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Rose & Crown

/ Updated on October 8, 2015

The reincarnation of the Rose & Crown in Lewes' boutique Hotel Rodney brings back memories of the original restaurant of the same name that used to be in the space now occupied by Jerry's Seafood (next door to The Buttery). After several shakeups here and there, Rose & Crown has continued to thrive for both lunch and dinner, and if anything the service and overall attitude is even better.

The menu is rife with comfort food and stuff people like. I will mention (as I do in most of the articles here) that menus change like the tides here at the beach. So things that I tried last week might not be on the menu this week. That being said, one of the stars of the appetizer show is the Fried Pickles. These are made fresh on the premises and come with a spicy mustard-based drizzle and a pretty blah Ranch dip. (I just don't get Ranch. Is it just me?! Don't answer that.) Skip the Ranch and enjoy the zippy drizzle atop the crispy, vinegary spears. The dish is the perfect starter.

Another little surprise is the Beer Battered Calamari. This unusual preparation has a thicker crust than what you might be used to, but that crust is dry, crunchy and well-spiced. I like the pickled jalapeno slices scattered here and there. Great idea.

We've had the Crab Deviled Eggs several times, and though they are pleasant, they could use more personality spice- and presentation-wise. Want personality? Cross your fingers that the 5-Onion Soup is still on the menu! This ain't yo' momma's onion soup: Roasted peppers, olives and a deliciously aggressive gruyere complement this bracing recipe, and it is simply wonderful. The R&C Wings are fairly typical, but I do love wings and these are well up to specifications, complete with the regulation sauce.

Another secret pleasure is the 16 Mile Sliders. Short ribs are braised in one of 16 Mile's signature brews, gruyere is melted over top, and they are presented on a surprisingly cute roll. Though I like the soft and yeasty Martin's-style “dinner roll” so popular with local sliderphiles, this one has more of an eggy brioche texture without being overly firm. I want to order two plates and make it dinner. The 16 Mile Sliders, as good as they are, now join a contender to the throne on the menu, The British Lobster Sliders: Curried lobster salad on three nice fresh rolls. I had these on my most recent visit, and if I had any gripe it would be that the lobster salad could be a “wetter”; it was a bit dry, even for me, especially after the soft rolls soaked up even more moisture. They are pretty new on the menu and hopefully a work in progress.

The bill of fare still tempts with homemade pretzels, Tater Tots, onion rings in 60 Minute-laced batter, and drunken clams redolent of andouille and something hoppy from Dogfish Head. I will remind you that Rose & Crown, like most local eateries, likes to change its menu on a regular basis. So some of these goodies might not be available, or might be seasonal. Govern yourself accordingly.

The Grilled Beetroot Salad is a beet-lover's dream-come-true. Deep crimson and bright gold beets are sliced and placed in a bed of arugula. But what comes next is a delicious curve ball: Olive tapenade and chevre. Like beets? Get this one. See? It's a menu with stuff people like.

The main course star of the show award is a dead heat among the Bacon Burger, the R&C Shepherd's Pie and the Pot Roast Platter. All three border on perfect. Let's start with the burger. Note there is no photo. Twice — yes, twice, I tell you, people who ordered the burger during a review visit attacked it before I could take a picture. Neither of these people are accompanying me on review visits again, though they both agree that the bacon burger is well worth the sacrifice. Why this mutinous behavior, you ask? Well, (1) apple smoked bacon is ground into the beef. Then, (2) the beef and the bacon are cooked together. Finally, (3) caramelized onions perch themselves atop the juicy, bacony patty, kicked up by a slice of cheddar. Do not miss this. And send me a photo, will ya?

The R&C Shepherd's Pie is made with expertly spiced duck confit stirred together with still-firm root veggies and topped with parm. The whole thing is relegated to the broiler, imparting a mouthwatering bronze patina to the cheese. The not-so-humble-any-more Shepherd's Pie never had it so good.

The Pot Roast is as pleasing to the eye as it was to the palate. Charred carrots share real estate with mashed potatoes (quite good, both atop the Shepherd's Pie and on this plate) and Rose & Crown's particularly perfect homemade potato chips. When you have the option, ALWAYS get the potato chips there. They have come up with 8 handy varieties, but I'll pass on the truffle oil option, thank you.

