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Abbott’s Grill

/ Updated on June 4, 2015
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Abbott’s Grill (and the new Abbott’s on Broad Creek in Laurel, DE) are Kevin Reading’s most recent restaurant ventures, having created and then moved on from Espuma and Nage in Rehoboth. Chef Reading enjoys creating a concept and bringing it into reality. The Milford Abbott’s replaces the old Smith & Company steakhouse in a shopping center on Front Street offering a couple of storefront eateries, various state/county services — and a great internationally flavored grocery store, Gigante. After visiting Abbott’s Grill several times, I have to admit that I was pleased with the consistent quality of the food and the service. In fact, during our second visit, Kevin himself was bussing tables, seating customers and running food, apparently filling in for a missing hostess. Welcome to the world of the restaurant owner! We were impressed.

That being said, we’ve become regulars at Abbott’s, and it’s still all about the food, especially after driving 15-20 minutes north to Milford. Do note that menus around here change on a dime, so some of the following items might or might not be available. But the old standbys usually end up back on the menu.

One of the stars of the appetizer show is the Apple-Scrapple Flatbread. (FYI, “flatbread” is fru-fru code for “teeny little thin-crust pizza.”) If you’re a fan of scrapple, then this is the dish for you. Bite-size chunks are cooked very well done (a must with scrapple) and share the top of the rectangular crust with cubes of sweet apple, squash and caramelized onion. A creamy cheddar blankets it all. It’s cut into four little slices, so you have four opportunities to say, “Stay away from this or I’ll stab you with my fork.”

We also ordered the Pear & Arugula Salad with walnuts, plump, dark currants and chewy brie croutons. A sherry vinaigrette tops it off, and is mild enough to allow the taste of the ingredients to shine through. One of my newest Foodettes ordered the Onion/Fennel Soup, and I quote: “Everything is amazingly balanced. No one taste hammers away at you.” Top it off with a plump pillow of creamy white cheddar.

On our last visit, I had the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Grits and Chipotle Butter. At the risk of stirring up the Chronic Complainers (you know who you are), it was delicious. So often shrimp can get overcooked and rubbery when you’re trying to crisp-up the bacon, but this was not the case here. A salty bite of  bacon encloses three nice-sized shrimp, and the whole thing is nestled on a bed of smooth, not-too-buttery grits with a warm, chipotle edge. There’s only one place in Rehoboth that might have better Shrimp & Grits, but it could very well be a tie. I’ll get back to you on that.

Other sides and appetizers included the Warm Vegetable Salad sprinkled with goat cheese (it even had a cute little corn cob in there) and the Oyster Caesar Salad. I judge a place by how crispy and light their fried oysters are (frying fresh oysters is an art), and these were good, though the crust might have suffered a bit from sitting in the dressing (Kev … maybe put the oysters on top, where they can’t absorb the liquid?). The Caesar dressing politely refrained from masking the taste of the Tasso, chunks of avocado, fried capers and crispy croutons redolent of Tabasco. Last but not least, we had the Baked Potato Soup. I always associate this sort of dish with drywall paste, but Abbott’s is properly light (had to be the sour cream), with the potato flavor kicked up by crispy bits of bacon.

It’s hard to believe that after all these appetizers one still has room for dinner. But that’s what being a Foodie is all about (it’s a major part of the State Licensing Exam). I had the Lobster Pot Pie. The puff-pastry crust was perfectly crispy and golden brown, however I would have liked to have seen more lobster. For the $22 tariff there should have been more than the 3 or so pieces in there. I would also have liked it if they backed off just a bit on the tarragon. Though overly pungent with the spice, the creamy filling had a great, non-grainy texture and was filled with cubes of root veggies and peas. One of the stars of the entree show is certainly the Lobster Mac & Cheese. Interestingly, they were not at all stingy with the lobster in this dish! Delightfully al dente orecchiette pasta gently cups one of the creamiest, non-floury cheese sauces I have ever had. Peas and mushrooms add color and freshness. In the words of my new Foodie friend, the flavors were perfectly balanced, with no single taste standing out.

I will repeat that the menu at Abbott’s changes regularly. So don’t form your opinions only from this article. It’s unfair to the restaurant and to you. Check it out for yourself.

On a more recent visit, I had the Bronco Steak Sandwich slathered with Goat Cheese Boursin, mushrooms, garlic mayo and crunchy onions (I suspect the onions might be the ones from the can, but they are classic and I like them, so never mind). It’s all piled on a ciabatta roll that has been pressed (or grilled) panini style. The combination of tastes was good, and the beef tenderloin was lean and cooked perfectly medium. The fries were tasty, if not a bit flaccid, even for steak fries.

