Striper Bites is one of the DiSabatino family’s trinity of popular Lewes eateries (along with Kindle and Half-Full that they share with Ian and Joanna Crandall), and it’s as much a bar as it is a restaurant. You can just hear the always-smiling Matt DiSabatino urging you (with the appropriate Italian hand gestures, of course) to “Please Your Palate…Raise Your Spirits!” And you can do both quite well at Striper Bites. Entering the restaurant is like walking onto a dock, with wide plank wooden floors, multiple levels and lots of maritime tchotchkes, including two seemingly unreachable fish tanks high above the bar. The place is a party for your eyeballs.
As of winter 2015, Striper Bites has added now goodies to the menu, including a selection of 4 sushi rolls (new chef Drew Lopuski ia an alumnus of Stingray as well as a number of other high-profile local eateries). Things do change here at the beach, however, so some of the items listed below might or might not be on the menu. But there’s always something good waiting for you!
Striper Bites offers a selection of appetizers, with three notables: The first is the Lewes Beach Bruschetta. Grilled squash, tomatoes and cheese are stacked on toasted sourdough and drizzled with pesto and a pungent balsamic reduction. I suggest ordering it “for the table,” as it’s as filling as it is tasty. The other standout is the Bacon Wrapped Scallops. Except for one time when the scallops were mushy (slightly undercooked), this dish has never failed to satisfy. I ask for extra wasabi. Number three on the appetizer hit parade is the Crab Bisque, and it is definitely the star of the appetizer show: Not too thick and pasty, with a hint of sherry and a surprising amount of crabmeat. I also like the Striper Bites House Salad (hints of Greek and Italian play well together). Top any of their salads with your favorite protein and make it a main course for only a few more bucks.
I’m a pushover for a good club sandwich, and the Striper Bites Club offers an interesting variation on the theme. The standard turkey component is replaced by Blackened Mahi-Mahi (dorado, or dolphinfish — no, not a dolphin), and agrees nicely with the bacon, lettuce and tomato. The Caesar dressing was a pleasant surprise and works well with the blackening spices. I’ve also had the Maine Lobster Roll (more about that below), and also the Fried Flounder Sandwich (fried to a crispy crunch, presented simply with lettuce and tomato on sourdough).
On a recent visit (we go a lot), I had the Bites Burger (add bacon, thank you) and it was quite good. I’ve also had the Blackened Tuna Pasta (very simple, over penne with a nice cream sauce lightly laced with fennel) and the Asiago Scallops (grilled lightly brown in a not-too-cheesy sauce with tomatoes, veggies and pesto). Both are consistent and quite good. Accompanying diners have enjoyed the Crab Cake, and their Sesame Encrusted “Asian” Salmon with a bright cilantro/soy Asian bent. If you are eating (relatively) light, the Salmon is something to consider.
I promised more about the lobster rolls: The ultra-light dijon dressing allows the lobster meat to shine through, but the authentic (well, as authentic as you’ll get outside of Massachusetts and Maine) buttered split-top roll seals the deal. The kicker is that they serve you two that are generously proportioned. If you like New England lobster rolls, but don’t want to apply for a second mortgage to pay for them, get these.
Another member of our party enjoyed the Shrimp & Grits. The grits are the star of the show on this plate; perfectly buttery and creamy. Country ham shares the plate with a generous portion of shrimp. This one’s well worth the $21 price tag.
Short rib over cheesy polenta1/15 Spicy Mahi2/15 Barkeep extraordinaire, Andrew!3/15 Lobster Rolls — 2 yet!4/15 Cool ceiling….5/15 Nachos6/15 Shrimp ‘n’ Grits7/15 Hot fudge brownie8/15 Filet au poivre with mashers and stringbeans9/15 mussels appetizer10/15 Salmon & thai chili special.11/15 Ricotta gnocchi with sweet cipollinis12/15 Short rib on parmesan risotto13/15 New as of 2015: Fresh & tasty rolls14/15 Salted honey caramel ice cream & bread pudding15/15
We started with the nachos (or, as they say on the menu, nachooooos) and they were quite good, and drizzled with what might be a bottles salsa (it’s kind of sweet, but OK). One of the reasons is the warm, toasty and very crunchy chips. They even hold their crunch during the meal, inspite of the salsa and guacamole ladled overtop. You can get crab meat or chicken on top for a small upcharge. The guac on top cost us a dollar. Very fair for the huge portion. We’ll certainly get these again!
If you are lucky enough to visit Striper Bites on a Thursday, you might have the pleasure of being waited on by Andrew. He is the über bartender/server who zips all over the place like Lestat after a double caramel Macchiato with an extra shot. On our most recent visit, the bar/bar tables were about 3/4 full when a party of about 8 thirsty-looking locals staggered in. This is a bartender/server’s worst nightmare, but Andrew just ramped up the speed and everybody got taken care of quickly, with a smile and a joke. If there’s any down side to Andrew, it’s the jokes.
Striper Bites is located right in the heart of Lewes at 107 Savannah Road. Going north toward the canal, just pass Second Street and there it is on the right, at the epicenter of Lewes eating along with Touch of Italy and The Buttery. In the summer you can plop on the porch, sip your favorite from their long list of aptly named libations, and ogle the local foot traffic. They recently enclosed a section of the porch, and it is bright and open while still protecting from the elements.
They have off-season specials during the week, and they do close for a while in the winter, so call them at 302-645-4657 just to make sure. Click here for the dinner menu at Striper Bites. (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate.
Off-season Specials & HoursSpecials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.
Bistro Burger Night! $9 from 5-9p
Sushi Night! $15 from 5-9p. 2 rolls with bottomless edamame or get 1 roll for only $10
Simple Comfort! Home style favorites at an even more comfortable price!
Locals Night! Live acoustic music with seasonal specials!