Shrimpy’s Snack Shack by the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach took over the old Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar space in Midway in late 2018. This is not their first rodeo: Ronald Zseltvay (affectionately known as the way-more-pronounceable Ron Zee), Ray Sonderfan and Jim Clarke owned a 6000 sq. ft. full service restaurant in Northern New Jersey for 16 years. So it looks like they can pull this off. Former occupants of that space include John DiLeo’s Tutto Bene, Adriatico, Matt Haley’s short-lived Betty’s, and most recently Hooked Seafood & Martini Bar.
This is a sneak peek at the new Shrimpy’s to give you an idea of what to expect, along with some photos of the food. I never write a full review until I have visited a place three times, so there are no star ratings, etc. just yet.
Our first visit was with a couple of diners who were already regulars who acted as our sherpas in our quest for tasty information. The layout of this space is perfect for a restaurant/bar combination – especially one that will feature entertainment from time to time. The bar area is raised and surrounded by an attractive railing. The bar itself is sunken, with very comfortable club chair/barstools. One could (and has) spend an evening sitting at that bar. In the back corner, there is a raised dining area that makes for a perfect stage.
Given the long list of former occupants, it’s no secret that that particular location is a challenge. It is in the “L” of the long Midway Shopping Center, so it is farther off the street than the main strip center. I suspect that the owners anticipated that, and have constructed a very approachable menu with surprisingly reasonable prices (especially for that space). If the well-over-half-full attendance on the rather rainy January Thursday night we visited is any indication, this is working. Obviously it’s all about the locals in the off season, and the place was full of them. God! I do tend to ramble on…. I even got on my own nerves. Sorry. OK. Down to business:
The app menu is large and contains lots of goodies people like to eat. It was hard to pick out a few things (after all, I can only eat so much – or so they say -). We picked the Coconut Shrimp (one of the best preparations I’ve had around here), the Risotto Crab Balls (think regular crab balls with a nice firm crust, but smoother and creamier on the inside. These we will get again). We also got the Chorizo Cheese Fries. I will say that the presentation is somewhat meh, but they make up for it with a good cheezy taste. The chorizo has a nice bite; think Queso Fundido on top of potatoes. If I had my druthers I’d prefer the potatoes either as waffle fries or as thinner cuts to allow the cheese/sausage mixture to more evenly coat the potatoes. That being said, the plate was empty when it was finally wrested out of our trembling hands. I am looking forward to going back and trying the Pepperoni Flatbread with pecorino romano.
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I’ll put it out there right now: DO get the Chicken & Fries entree. It’s a shining star there at Shrimpy’s Bar & Grill. A roasted quarter is finished with a flash fry, imparting a deep golden brown crisp to the skin (see the photo gallery). This one’s a must-get.
One of my go-to dishes for casual sit-down spots is the burger. If they can’t put a little love into the humble burger, than I fear for everything else. And yes, the love was there – in the form of a fresh and delightfully toasted (perhaps even grilled…) bun that softly cradled its contents. To be specific, I ordered the Blue Burger that sports either blue or gorgonzola (once they’re melting into a warm burger, they’re pretty much the same) and a surprisingly tangy jam made with Vidalia (sweet) onions and a chimichurri-infused aioli. My first bite was filled with trepidation: Would the jam, the strong cheese and the aioli play together politely? Gadzooks! A brand new taste. Another must-get. I paired it with the sweet potato fries. Like burgers? Check this one out.
One of our dining companions that night does not like fish. But he very much likes food. So he ordered the petit filet. It is normally served with that same cheese and Vidalia jam as the burger, but he opted out of the accessories. It was a nice, tender steak prepared perfectly to his requested temperature. It shared the plate with broccoli, mashers and a little ramekin of that chimichurri. (For those who might want to know, chimichurri is often used on grilled beef, pork or chicken. Originally conceived in Argentina (known for its beef), it contains garlic, chopped parsley, red wine vinegar, olive oil and oregano. In a properly built chimichurri, the garlic and the parsley will be the top notes.)
One last thing. HOPE that the tangerine cake with the buttercream icing is on the menu when you go. Trust me on this. (See the photo gallery.)
Shrimpy’s Bar & Grill is located at 18585 Coastal Highway in the Midway Center. They can be reached at 302-313-5124. Follow Shrimpy’s Bar & Grill on Facebook.
Visit their obviously-still-under-construction website. Hopefully menus will be posted there soon.