On our most recent visit, one of my Favorite Foodettes ordered the beer-battered Fish & Chips. There are two schools of thought when it comes to beer batter. The first is that it must be light, dry and crackle when you bite into it. The other is that is should be firm, yet soft. My experience suggests that the great majority prefer the crispy school-of-thought. Unfortunately, the Fish & Chips at Rose & Crown do not fall into that category. The coating, though pleasing to the eye, was soft, bordering on soggy. My F.F. did not like it. There is, however, a silver lining to this piscene dark cloud: When she sent it back, the server could not have been more agreeable and gracious. No frown, no guilt, no attitude, no nonsense. A beautiful chopped salad magically appeared at the table to keep the aforementioned Foodette busy until her alternative (pork chops) arrived. This little scene speaks well for the Rose & Crown. So avoid the Fish & Chips if you like 'em crispy, but if something happens (and it can, does and often will, pretty much anyplace), they spring into action like a SWAT Team, minus the black helicopters and that “Hut! Hut!” noise. We were impressed.

The aforementioned pork chop is darkly seared but still tender and juicy and is covered in a nicely spiced spinach mixture.

Another new star of the show is the steak & mushrooms. I find it hard to believe that they can do this for around $18, but they do. One of the pickiest eaters I know (truth be told, she borders on annoying) loved this dish. I am so pleased about the pork chop and the steak that I have adjusted the previous ratings to reflect the improvement.

On two of our visits, accompanying diners ordered the Portabella Burger. Both times they loved it. The mushroom is perfectly cooked and drizzled with balsamic. Spinach, ricotta and onion rings (yup, right on the sandwich!) top it off. This thing will draw vegetarians from far and wide. It's everything you want a burger to be, but without the meat.

I usually don't make a big deal about dessert, but on our most recent visit we ordered the Local Apple Cobbler — a la mode, of course, in response to a friendly but well-executed upsell. In this deconstructed version, the apples were still crisp, with lots of cinnamon and brown sugar. The rest of the plate was a work of art. I suspect you will only see this one in the fall.

The original Rose & Crown opened in '83 at the other end of Second Street near the Buttery. It closed in '05. This new Rose & Crown, relocated in the very spiffy looking Hotel Rodney at the corner of Second and Market sts., is a refreshingly friendly and attractive change from the perpetually-in-the-weeds and undeservedly impressed with itself Beseme that used to occupy the lobby. The seating extends into the lobby — the Holy Grail of happy hour seating.

The Rose & Crown in Lewes is definitely worth visiting. The menu has evolved and the few false starts have morphed into better things. The anchors are in place, and it's obvious that Lewes has embraced its new pub.

Rose & Crown is open 7 days for lunch and dinner from 11 to 11, with a happy hour from 4-6 Monday through Friday. Always double check: (302) 827-4475. Click here for a look at the menu. (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate.

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)

142 2nd St. Lewes

Open 11:30 - 8
Open 11:30 - 8
Open 11:30 - 8
Open 11:30 - 8
Open 11:30 - 9
Open 11:30 - 9
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

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  1. Avatar Sam Reklaw says:

    A party of four, we ate here on 1/10/17. We tried it because we had a Cape Gazette dining card.
    Two had the Pot Roast which was tender but the roast potatoes with it had a strange off-putting flavor. I had the crab cake which had the same potatoes. We told our waitress we couldn’t eat them. We were afraid they were bad. She offered us mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were OK but they had such large pieces of scallions in them, I had to pick them out. My crab cakes were burnt on the bottom and the crab inside had a brown tinge to it. I tried it but didn’t really eat it. The green beans and carrot mixture of veggies were hard and didn’t have any flavor not even salt. One other diner had the shepards pie. He stated it was OK but nothing to come back for. This was one of the worst meals I have ever had in the Rehoboth area restaurants. I wouldn’t ever go back. Sad to say.

  2. Avatar Bob says:

    Stopped by Rose and Crown after lunch at Gate House for a few Rose Kennedys. Delightful atmosphere and after googling the drink for the bar tender we were good to go. I wanted to sample a few apps but that will have to wait. Partner put kbosh on that but we will return!!

  3. Avatar Shirley Edwards says:

    My friend and I went there last Friday evening for an early dinner. When we walked in there was no one at the receptionist stand, but a waitress stepped up immediately to seat us. We had to provide three choices before we were able to find something that they weren’t out of. They were even out of steak, early on a Friday evening! The waitress was very apologetic. When we placed our third choice, my friend politely told the waitress if either choice wasn’t available to bring the check. The waitress explained that the menu was being changed next week and that was why they were out of so many items. I felt sorry for her as it wasn’t her fault. My friend had the pot roast which wasn’t really pot roast as we think of it, but sliced roast beef. I had the citrus glazed cod which would have been better if there hadn’t been so skimpy with the glaze. The summer vegetable medley was bland and unimaginative. I like food with lots of flavor so the cod wasn’t a good choice, but I was running out of choices.

