Overall Food Service Noise Bathrooms Value

Eden

/ Updated on May 23, 2014
Overall
Food
Service
Noise
Bathrooms
Value

Eden describes itself as Rehoboth Beach’s purveyor of “bold American food.” Indeed, from the unique combinations of ingredients to the attractive presentations, from the comfortable atmosphere and the award-winning wine list…to the prices, “bold” does, in fact, describe it pretty well. Unabashedly fine dining, Eden has to constantly raise the bar–even on itself–to maintain the reputation and recognition it has earned over the years.

It seems that I’m writing this in every article nowadays, but there is a very good chance none of the items described below will be on the menu if you visit Eden. Local restaurants love to change their menus on a moment’s notice, often to take advantage of whatever is the freshest thing out there flying, growing or swimming. Or sometimes it’s just because they are bored and want a change. So use the descriptions as a guide only.

On our most recent visit, our two dining cohorts ordered the prix fixe special consisting of Tuna Tartare (with blood orange marmalade and black garlic pesto) and Eden’s “signature” Grilled Caesar Salad. The salad requires a bit of explanation: It actually consists of a large stalk of Romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise in half, and, yes, actually grilled on the cut side until it is a golden roasted brown, but still crunchy. It is accompanied by a tapenade of sun-dried tomatoes and olives, shaved Parmesan cheese and a garlicky caesar dressing. It’s quite an event, impressive to look at and impressive to eat. For their main course they chose the Beef Chateaubriand (for 2), served with grilled asparagus, potatoes braised in a reduction of red wine and bacon. The almost fork-tender beef tenderloin was presented sliced, along with two sauces for slathering: a Bearnaise sauce (typically a reduction of clarified butter, egg yolk, terragon, chervil, peppercorns and red wine vinegar) and a dark Sauce Diane (traditionally prepared from the garlic/pepper-infused pan drippings of the cooked beef combined with butter, shallots, cream, beef stock and Worcestershire sauce). As much as I badgered the two of them for negative comments–anything!–I was met with stony silence…and smiles. I guess they liked it.

My dining companion for the evening started with the Maine Lobster/Local Crab Tower, a stratified, cylindrical structure (also known as a “timbale”) consisting of mango salsa, lobster, crab, and (supposedly) topped with avocado puree (the puree was missing!). I’ll always remember an on-air comment from Emeril Lagasse saying that the higher you stack the food on the plate, the more you can charge for it. In Eden’s defense, I will say that the large quantity of pricey crabmeat and lobster on the plate (despite the mysteriously absent avocado) justified the $16 tariff. I’m still nursing the fork wound I sustained while trying to sneak a third bite. Oh well, no pain, no gain.

On our side of the table, the entrees consisted of Eden’s perennial Mac & Cheese with Garganelli pasta, coated in flavorful chevre (goat cheese) and parmesan, and mingled with grilled chicken, spinach and roasted peppers. Y’know, it’s hard to tell sometimes whether you want more of something because they didn’t serve you enough, or because it was so tasty. Either way, a little more would have been nice. Heck…it wasn’t even tall!

My entree was another Eden “signature” dish, the Wood Oven Roasted Organic Chicken Breast. nestled in a little forest of parsnips, leeks and carrots, and drizzled in a light lemon thyme sauce. My friend Cathy from around-the-corner loves this dish and gets it every time. I can see (and taste) why. The skin was dark and almost crispy, and the meat was carved in nice, symmetrical little chunks. It was juicy and perfectly done. Chef Cy Keefer has stayed true to a basically simple dish that has, over the years, helped make Eden what it is today.

The creative talents of Eden’s long-time pastry chef were evident in the Key Lime pie (complete with a darkly carameled molten sugar filigree standing tall–it was fun cracking it into pieces). The pie filling was almost white (like true Key Lime pie) and the sunflower seeds mixed with the Graham Cracker crust made for a happy mouth-feel. Glassy-eyed and dazed from the Chateaubriand (or could it have been the two bottles of Luca Malbec?), our friends dug into the prix fixe dessert of Dark Chocolate Fondue complete with various and sundry dipping goodies.

I said it before and here it is again: As is the case with many of the restaurants here at the beach, Eden’s menu tends to change with the seasons and the availability of local ingredients. So use the comments above as a guide. Who knows what you might encounter when you peruse their latest menu. Chef Andrew Feeley rules the kitchen at Eden and takes great pride in his seasonal offerings.

