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Bon Appétit

/ Updated on September 14, 2017
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After ten years of writing, kvetching, opining, chattering about and photographing what and where we eat here at the beach, few things surprise me. But from time to time there is an exception, and last weekend the exception was Bon Appétit restaurant in … wait for it … Seaford, De. Nothing against the quaint burg of Seaford, of course, but it’s simply not a place where 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 met on the job at a restaurant in New York. Chino started as a dishwasher and Karen was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The couple purchased Bon Appétit in 1991, and 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 our professional, but very funny server Maggie delivered carved butter flowers to the table. And it just got better from there. On that night, Bon Appétit was featuring five courses for only $45. No, these aren’t “tasting” portions or a few selected low-cost items: The very reasonable prix fixe includes the specials du jour along with pretty much everything on the menu. Quite a bargain considering that the typical per-person ticket in a big-city French restaurant can easily exceed $100 – with portions half the size we enjoyed in Seaford.

We started with artichoke crostini (a choice engraved in stone after we perused the online menu). Artichoke hearts are perched on toasted French bread and enrobed in warm Parmesan cheese sauce. There are no words (I know – for me that’s a welcome rarity). Poached mussels in white wine with shallots, garlic and cream followed. Bracingly spicy with a gentle creaminess. Another silent moment on my part. I will remind you that Chino loves sourcing local ingredients, so the menu will certainly change with the seasons. So use this only as a guide!

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 an impossibly flaky puff pastry. After the salad course was devoured (a word to the wise: Don’t eat anything before you visit Bon Appétit!), our entrees included 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.

Considering that the Pedemontes have been operating Bon Appétit for over 25 years, they must be doing something right. And it’s no mystery what that something is: tireless dedication, skill, patience and an uncanny focus on customer service. And it keeps guests coming back year after year. It goes without saying that reservations are a must. (Of course I had to say it anyway.) By the way, ALWAYS call for reservations!

Check out their hours and dinner menus HERE, then call 302-629-3700. It’s well worth the drive.

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

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  1. Elaine Kennedy says:

    Had the most wonderful experience of dining at “Bob Appetit” last night for our anniversary. The menu items were so diverse; it was very difficult to decide exactly which selections to make. Generally, I can narrow my choices to two items before deciding. Here I had five items I really wanted to try. So, we each decided on their wonderful $45@ fixed menu; which provided the opportunity to try one selection from each category: appetizer, soup, salad, entree (2 vegetables included), coffee, and dessert! The presentation was lovely and service was superb. Luncheons will not be served after Thanksgiving; so we will definitely need to return before then. It was easy to see why it has a 5* rating.

  2. Gladys Ward says:

    Our second visit did not disappoint. The optional 5-course dinner is a fun way to sample dishes one might not ordinarily think of ordering. I mean a choice of cold blueberry or hot carrot ginger soup in summer was a tough but pleasant decision. Lots of salad dressing choices, too. The entrees were well-prepared as were the desserts. The cozy French-inspired interior is just lovely and the service impeccable.

  3. Peter Issel Jr says:

    Karen and Chino are awesome.

  4. Doug Parham says:

    Many visits with a variety of friends- U of D, Neighbors and golf buddies. Everyone, yes everyone is blown away by the food, service, ambiance and the desert menu. My wife and I split the 5 course fixed price special. By the time we are finished we can only share one of the fabulous deserts from a long list of exquisite choices. If you like chocolate- this is for you- YYUUMMHH! Reservations are recommended.

  5. Pat Weekley says:

    Love Bon Appetite my late husband and I dined there often it was always great food and atmosphere.

  6. Pamela Tsimon says:

    We’ve been several times and absolutely love the place. Each time was better than the last! As mentioned the front of the house adds all the little extras to make your special occasion “special”. I mention this because for my 60th birthday they (re)arranged the dining room to accommodate our large party and even added confetti to the tables to add to the festivities! Don’t hesitate to make the drive, it will soon become a favorite.

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