Date spots worth trying
The House of William & Merry
It’s rare, but when my wife and I do sneak out for a childless dinner, we like to go somewhere with a unique menu and ambiance. Owned and operated by a husband and wife team, this Hockessin restaurant boasts exquisite cuisine featuring fresh local ingredients and dishes that you won’t find elsewhere. williamandmerry.com.
— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager
Hummingbird to Mars
This clandestine speakeasy-themed bar is located above Catherine Rooney’s in Trolley Square, accessible from 16th Street. But as any Prohibition-era watering hole should be, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking. Press the outside intercom, venture up the narrow stairway and enter a dimly-lit Gatsbyian universe of jazz and cocktails. The intimate, period-specific bar typically features around 10 seasonal cocktails. Beer and wine are available, too, as well as food from the restaurant downstairs. Live music Thursdays-Saturdays, starting at 8:30 p.m., features some of the area’s best artists, including regular performing duo Bruce & Sam. catherinerooneys.com/hummingbird.
— Krista Connor, Senior Editor & Media Manager
For many, the dinner date has perhaps become a bit stale. The standard “sit down, order and eat” dining experience borders on the formulaic—and boring.
For those willing to deviate from the ordinary, try Chef Tan’s hot pot experience. Chef Tan is a Newark restaurant specializing in authentic Chinese cuisine, which includes the hot pot, a culinary adventure becoming trendy in the U.S. It’s a communal style of eating, requiring the dating partners to cook a variety of chosen ingredients in a specially spiced broth. You can select from several starting broths that range from mild to spicy, as well as an array of vegetables, meats and seafood to cook in the broth. The flavors are as rewarding as the overall experience, which serves to push both parties out of their comfort zones, and it requires cooperation. Your cell phone will be quickly forgotten, and your attention fixated on the fun task at hand, using chopsticks to continually add and remove ingredients from the broth.
At Chef Tan, the hot pot entrée is only $29.99. Learn more about the menu at cheftan.com.
— Mathew Brown-Watson, Intern
In terms of quality of cuisine, service and intimacy, there are few places in Wilmington that can compete with Domaine Hudson. It exudes feelings of quaint comforts and tradition, yet it’s far from staid or stuffy.
The restaurant, at 1314 N. Washington St., boasts an extensive wine list and a selection of Prohibition-era cocktails like the Sazerac and Ginger Side Car. But ultimately, it’s the menu that steals the show, with each shared plate and entrée created like a delicious work of art. The focus on details is first-rate.
While Domaine Hudson is the ideal place to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it also features “Date Night” every Thursday, with an enticing and affordable special: three courses and a bottle of wine for just $95 a couple.
Get more info at domainehudson.com.
— Jim Miller, Director of Publications