I’ve heard differing opinions about Eden (including those of a Guest Foodie reviewer whose comments preceded my own and which now appear below). You should prepare yourself for an experience. The dining room is muted and dim, with little sparkles everywhere. The service is attentive and friendly, though there are often surprises as last-minute substitutions sometimes appear without warning. The booths are semi-private and it’s fun to watch the activity in the semi-open kitchen. In other words, this is not a place you dash into if you’re in a hurry to get to the movies.

Eden is at 23 Baltimore Avenue, on the north side of ocean block, directly across from Mixx and next door to owners Jeff McCracken and Mark Hunker’s other installation, JAM Bistro. They do take reservations (302) 227-3330. Click here to see Eden’s sample menu. (L. (in season), D., Bar). Price range: Expensive +.

(Click here to reserve a table through OpenTable.com.)

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)

23 Baltimore Ave.
(302) 227-3330

OPEN TABLE logo copycrenh for specials
Sunday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
Monday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
Tuesday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
Wednesday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
Thursday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
Friday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
Saturday
Open at 5:30 for dinner.
Happy hour til 7
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. Michael D. says:

    We dined at Eden last Wednesday and loved it. It is by far the most elegant dining room from the Ocean City Inlet to Lewes Bay. The service was friendly and attentive, the food was wonderful especially the signature grilled ceaser salad. The thing that stands out is the descriptions on the wine list that describe the taste to expect. The description of the wine we chose matched the taste of the wine itself. The wine descriptions are reason enought to return many times.

  2. Jim Doane says:

    I celebrated my 70th birthday at Eden with friends. Danielle handled all the arrangements and it was fabulous. I highly recommend it.

  3. merrijane pierce says:

    I guess it’s a good place to eat if you have a lot of money and aren’t hungry. I don’t have a huge appetite but at those prices it does seem as if they could have included a bit more food. My entry purported to come with brussel sprouts but all if found were a few leaves sprinkled over the top. I also found the whole experience a bit pretentious. We won’t go back.

  4. David says:

    Eden is the best restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, and I’d say I’ve been to them all. The food is consistently good, even in the winter, and the service is almost uniformly gracious and good. Of course, like every beach restaurant, high turnover sometimes leaves a gap. But Danielle Panarello, the GM and pastry chef, normally fills any gap (and her deserts are terrific!!).

    As a restaurant owner myself, I suspect that a comment on this page is from a disgruntled ex-employee, as I’ve never heard friends talk about nor seen of such rudeness at Eden. But, who knows? It’s a great place to go for dinner.

  5. CindyQ says:

    Went to Eden tonight & had only heard fabulous reviews. I loved the ambience. It was quiet & you could have a conversation. My husband & I ordered the mixed grill. The scallops were delicious & cooked perfectly. But the strip steak was the worst I’ve ever had. I never send food back but I felt that a restaurant of this quality would want to know how awful it was. The waitress came back to me & said the chef said there was nothing wrong with it. Was he blind? She offered to bring me something else. I ordered the filet & it was perfect. But by the time they brought it, my friends had finished eating. There was no apology. Just a “scorn” for me that I had dared send back a piece of horsehide. Even though they could clearly see that my husband left 3/4 of his steak on the plate because he couldn’t cut it, there was no apology. I would expect more from a “fine dining” restaurant. To spend $340 for 4 people..I will never go there again.

  6. Ken says:

    Can someone tell me, is Eden one of those theme restaurants where you go to dine and pay to get attitude? 10 of us had dinner at Eden summer of 2011 and the waiter’s bad attitude was beyond acceptable & food was not good. I got the roast pork special which turned out to be a big piece of fat. The waiter never came back to ask if we were happy with our meal and when all were finished, he said, “you want that wrapped up to go?” I said, “don’t waste the aluminum foil.” When I tried contacting the owners via their web page, to share my experience, no one even cared to respond. If you like attitude from wait staff & poor quality food, then Eden is the place for you.

  7. betty ewing says:

    we had john, short male, as the waiter who “happened” to be orienting a young female. however, his conversation with “her” used the words backstabber and freeloader. not at all appropriate anywhere except in a verbal fight. he alsogave a M&C diner a steak knife. now he gets into sick. we will be alerting the owner to all this eventually.

  8. Smokin Jack says:

    Probably one of the best meals I’ve had in 20 years in Reho. Wedge salad, veal chop with cassoulet. Outstanding! My lovely wife had the grilled Caesar, pork tenderloin. Superb! Atmosphere and service excellent! Will take NYC guests there and will be proud to do so.

  9. David Nelson says:

    We dined there Valentine’s Day and, even though the restaurant was very busy, everything was perfect. We had one of the specials that evening, the chateaubriand, and it was absolutely the best I have ever eaten. If you are withing 30 miles of Rehoboth Beach, you must not pass up this fabulous restaurant!

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