The extensive construction that's been happening on the old Seafood Shack building in downtown Rehoboth Beach is finally finished! The building hails from around the late 1800s and served as one of the original camp houses used for prayer meetings.
That was then, and this is now, and Lion Gardner, Tyler Townsend and Bob Suppies have opened the brand new DRIFT restaurant. The original idea from Meg & Lion (former Blue Moon owners who purchased the building a while ago) was to call it AXIS, but, as is typical in the restaurant business, one thing led to another… and it's now called DRIFT. And they are up and running. Executive Chef is Tom Wiswell is the kitchen boss, ably partnered with former Blue Water Grill owner Josh Wiggins.
The restaurant sports a casual raw bar area, a cozy dining room and outside seating on a nicely appointed patio. The front dining room is visually delightful, with an unusual wallpaper on one wall and an array of wooden shelves on the other wall adorned with interesting tchotchkes. Makes for a fun and relaxing dining experience.
On our first visit we started with the crab chowder, a New-England style preparation laced with savory bacon and a surprising amount of crabmeat. I hope that Josh and Tom keep it just like that, because it was stunning. My second course was the Heirloom Tomato Salad. This is tomato season, and they kitchen boys took full advantage of that with bright red sungold tomatoes cuddled up to local corn (of course…), cukes and shallots in a perfectly acidic sherry vinaigrette. The surprise is the whipped ricotta at the bottom. Obviously seasonal, so get it while you can.
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One of the stars of the show at Drift is the Maryland Crab Hushpuppies. These perfect bites are properly crunchy and decorated with cherry tomato jam (we know where they got that from!). A drizzle of crab-laced aioli tops it off. We chose the Charcoal-Grilled New Jersey Black Bass as the main. The light char around the edges added a satisfying texture to the still-moist fish. Again, in a polite nod to the season, it was accompanied by grilled zucchini, carrots, onions, nice firm tomatoes and topped with sizzled breadcrumbs and a refreshing sauce americaine.
Be sure to start with the crackly sourdough that they source from Leisa Berlin's The Station on Kings in Lewes.
Welcoming Second Block Hospitality Restaurant Group! CLICK HERE to listen to Lion and Exec. Chef Tom Wiswell on a past Beach Eats Broadcast.
Drift is tucked in at 42.5 Baltimore Avenue next to Theo's Steak, Sides & Spirits. See more at their website by CLICKING HERE.