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Fork + Flask @ Nage

/ Updated on September 1, 2016
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Original chef/owner Kevin Reading’s Coastal Highway brainchild Nage has more than earned a place in the annals of Rehoboth Beach dining. The former Sweet Dreams bakery-turned-eatery was the launching pad for many local chefs and restaurants, none the least of which a(MUSE.)’s three-time James Beard nominated Hari Cameron, and Chef Ted Deptula.

LaVida Hospitality Group is headed up by seasoned restaurateur and Cornell graduate Josh Grapski.   Lewes’ Crooked Hammock Brewery, the Big Chill Cantina and the Taco Reho Truck all reside under the LaVida umbrella, and Nage sports an all-star staff including uber-pastry chefs Dru Tevis and Lizzie Kornheiser, along with Executive Chef Sean Corea.

Grapski, Corea, Tevis, Kornheiser and the rest of the crew will be the first to tell you that Nage was waayyy overdue for a new look. The black walls and ceilings so popular in the ’90s were yearning for light. And the little banquet room with the cute fireplace that appeared when Nage moved into the old Afishionado fish market space proved to be a bad idea, as people stood 3-deep at the tiny bar adjacent to that room. It has now given way to a large 3-sided bar. Associated seating includes booths and attractive farm tables. The black walls and ceilings are gone too. A simple, uncluttered look now prevails, with attractively neutral wall decorations and even a bit of humor (look above the fireplace).

The success of next-door-neighbor Touch of Italy and newest neighbor Jimmy’s Grille also suggested a menu makeover and an adjustment of price point. Grapski spared no expense to brighten and tighten Nage, along with the addition of a broadened small-plate sensibility. The dining room sports a dessert bar, bright walls and brand new booths and banquettes. The curved walls that used to flank the kitchen are gone; replaced by an inviting chef’s table. Late nite fare, Sunday brunch small plates and a line of mocktails round out the newly reinvigorated eatery.

You probably noticed the new name. It’s all part of LaVida’s attempt to make Nage more approachable and help erase the old “fine-dining” stigma. We will add new menu items as we experience them!

Menus change regularly at Fork + Flask @ Nage, so use this article as a guideline. There is always something clever and unexpected. The new menu is divided into five sections. “Baked” (Lizzie Kornheiser’s specialty focaccia might appear at your table as a starter – if that happens, eat), “Cultivated” is presently 10 selections with small-plate prices. Standouts include four salads along with a burrata mac ‘n’ cheese, fried olives with pimentos and veggie pad Thai. You can construct an entire meal just out of this column alone.

“Caught” contains some old Nage favorites, including their oysters asiago and the crab cake. The list of 11 dishes also reflect small-plate pricing, with standouts including a lobster cobb salad and a very tasty Thai lobster roll (there is a pic of that in the gallery). We also enjoyed the crab croquettes (more of a crab ball – not as liquidy as a regulation croquette, but still quite good). Seafood lovers will enjoy the variety of fish and shellfish in this section.

“Raised” contains a list of nine dishes, several of which you will recognize from the old Nage menu. They kept that delicious onion soup, and the Nage burger (at a new, lower price) and the pork chops. Prices vary from $6 for the cute little bacon Tater Tots to $24 for their popular pork chops up to $36 for an extravaganza of beef tenderloin and braised short rib with a twice-baked potato. Carnivores rejoice!

The Sunday Brunch menu – now also on Saturdays! – shows a major shift toward tastes and small plates from $5 to $10. Standouts include their baked brie and a homage to fast-food lovers everywhere: a bacon, egg & cheese biscuit, a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit and a scrapple, egg and cheese biscuit. Clever! Take a look att he gallery: They taste as good as they look. Many of the beloved large plates remain on the menu for brunch, including the Belgian waffles, the eggs Benedict (of course) and the great selection of omelettes. Another visit to the Sunday – and Saturday – brunch – with my camera is forthcoming. Note the latest pic courtesy of the kitchen at Fork & Flask: Two of the several Benedict selections for Saturday and Sunday brunch.

Yet another recent change is that Fork & Flask @ Nage is now open ’til 1am every night! There is a lite fare menu after 10. See it here.

In spite of the remodeling angst and new menu items, Fork + Flask @ Nage is doing a great job. Shortly before the menu changed, we started with a delightful Baked Brie appetizer with little cubes of jellied guava. One of the highlights on a visit a while ago was the Pequillo Peppers stuffed with lobster. They are accompanied by a chickpea salad, orange conserv and are drizzled with a sherry vinaigrette. They are perfectly delicious, and I sincerely hope they are still on the menu when you go.

A loving reminder: The menu changes often! Use these photos and descriptions as guidelines only!

