Nage in Rehoboth Beach hasn’t been getting as much ink lately. The establishment, tucked away in a strip center off Route 1, has been known to make a splash from time to time. It may be best known for having one of the best burgers in the nation with its rib-eye creation. Food Network Magazine gave Nage the honor a couple of years back.
But when it comes to the beach, restaurants come and go and the reliable establishments end up being overlooked by upstaters and food critics. That’s OK because it is the locals who keep Nage in operation, They continue to show up, a few reportedly a few times a week.
With that said, Nage does deserve more credit for being a unique establishment that eschews a fancy decor and instead focuses on interesting food that’s an excellent value. That sometimes upsets diners who can’t get past the fact that the restaurant shares a strip center with a vacuum cleaner store. There is also a Nage in Washington, D.C., that has generated its share of buzz, but also gets barbs from diners who don’t like the fact that it is housed in a hotel.
This was the third time we have visited the Rehoboth Beach Nage, the first for dinner. It has never disappointed. The service was friendly and professional and the food was very close to memorable.
We stayed traditional, with one trip to the edge. First of all, the oyster stew is worth a trip from northern Delaware, perhaps even Philadelphia. The waiter called it traditional, but it shared nothing with the offerings I had when growing up. It was rich and flavorful. Even the generous amount of potato was a perfect complement to the oysters and the creamy soup. While the cup was small, the flavor was big
Like many bistro spots, Nage features steak frites at $22. This offering is often pedestrian fare, but in the hands of Nage, the beef was tender and the thinly sliced fries that were a bit cold were perfect.
Then came a complicated tasting dish that among other things featured a quail egg, pork belly (I think ), small pancakes, roe and a complex sticky sauce. The plate was small, but a bargain at around $13. The variety of sweet, savory and other flavors lingered. Sadly, this was a special, but if I find it is on the regular menu, a special trip would be in order. It’s further evidence of Nage being a Delaware treasure that takes chances with its food, but is fine with patrons settling for more basic fare.
In the process you get gracious service and long after some other establishments have been forgotten, the memory of the meal will bring you back.
A final note. We opted for a selection of cookies and candy for dessert. It was a treat, particularly when the offerings were dipped in the small chocolate dish in the middle. It was a low-key, professional touch in keeping with the things that have kept Nage going long after the splashier places have faded from view. -Doug