford isn’t the first place one would immediately expect to find such a well-run fine-dining French eatery. From the moment we arrived to the moment co-owner Karen Pedemonte handed us our coats, everything was perfectly executed.
Karen and her husband, Chino, met on the job at a restaurant in New York. They purchased Bon Appétit in 1991, and their tireless dedication, skill, patience and an uncanny focus on customer service has made this comfortable spot one of the go-to eateries in Sussex and Worcester Counties alike. Though the theme is decidedly French, Chef Chino blends German, Incan, Chinese, Japanese and Swiss influences into his cuisine. He works only with the assistance of his sous chef, and if he isn’t able to work, the restaurant closes down. A guarantee of consistency if there ever was one.
Karen’s bailiwick is front of house, and she’s all about the details. From the fresh flowers to the crisp napkins to keeping water glasses and bread baskets filled, she works seamlessly alongside her seasoned waitstaff. And wait ‘til you see the vintage French prints and pin-ups that gently decorate this understated bistro.
I knew things were going to be interesting when carved butter flowers arrived at the table. And it just got better from there. Bon Appétit features a prix fixe deal of five courses for only $45. These aren’t “tasting” portions or a few selected low-cost items: The package deal includes the specials du jour along with pretty much every full-portion item on the menu. Quite a bargain!
We started with artichoke crostini: Artichoke hearts, perched on toasted French bread and enrobed in warm Parmesan cheese sauce. At the risk of gushing, they were simply amazing. Ditto for the poached mussels in white wine with shallots, garlic and cream followed. Bracingly spicy with a gentle creaminess. I will not gush. I will not gush. I will not...
The chicken empanadas appetizer reminded us that it’s not all francophilic there at 312 High Street in Seaford. But rather than the traditional fried version, Bon Appétit’s are encased in a light and flaky puff pastry. We thought we were finished — until the entrées arrived: a perfectly grilled-to-temperature Black Angus New York strip slathered with roasted garlic butter; veal scaloppini sautéed in lemon butter laced with capers, and crispy, slow-roasted duckling topped with warm cherries. All three were top notch and something I would expect in any big-city eatery.
The Pedemontes have been operating Bon Appétit for over 25 years, and it’s no mystery that what they’re doing keeps guests coming back year after year. Needless to say, reservations are a must. It’s well worth the drive.
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