We couldn’t resist trying the Caprese Salad: Fresh mozzarella with basil and pesto. It was quite nice, in spite of the absence of tomatoes. It was obvious that the cheese was fresh, and the pesto was mild and delicious. Another slam-dunk is the Smoked Shortribs with a blackberry demi, a saute of wild mushrooms and roasted fingerlings. This is quite possibly one of the best tasting things I have had there. Blackberry demi! Who would’a thought? In soft shell season, the Virginia crustaceans might be lightly dredged and fried to a crunchy golden hue. They have been accompanied by braised greens, a mash of caramelized turnips drizzled with … wait for it … a country ham vinaigrette. I’ll now return you to the program already in progress.

One more starter you shouldn’t miss is the Baked Oysters Asiago (often on special during Saturday and Sunday brunch). This kicked-up take on clams casino is deliciously cheesy with spinach and mushrooms. They are pretty big, and sold individually. Get a few. You won’t be sorry.

Pears and Blue Cheese were meant to be together, so hope that Fork + Flask @ Nage’s Pear and Blue Cheese Melt is on the menu. Caramel onion jam (!) works wonders with the blue cheese, and a little arugula side salad adds a bitter crunchiness. Another sandwich not to be missed is the Turkey and Brie melt. Gently sweet ligonberry jam marries quite happily with the creaminess of the ripe brie, and a little arugula adds a fresh, leafy component. Yes, I still mourn the Knuckle Sandwich, but I go back to drown my sorrows in the new offerings.

I will gently remind you yet again that none, some or all of these things will be on the menu when you go. Chef Sean’s kitchen specializes in new and unusual specials. Use this as a guide. Put it in your looseleaf and then go.

I can’t leave the sandwich department without mentioning the Pork Belly BLT, slathered with chorizo aioli (! again) and their famous tomato jam. If you like bacon (who doesn’t?) you’ll love this one. I have to admit that the Mac & Cheese is waayyy too “truffley” for me. It’s all I can taste. I wish they would back it off a little and let the dairy side of the cheese show through. Same thing with the fries. Consider yourself lucky: I’m sparing you my truffle oil rant. In fact, I’m sick of hearing it myself. Short version: Chefs around here use WAYYY too much truffle oil, which, by the way, has nothing to do with actual truffles. So there.

On my first visit for brunch (again, before the menu change), I had the Pear & Blue Cheese Melt. What an amazing combination of tastes. At first glance, I was a little scared of the Caramelized Onion Jam, but it worked perfectly. Companions ordered the Eggs Chesapeake. Imagine Eggs Benedict built on crab cakes rather than Canadian bacon. The required asparagus and hollandaise crowned it all, as both little stacks proudly perched on English Muffin halves.

At brunch a while ago I ordered the Croque Madame. Far from being just a grilled cheese sandwich (as the name suggests), this vertiginous structure is the quintessential breakfast plate. About a half-pound of breakfast ham is paired with creamy cheese and firmly clamped within a soft, grilled brioche. No, it’s not done yet: The entire stack is covered in a velvety mornay sauce containing what tasted like the traditional gruyere and Parmesan. Nope…not done yet: It’s all crowned with a sunny-side-up fried egg. Don’t want to be bothered with eating for the next couple of days? Get this. It was delicious.

A side of bacon was properly cooked: Crispy and dark with no rubbery fat. I hate eating bacon that isn’t well done. It’s like eating earlobes. Sorry. It is.

Our companion ordered the Braised Bacon and Eggs. Two expertly fried sunnies peer back at you from atop grilled and crispy croutons and a cool, crisp frisee salad. On the side lurks a braised square of bacon (big enough to be called pork belly). Paprika mayo flavors the croutons. Our two companions ordered the Creme Brulee French Toast with Cranberry Syrup. I will quote one of them: “It looks so simple. Until you taste it. It’s delicious.” They both did comment that it was difficult to discern whatever cranberry might have been in the syrup.

We ordered a plate of Hickman’s Sausage Gravy served over Homemade Biscuits “for the table.” Decadent, savory, and loaded with chunks of lean sausage, this creamy gravy hitched a ride on the perfect vehicle for its trip to our mouths: Moist, yeasty biscuits with a buttery crunch on the outside. Of course, mimosas and bloodies were not in short supply. Click here to take a look at the latest Saturday/Sunday Brunch menu.

I left some of the old menu items in this article just for reference. Who knows when Chef Sean might revert back to some of the old standbys? By the way, Meatless Monday is still on the schedule. I’ve been a couple of times, and it almost made me want to start gnawing on the nearest maple. But those of the veggie/vegan persuasion can check out Deb Griffin’s vegetarian review of Meatless Monday at Nage right here on RehobothFoodie.com. It’s getting a little long in the tooth, and I am sure she will be updating it soon to reflect the new menu.

Fork + Flask @ Nage is located at 19730 Coastal Highway (Rt. 1), in the Shore Plaza with Outlet Liquors, Touch of Italy and Jimmy’s Kitchen, directly across from the Tanger Seaside Outlets. There’s tons of free parking. Give them a call to check on the hours. They do take reservations. 302-226-2037. (Brunch Sat. & Sun., D., Bar) Price Range: Moderate +.