The chicken and dumplings bear some mention. The menu warns that these are “Not yo’ mamma’s” (or something like that) and they are right. A golden brown chicken quarter perches atop a bed of cherry tomatoes, peas, small, stemmed whole carrots (a cultivar variant of the regular carrot) and pearl onions. The dumplings are actually herbed gnocchi. The whole thing is slightly submerged in a dark and savory sauce, actually more of a gravy. It was quite delicious and disappeared from the plate in record time.

On our last visit one of our party had the Blueberry Lemonade, a mixture of blueberry vodka and house-made lemonade. Little berries float about and she loved it. I can never get past the 60-Minute IPA on tap.

My first official lunch at Abbott’s included their BBQ Beef Brisket sandwich with a side salad. Melted cheese and a dark, savory sauce worked perfectly with a fresh soft roll. One of the things I especially like about Abbott’s Grill is that the entire menu is available at the bar.

In the past year I have attended (and judged) a Dogfish Head chefs’ throwdown, a Thanksgiving buffet, several afternoon lunches, a cooking class by opening chef Ryan Cunningham (now kitchen boss at Abbott’s on Broad Creek in Laurel) and a number of dinners at Abbott’s Grill. Every experience has been consistent, and virtually everything has been quite good. Most recent chef Paul Gallo has moved on to take over the head chef position at Nage, left vacant by Ted Deptula’s early 2014 move to Lewes Yacht Club. But Kevin’s increased involvement in the kitchen ensures that Abbott’s is still worth the 20 minute ride to Milford.

On our last visit, we plopped ourselves in the bar and had the pleasure of being served by Nancy Saxon. In addition to her great demeanor and wicked sense of humor she also holds the distinction of being the aunt of the uber-creative Hari Cameron, chef/owner of the wildly popular a(MUSE.) restaurant in Rehoboth Beach.

Abbott’s Grill features a Sunday brunch, a special pub menu, various events and entertainment, a fun-looking outside deck with a huge fireplace, and lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 every day but Sunday. Life is all about change, so be sure to call 302-491-6736 to find out what’s going on.

If you are cruising the southern hinterlands, check out the new (as of winter 2013) Laurel, DE incarnation of Abbott’s Grill. It’s at 300 Delaware Ave. where Georgia House used to be, overlooking Broad Creek.

Driving north, I suggest passing the first Milford exit and turning left onto De Rt. 14 just before the big Grotto Pizza. After you cross the light, look for the shopping center on your right. Abbott’s is toward the right in the corner. Call for hours, specials or whatever, call (302) 491-6736. Click here to see their dinner menu. (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

249 NE Front St.
in Milford
(302) 491-6736

 

Sunday
Dinner 3-10
Sunday Brunch Buffet (11am-2:30pm) -$18.95 Adults & $9.95 for Children under 10. Features crab crepes, made-to-order omelettes, red velvet pancakes, raw bar, carving station, traditional favorites & more.

$25.00 Three Course Crab Cake & Prime Rib Night from 3 pm to close.
Monday
Dinner 3-10
Light Fare Early Dinner Menu 4 pm - 5:30 pm
Monday $6.00 Burger Night
Tuesday
Open 11-close
Light Fare Early Dinner Menu 4 pm - 5:30 pm
HAPPY HOUR: 4-7 pm Daily in the pub.
Tuesday Let's do Trivia 7pm - 9 pm and Healthy Tuesday's Mispillion Fitness Membership Appreciation Day (10% off with valid key tag)
Wednesday
Open 11-close
Light Fare Early Dinner Menu 4 pm - 5:30 pm
HAPPY HOUR: 4-7 pm Daily in the pub.
Wednesday 1/2 price wine night
Thursday
Open 11-close
Light Fare Early Dinner Menu 4 pm - 5:30 pm
HAPPY HOUR: 4-7 pm Daily in the pub.
Thursday Italian Night featuring $12.95 spaghetti & meatball with side salad
Friday
Open 11-close
Light Fare Early Dinner Menu 4 pm - 5:30 pm
HAPPY HOUR: 4-7 pm Daily in the pub.
$1 Oysters
$8.95 1/2lb. Steamed Shrimp
$15.95 full lb. Steamed Shrimp
$1 off Rails, Drafts & House Wines
.50 Cents off Bottled Beers

Dinner @ 4:30
DJ starts at 10pm
Saturday
Open 11-close
Dinner @4:30
Live Entertainment
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Gail Whiteside says:

    Back for our second visit to Abbott’s Grill w/in the year, comparing winter to fall offerings. Barb was our server and shared her insight/thoughts about specific menu items we were considering. The fried pierogis with onion marmalade were killer apps, but made a meal w/a house salad that was crisp, light, and treated w/a deliciously awesome white balsamic vinegar based dressing. My hubby had sushi grade salmon cooked to his liking. We’ll be moving into the Lewes area permanently next year, and w/b back for lunches, dinners, and to try some of their calendar events. Do not miss!!!

