As of late 2018, the longtime Brick Restaurant & Tavern in the Brick Hotel on The Circle in Georgetown has changed ownership. Hotel owners Ed and Lynn Lester brought the historic building back into working order many years ago, but have finally decided to leave the daily grind of restauranting to others. It looks like they might have hit the jackpot with 302 Cook Crew, LLC, consisting of Chef Bill Clifton (opening chef at Henlopen City Oyster House) and associate Miguel Batiz (longtime front-of-house guy for Grotto Restaurants).
Meet Chef Bill and Miguel Batiz on their 7/14/18 broadcast on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie: Click here for the podcast.
Hear Chef Bill Clifton on the Sip & Bite Show describe his experience on Bobby Flay's “Beat Bobby Flay” show in May, 2019 on Food Network! Click here for the podcast.
The Counting House restaurant in the historic Brick Hotel still reflects the atmosphere of historic Delaware. It even maintains the vault doors from having been a bank many, many years ago. (“Counting House” was slang for a bank in the old days.)
I waited to visit the restaurant until Bill and Miguel were able to remodel and make it truly their own. That finally happened in early 2019. Though there are still a few rough spots that can happen with a brand new concept, overall the experience was quite good. The wallet-friendly menu is divided into 4 sections, so scroll through the photos to see some of the dishes described here. DO NOTE that, like many of our local restaurants, the menu at The Counting House changes seasonally. So use these photos and this article only as a guide!
We thoroughly enjoyed the house biscuits (sort of wish they had been delivered to the table warm), and the ham meatballs were amazing. Deviled eggs, pimento cheese dip, a mushroom flatbread, mussels and calamari round out the small plates.
Henlopen City Oyster House regulars know that Bill Clifton is famous for his turtle soup, and it is well-represented on the menu. Another soup for which is is known is that oyster stew, still served in fact, at HCOH. Other soups at The Counting House include French onion, split pea and kale & white bean. I need to go back for that one. Sounds good.
biscuits1/9 The Counting House (Georgetown)2/9 bacon wrapped bison meatloaf3/9 coffee spice-rubbed duck4/9 The Counting House (Georgetown)5/9 filet mignon6/9 ham meatballs7/9 seasonal strawberry salad8/9 wedge9/9
I am a wedge salad junkie, and that's always my go-to at a new restaurant. Bill's wedge was quite generous with all the standard wedgie toppings. The kicker was the cucumber yogurt dressing! A nice change from the regulation blue cheese. Others in our party treated themselves to the strawberry salad with pea shoots, pumpkin seeds, mint, feta and green goddess and the quinoa & beet salad. You can also get a Caesar and a garden salad.
The “Suppers” section clearly reflects Chef Bill's proclivities. I had the Bacon-Wrapped Bison Meatloaf. I was worried that the demise of Colvine Bison Ranch would limit the access to this tasty protein, but Bill has found a local source! Our 4-top enjoyed the blackened catfish, the Coffee Spice-Rubber Duck Breast and the 8 oz. Filet Mignon. We liked everything, but the one we oohed and ahhed over the most was the beautifully presented and perfectly prepared duck breast. Take a look at it in the photo gallery! It rests in a little lake of fava bean puree and is drizzled with a chianti wine sauce.
We were WAAAYYY to full for dessert ………. so we ordered two to split. Well, life is short – y'never know. And we hit the jackpot on that one: a fresh blueberry crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. The crumble on the top is one of the best I've ever had. And the blueberries were still plump and full of flavor. Obviousy a spring/summer dessert, I hope he figures out a way to keep this one on the menu year'round.
The Counting House is open for lunch Monday thru Saturday from 11-3 and open for dinner from 5 until 9. They are closed Sundays. Happy hour in the bar is 3-6, and they have live music in the pub on Fridays and Saturdays.
The new concept will surely bring The beautiful Brick Hotel back into the forefront of dining in the County Seat of Sussex.