  4. Avatar j winkler says:

    WE went for dinner to celebrate a birthday. We should have listened to our gut instinct when the girl who seated us was so rude. The only words she spoke was “how many”? Come to find out she was the manager, Jenna. The wait was an eternity to place our orders. When the waitress did take the order she informed us that they were out of 3 entrees and 1 side. This was at 6:30 on a Sunday evening. The duck shepherds pie, they informed us was substituted with beef, which there was virtually no meat. To begin, the shepherd pie was just plain nasty, no taste. The grilled stuffed portobellas were supposed to be topped with parmesan cheese, it was processed out of a can. It was not very good either. Not a very good experience at all…we should have paid for drinks and walked out to find another establishment. Never again.

  5. Jen and Jack R. Jen and Jack R. says:

    Not sure what the “Cranky Gourmet” was expecting from Rose & Crown. This is a pub with pub food, and his or her experiences do not reflect ours, and we eat there every few weeks. Yes, it took Rose & Crown a while to get it together, but in the last year or so we have had fast, friendly service and good, consistent food. Perhaps the “Gourmet” should restrict him or herself to more upscale restaurants like Back Porch, the Buttery, Grove Market, Blue Moon or Amuse, where he or she will pay at least twice as much for more upscale food.

  6. Avatar CrankyGourmet says:

    We decided to eat at the Rose and Crown because there was a 1.5 hour wait at Agave. We were seated right away. (that should have been our first clue)
    The décor of the building is great but alas not so the food.
    I ordered the onion soup which was like my mom used to make (right out of the can) with no flavor and a soggy, cheesy pretzel on top.
    Our group all ordered the pot roast which was flavorless and fatty. It was on an English muffin base that disintegrated waiting on all of the meals to be taken out of a bag an microwaved. Even salt, pepper and hot sauce could not save it!
    The service was ok but slow considering the lack of patrons. We will NOT be back, I will wait for good food even if it takes over an hour to be seated. For 45$ each with wine it was NOT worth the price!

  7. Avatar Barbara says:

    Lacey is top notch bartender and knows the menu. Beautiful place. I wish they had more specials for the off season.

  8. Avatar Jean K says:

    We have tried the R&C three times and each time the service was slow, the food hit or miss. We had to send our burgers back because they were not cooked, fries cold, fish and chips limp and overall we were disappointed. It should be better, great spot and supposedly good chef?

  9. Avatar Betty S says:

    Husband & I went there last Thursday with another couple. Sadly to say we were all disappointed. Waitress not very knowledgeable of menu. A few of us ordered the bacon cheeseburger with fries however when we were served there were chips on the plate. Pointed out to the waitress that the menu said French fries were included. She went to kitchen & informed us the fries would be right out. After we finished the burger the fries arrived in a rather large basket but “cool & oily”. There are too many nice restaurants in the area to even consider giving R&C another try this Summer.

  10. Avatar merrijane pierce says:

    Dined there with a friend last night and it was delightful. I had the pork chops and she had the swordfish. Both were wonderful as were the sides. Will definitely go back again and again. For dessert I had the butterscotch pudding which sounds like it could have been hohum but was anything but. I practically licked the parfait dish and wish I’d ordered two. The waittress was delightful as well. One of our better dining experiences by far.

  11. Avatar michelle g. says:

    Food is very good and prices reasonable. Service was far better than when we originally tried it. This is a must try for Lewes folks and the surrounding area. A local restaurant that should not be missed.

  12. Avatar jim goldstein says:

    So we gave it another go. Glad we did. Food is very good. Prices are very reasonable and the service was far better. This place is somewhere locals should try and support.

  13. Avatar jim goldstein says:

    We went there with friends a couple of Saturdays ago. Food was very good. Service was very poor. They were disorganized and did not seem to have as much help as they needed. They need to improve in this area. Food can be very good, prices can be reasonable but bad service will kill them in the long term.

  14. Avatar Barbara Teal says:

    Ate at the Rose and Crown w/ 5 friends last night. We meet monthly at different restaurants and wanted to try this one. As much as we liked the decor, I won’t be back, nor, according to them, will my friends. The server was excellent, the food mediocre at best. There were bread plates on the table, and, upon inquiring, found they did not serve bread, but would include some for $ a serving. We orderd 2 servings and received 2 hamburger buns that had been buttered and heated. The $4.00 was deducted when we complained. The chopped salad I had was good, but nothing special. The onion soup was not my favorite, and the bread on the top of it was yet another hamburger bun – maybe a special this week! My friend’s french fries were burnt and inedible. She did like her burger. Like your first reviewer, I find Caputo is hit and miss, consequently I haven’t eaten at Espuma in quite some time and haven’t tried his other restaurants. Would like the old Rose and Crown back!!