  2. Ellen says:

    We couldn’t wait to dine here. The first impression was very good hostess and server very friendly. Menu looked exciting. My husband lamb cooked perfectly and spinach very good. The baked potato was very good but very high in fat. My salad was another story the chicken was so dry I couldn’t cut it and if there was dressing on the salad it was very bitter. Received another chicken breast cooked perfectly,and the second dressing was good but no spoon to serve so my salad was drenched. Would I pay $70.00 for another meal NO.

  3. Linda Lorber says:

    Went there for Monday burger night – fabulous service and great burgers…we ate on the patio with our dogs and had a great time. I love this place and all that they do to support the local community. I have had great food from them at many events too. You just have to go!!!

  4. Billie Gibson says:

    Fortunately we finally got over to Abbott’s on Saturday, my birthday. I’m an organic grower here in DE, born and reared in Chicago. I will tell you this is one of 3 great food experiences I’ve had in DE. Panzanella salad was excellent and so fresh with shaved ricotta and great radishes. I chose the crispy chicken livers, done to perfection, quite crispy with a beet catsup that was of perfect consistency and compliment to the chicken livers. Jeff had the catfish and greens…..naturally I tasted….we both raved about the greens and the catfish melted in your mouth. Kirin Ichiban perfect compliment. But…..the key lime pie with mango confit…makes you close your eyes while eating…that’s an outrageous compliment. I could eat that at every meal. We sat in the pub and the service was excellent. You do not have to go all the way to beach. This is excellence right here in our own backyard. GET OVER THERE PEOPLE!

  5. James says:

    Abbott’s Grill is the best place for entertainment and food in Milford, in an upscale manner. Both words collide, upscale + casual. Specials all through out the week with live music on Friday + Saturday. Service is excellent, great variety of Alcohol, especially the beer (I’m a beer advocate).

    The atmosphere is friendly, and though it can get busy, no immaturity that you’ll find at the other local bars (Park Place, Miss Qs).

    The only dislike I can say is they got rid of my 2 favorite dishes, the Not Your Average Mac N Cheese (It was a 5 cheese pasta) and the Pulled Pork BBO.

    So if you are hungry and are in the Milford area, stop by Abbotts. Gather at the Grill

  6. Catherine says:

    We went to Abbott’s Grill in Milford for my birthday lunch (I had been dying to try it)and I must say they have a lovely place up there in Milford. My daughter told them it was my birthday and they came over and sang for
    me (cute)!
    The place is tucked away in a little strip mall, but it will surprise you when you step inside.
    The service and the food were great my daughter had one of their specials Tuna and she said it was delicious.
    I had their Beef sandwich which was also very good & the desserts were delicious. I can’t wait to go back.

  7. Deb Griffin says:

    Unfortunately the second visit was somewhat disappointing. I ordered the onion fennel soup again but this time they had burned the onions so it was bitter. The entire table got the blueberry lemonade vodka drink because I raved about it but tonight it tasted like it had been made with Country time artificially sweetened lemonade and was quite nasty. My friend ordered the mac and cheese – they accidentally brought a side portion size, then took it back and rushed back a dinner portion and half of the pasta was undercooked, but the cheese sauce was still very good. Tried the grilled vegetable panini for the first time and found it uneven. The side of the bread spread with goat cheese was amazing, the side spread with pesto was soggy. Bites of mushroom and squash were cooked to perfection, other bites of some vegetables were barely cooked and almost crunchy. We sat in the bar and ate before 6 pm, so everything was considered happy hour food and 25% off the regular price.

  8. Denise Demback says:

    We love Abbott’s Grill and stop there every time we drive up to Dover or Milford for an oil change to our Toyotas. We normally have the lunch special, soup and sandwich. The soups are always outstanding. We also tried the Apple Scrapple flatbread and loved it! Our family from Baltimore always wants to vist Abbotts when they are visiting us. Definitely worth the drive up to Milford!

  9. Deb Griffin says:

    I could not agree with you more! I think this is one of the best meals I’ve had in the five years I’ve lived here. Everything we ordered was perfectly balanced – you could taste each ingredient in the dish – simply awesome! Well worth the drive and will keep it in mind once the summer comes and all my favorite local haunts get crowded. Fun atmosphere (we sat in the bar) and excellent service. Five stars in my book!

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