Matt's Fish Camp Lewes, the second installation of Matt Haley's concept of simple East Coast seafood served up in an informal and relaxed setting, is up and running – with a vengeance! Seats in this small-to-medium-sized eatery are already the holy grail in Lewes. Matt's Fish Camp Lewes is in the old Donut Connection / Tijuana Taxi / Lazy Susan's building at 34401 Tenley Square near Jerusalem International Grocery in Lewes. There's no need for million-dollar decor and fishy tchotchkes on the wall (though the tchotchkes are really nice): MFC's food says it all.
Even better news is that Fish On's award-winning Executive Chef Maurice Catlett is the kitchen boss at the new MFC! Maurice and his crew have evolved Fish On into one of THE go-to spots in Lewes for great seafood. Jack Temple is FOH manager, cutting his proverbial teeth at Bluecoast and Northeast Seafood Kitchen and has been an integral part of the design of the new eatery. At the party we had the pleasure of hobnobbing with SoDel Concepts mucky-mucks Ronnie Burkle, Doug Ruley, Mike Dickinson, Maurice Catlett, Jim Affeldt, Matt Patton and Mike Zygmonski. You know it's got to be good when the executive staff is bellied up to the bar.
We had the pleasure of attending one of the media/friends/family parties before they opened in early June 2016 and we had a field day with the menu. Scroll through the gallery to see what we (and a few parties seated around us) got. Do not miss the Ipswich Fried Clam roll or the entree portion. Cheap? No. They are flown in special for SoDel Concepts and served exclusively at the two Matt's Fish Camp locations and Northeast Seafood Kitchen. And they are worth every penny. We also like the little tribute to the long-gone Betty's in Midway. Not one of SoDel Concepts' shining moments, but it did have its high points, and they are represented on the menu as “Coastal Comfort Classics.” The stars of that show are the Chicken Pot Pie (massive and exceptionally good), the Picnic BBQ Chicken (another plate that you will take home in a carryout container) and the Country Fried Steak. All of these are squarely in Chef Maurice's wheelhouse and are properly executed.
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Like bread as an appetizer? Then get the Parker House Rolls. They arrive hot, with spiced butter. You'll eat 'em all. Chase them with the impossibly delicious and buttery crab dip, served with their homemade kettle chips.
The Pork Belly Po'Boy (actually sort of a banh mi) is stuffed with savory pork belly and dished up on the buttered split-top roll which also cradles the lobster rolls and the clam rolls. If you are thinking of something a little lighter, get the Lobster Cobb salad. It's a Cobb all the way, topped with another old favorite, Green Goddess. Of course, no SoDel Concepts spot would be complete without the deviled eggs. These are like mom used to make, but she didn't surround them with cool little crab claw lollipops. Maurice keeps his Fish On burger tradition alive with the Double Cheese Burger. This one is Angus beef. The Fish On version is crafted with short rib. You decide which one is best. We like them both.
On our most recent visit (our 5th) we tried the softshell crab (see it in the gallery!). It was one of the best preparations I've ever had. Lightly crunchy on the outside and meaty and moist on the inside. Nice job, Maurice. Of course, speaking of Maurice Catlett, we can never pass up his award-winning wings. I got so excited about them that there are two photos in the gallery of the wings. Sorry. The last visit also saw the redux of the fried clam roll. Again, if the image in the gallery doesn't get you up there to Lewes, nothin' will.
I'll add more goodies and photos as we make repeat visits. Bethany Beach's best-kept secret is now a Lewes go-to spot. DO NOT miss the fried Ipswich clams, those wings and that ridiculously good chicken pot pie. Trust me on this.