Nage: Featuring Farm-to-Table Dining in Rehoboth
Have you visited Nage restaurant in Rehoboth Beach? Every Thursday, Nage features a Farm to Table series highlighting a different local, sustainable, and organic farmer. The specials are different each time and are dictated by what the farmer brings. The series is concluded with a dinner at one of the farms, Fifer Orchards Farm in Dover, DE. What an amazing way to support local farmers!
Although it is out of the way, we would be in Rehoboth for a show at the Bottle and Cork on a Thursday. Kismet! I immediately called to make reservations. There are so many delicious dinner options up that way but I was surprised to find Nage across from the outlets, next to a liquor store, in a strip mall. Not one to judge a book by its cover, I kept an open mind. The interior was incredibly cozy, high end, and could have been found in any trendy downtown area. We were immediately transported.
The first thing you see is their wine bar and huge selection of wines and tasting options- well at least that’s the first thing that I saw. They have a really cool wine dispenser that I’m thinking I need at my house. It holds a variety of wines at the perfect temperature and has spouts for easy pouring. Jackpot.
The walls of the wine bar and dining room feature a series called “The Face of Farming” from local photographer Kathleen Buckalew. Delightful portraits of local farmers were paired with bios and anecdotal stories. Another creative way to feature and support local farmers. In addition to purchasing local foods and featuring them so prominently on their menu, this confirmed Nage’s commitment to support local farmers.
We sat in the wine bar area at a comfortable high-top table and tall couch. The restaurant was very busy but we had made reservations. After an incident with stolen truffle fries we were ready to order. A food runner brought someone else’s order of fries to our table. Being starved and excited, we were half-way through before we realized we had never ordered them. I rationalized that maybe this was their version of a bread basket. It is not. So embarrassing!
The menu was small but complete and the Farm to Table specials were creative and unique. I can never decide. In an admittedly selfish attempt to mitigate my anticipated food envy, I always offer to share multiple items. Luckily my sister is usually on board. When the server came to take our order, we peppered him with appetizers, small plates, and entrées. When he walked away, we looked at each other with nervous anticipation at the amount of food we had just ordered.
He served this milieu of food in the perfect progression. We started with the Baked Oyster Asiago. These are sold individually so are easy to sample. The oysters are baked with spinach, mushrooms, fennel, and (of course) cheese. I could have eaten a dozen. Next, we ordered Bob Russels Tomato Gazpacho from the Farm to Table series. Yellow tomatoes were blended to create a smooth soup base with rustic cut chunks of Evens Farm watermelon, lump crabmeat and cilantro. The unusual tomato/watermelon combination was so incredible that I was trying to figure out how I could make this at home. Our next appetizer, Ginger Seared Scallops, was soon to follow. This dish included two scallops that were seared crisply on the outside with a tender center. Paired perfectly with the scallops was a salad of cucumber, celery, pear, and peanuts. It tasted like a seaweed salad but had a delightful, fresh crunch.
On to the much anticipated heavy courses: Mac n-Cheese and Lobster Ricotta Gnocchi. It is no secret that I am in love with cheese. Although one of these dishes would have probably been enough for us to share, I am so glad that we ordered both. The Mac-n-Cheese was made with truffles, English peas, and wild mushrooms; heavenly. I was sold at truffles. The gnocchi had broccolini, eggplant, pine nuts, harissa honey, and shishito peppers. The sauce was sweet but savory and the gnocchi were perfectly dense. Brian ordered a Nage classic: the Pan Roasted Chicken. He said that it was ideally moist. The small and crispy drop dumplings were a little bit outside the box pushing the limits of tradition ever so slightly. After a meal like that, dessert was out of the question. We will be back for the sea salt caramel crème brulee.
Overall, Nage was a home run. Once we entered the restaurant, the outside setting was nonexistent. We felt comfortable and cozy — after the whole ‘stealing fries’ thing. This is the way I love to enjoy my meals. The menu featured a balance of innovative surprises and classic combinations; consistent with their promise to deliver “creative food without the ‘tude.” You could feel the sense of community; in the patrons, the staff, and the local farmers that were so obviously supported. Nage is definitely worth the drive.
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