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

See the current dinner menu.

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)

19730 Coastal Hwy.
(302) 226-2037

OPEN TABLE logo copycrenh for specials

Thanksgiving buffet reservations only!

Also carry out thanksgiving platters. Call for details!

Sunday
Sunday Brunch 10-2:30
Special brunch items!
Happy Hour 10-4
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Dinner@4
Monday
Happy Hour at the bar 4 - 7
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Meatless Monday! (Even carnivores like it)
Dinner@4
Tuesday
Happy Hour at the bar 4 - 7
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Dinner at 4
Industry Night! 4pm-1am: 50% off food for those in hospitality such as restaurants, bars, hotels, salons, and breweries with proof of a recent pay-stub or the like. The offer is good for said person and one guest.
Wednesday
Happy Hour at the bar 4 - 7
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Dinner at 4
Thursday
Happy Hour at the bar 4 - 7
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Dinner@4
Friday
Lunch 11:30 - 2:30
Happy Hour at the bar 4 - 7
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Dinner@4
Live Music in the Bungalow Bar 9 – midnight
Saturday
Brunch 10-2:30
Happy Hour at the bar 10 -4
$5 select red/white wine
$5 select Nage cocktails
$3 select beers
$2 Miller draft
Discounted bar bite menu
Dinner at 4
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. Marty Rendon says:

    Although the old Nage consistently got terrific reviews, I have to confess that I never really warmed up to it. But I gave the spot another look at Sip and Bite’s recommendation of Fork and Flask. I was pleased by the new menu and the friendlier price points on the offerings. The atmosphere is greatly improved and the drinks are creative and enjoyable. I definitely will be returning and look forward to exploring the menu!

  2. Marty Rendon says:

    Despite the great reviews and inventive cuisine, the original Nage never truly appealed to me. I know I was supposed to like it, but I couldn’t quite warm up to the place. But Sip and Bite encouraged me to take another look after the Fork + Flask transformation. I am glad I did! The atmosphere is much more inviting, the drinks are creative and original, every bite was savory, and the price point was more accessible than its predecessor. I definitely will be returning!

  3. Catherine says:

    We went to get a bite around 7:30 last Saturday (during the rain storm). The place was packed. Because we had no reservations, we hunted down the last 2 seats at the fabulous open bar. First of all, we LOVED the new look of the place. It’s open, eclectic, warm and inviting. We each ordered a cocktail. Mine was under the “flask” menu- a Cuzco that was filled to the brim, served with a flask that had another portion in it! We ordered the Nage burger and fries, wings, and tater tots. All delicious. Also love the new prices. Even though we were full, we decided to order the Sweet Bites assortment for dessert. Dru personally served us a huge platter of various brownies, cookies, and tarts. Delish! Had leftovers for breakfast the next morning. Jesse was a great bartender, took care of us even though they were slammed. F&F has become our new favorite bar. During the summer, we’ll stick with Crooked Hammock since we live and work East of Rte 1. Great job, Josh and team!

  4. Nancy Sakaduski says:

    This is one of my favorite local restaurants, with the best happy hour in the area. Consistently great food.

  5. Bob Biros says:

    Oh my, what a find. We went there for Sunday brunch and are now anxious to go for dinner. Plenty of parking. The food was above excellent. The bathrooms were clean and that tells a lot about a restaurant. The manager came by during the meal to check on us which again is a nice touch. I give Nage high marks all around. My advise to to go there and you will not be disappointed. They also have a take-out store next door….I forget the name. [ed. note: the writer is referring to Root Gourmet.]

  6. Lynn D. says:

    We took out of town guest to Nage for dinner last Saturday night. Our party of 4 waited 25 min for our reserved table. One member of our party was server his soup 60 min after reservation time. No apologies given no bread offered. The rest of us received our steaks, which were not prepared to requested state of “doneness”, a full 90 min after we arrived at the restaurant. We were not in a state to send them back.
    While we were told that the wait was the result of the table guests in front of us talking for one hour after finishing their meal(maybe it was the delivery time of the food???), service and food quality need to be addressed.

  7. Jim Doane says:

    My wife Jeannine and I just love Nage, especially their Happy Hour, it is worth a visit for lunch or dinner.

    Jimmy D

  8. Mike says:

    This new review is SPOT ON!!! This was my go toplace for so long, back in the days when it was smaller, Scottie and Rich kept the vibe going in the front of the house and the food hit the mark every time. then it slipped a little, never bad just not a direct bulls eye, plus service seems to take a bit of a slide. The good news is that these folks are attentive and listen and they have got it right once again I’m happy to say. The Foodie Friday 5 course meals are not to be overlooked, every course was a home run. Dale our waiter was on top of his game, Mark clearly running the front of the house and he’s got the place humming and makes you feel like you are at home, of course Hari’s grooving in the kitchen kicking out food better than ever. If you haven’t been in a while, you MUST go back!!!

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