  15. Avatar Phil Hutchison says:

    Went to the R&C the first week it opened and the food was decent and the service was pretty good considering the place was a mob scene with long waits to get a table.

    My only complaint is while the prices for the food are reasonable, the price for a draft beer defies common sense. $7.00 for a Dog Fish 60 minute IPA? The same beer costs $5 at Kindle. Happy hour prices drop the cost to $5.00 Wow that’s really a deal guys.. not the place to sit and have a few cold ones..The prices for the food are reasonable ,they make up their losses with the costs of the drinks…I am surprised no one has mentioned this in the comments.

  16. Avatar Frou Frou Diner says:

    What a lovely hotel! But if you want a low-risk fine meal while staying at Hotel Rodney, venture down the street to the Buttery. Check out Touch of Italy first, too. Try out Rose and Crown for a less expensive meal than the Buttery, but be careful because, as the Foodie says, there are hits and misses at this new place. I enjoy the pot roast a lot, but worry that the inconsistencies among the dishes (fish and chips–just awful) will eventually lead to inconsistencies within the same dishes. Time will tell.

  17. Avatar JayW says:

    I’ve been waiting for your review and will put it on the list. Caputo is hit or miss with me but it sounds like he’s off to a good start here.

    WE enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the R & C this weekend. Good food, burger, wings, onion soup and garlic parmesan fries. Friendly service by Julie. Only thing that we all felt could be better was the shephards pie which sounded better than it tasted and was overly salted. We will return!

  18. Avatar Debi Fenimore says:

    We have been to the Rose and Crown several times since it opened. We find it to be a comfortable atmosphere, the service has been excellent, and the food has not disappointed. We love just popping in for a quick grilled cheese and tomato soup on a chilly night or for a bowl of butternut squash soup. With the pricing being so affordable and the food so yummy, it may turn into a “several nights a week” habit! Very welcoming staff too. I urge folks to try it…you will be pleasantly surprised.

  19. Avatar Ron Tipton says:

    My neighbor and I ate at the Rose and Crown shortly after it opened. I ordered the bacon hamburger. However, there was a slight delay as we were informed they had no gas to grill the burger which surprised us because we thought they would be ready because they had just opened. However, all was made right by taking 20% off of our bill. I also got the acorn squash soup which I felt had a rather flat taste. The fries arrived luke warm which was also a dispappointment but even lukewarm, they were still good. My dining partner had the batter friend pickles which she loved. She also got the fish and chips which she also was very pleased with. I hope to return soon to find out what those French Fries taste like hot. I do have to say, the bacon burger (and roll) was perhaps the best I’ve had since my visit to San Francisco in my previous life.

  20. Avatar Debbie Butz says:

    I ate there with 2 girl friends last evening. I was not impressed. The waiter was not very knowledgible with questions we asked about the menu. He forgot to bring the soup. The portions were very small (I guess that is how you can keep the price under $18.00). Not at all like the old Rose & Crown which we visited frequently. Not a place that I would revisit.

  21. Avatar Don says:

    Four of us visited the R&C this weekend. The renovation of the space is great — obviously done with a great deal of care, although the upholstery on the banquets could easily make you dizzy if you had a bit too much to drink! The calamari, beet salad and onion soup were all very good. I was disappointed with the Shepherds Pie — the duck was very salty and I there was no sauce under the mashed potatoes. Excellent prices though! Try the Banana Bread beer — it’s pretty amazing. Overall, I’d give it an 8.

  22. Avatar bill johnston says:

    Tried it. Loved it. The salmon and potato salad delicious, hint of dijion.

  23. Avatar BJ Young says:

    You are right on the ball! We have been there twice so far and you are right on target! We do hope they bring back the lobster soup that the Rose & Crown were noted for..

    We will be back!!

  24. Avatar T&T says:

    You are right. We went the first week they opened and it was totally packed. Staff — especially the bar — seemed overwhelmed and Jay Caputo even came out of the kitchen to assist at the bar.
    We will go back. Thanks for the information and what you do, Foodie.

  25. Avatar JayW says:

    I’ve been waiting for your review and will put it on the list. Caputo is hit or miss with me but it sounds like he’s off to a good start here!

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