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Stake your claim - or claim your steak - around Rehoboth

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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This week's ramblings are inspired by the kids' menu at Back Porch Cafe. Well, it isn't actually a menu; it's more of a call to action: When kids (hopefully the well-behaved variety) are brought into this casual, fine-dining eatery, the management offers to do a quick run to Nicola Pizza or other nearby comfort-food spot to pick up a kid-friendly nibble. Of course, they can only do this if they're not busy, but when it does happen, the kids love it. Certainly a refreshing change from a flaccid hot dog or a smiley-face pizza thing.

Of course that got me thinking about steaks. To be fair, everything gets me thinking about steaks. If you're from Philly, you're probably picturing an elongated sandwich stuffed with thin-cut beef grilled with onions and (sometimes) topped with bright orange cheese from a bright orange spray can. Though there is nothing wrong with that, I am in fact referring to actual steaks cooked over fire, or pan seared and finished in a blazing hot oven. 1776 Steakhouse in Midway has been grillin' 'em up for 26 years. I like it when they wheel out the raw steaks so you can choose your cut. It's like reuniting with a tray full of old friends. The porterhouse is my best friend and has never yet failed me, especially if decorated with a bearnaise drizzle and accompanied by onion rings and one of co-owner/barkeep Johnny Farquhar's Trappist brews.

Bramble & Brine boss Joe Churchman knows that the villagers would show up with pitchforks and torches if he ever took the steak off the menu. At the moment it is a New York Strip, perfectly seared and accompanied by Joe's own take on A-l Sauce.

It's no secret that Bethany Blues dishes up pretty good BBQ. In fact, operating partner Kevin Roberts spends an inordinate amount of time making sure that Bethany Blues' signature items are properly trimmed, rubbed, smoked, seared, sliced, pulled, sauced and served. But there are two sleepers on the menu that steak lovers will appreciate: Kevin's New York Strip steak (wrapped in bacon, just in case...) and a well-marinated flatiron crowned with frizzled onions. And if a little of Chip Hearn's spicy BBQ_sauce happens to splash onto those onions, then so be it.

Steak can take on many forms, and Touch of Italy elevates the humble flank steak to heights heretofore unbeknownst. The recipe is straight from the owner's childhood family Sunday supper table, where his mother pounded the flank steak then wrapped it around fresh mozzarella, raisins, pignoli nuts and fresh herbs.

She bubbled it in sauce (oops... gravy!) for what seemed like forever, and then served it over cavatelli pasta. It's called Braciole, and you will not need to eat again for a couple of days.

Bluecoast may be called a seafood grille, but this Bethany Beach gem shows the carnivores a little love with a chef's steak preparation. When newly appointed Executive Chef Andy Feeley and Corporate Chefs Doug Ruley and Ronnie Burkle put their heads together, there can be no doubt that the butcher steak special will be good.

Executive Chef Brandon Sakelaridos at Pig & Fish Restaurant Co. roasts asparagus, melts a little parmesan over fingerling fries, then cuddles them up to a 12-ounce rib eye. A shot of demi tops it off. A little closer to the ocean at Cafe Azafran, father and son team Rich and Ryan Steele drizzle a barrelcut rib eye with Dogfish brew-spiked demi. Roasted mushrooms and mashers finish things off. Brazil is known for its steaks, and Meg Hudson at Lula Brazil pays homage to her restaurant's namesake with three new additions to the menu: a veal porterhouse, a 16 oz. T-bone and a seared rack of lamb. Along with her popular Picanha (top sirloin) steak, that makes four meaty choices waiting for you at Lula Brazil.

I was at the new Fork & Flask at Nage last week when a Lewes used car dealer I know (we'll call him Bryan Hecksher in order to protect his privacy) ordered one of Chef Sean Corea's new menu items. The Beef Duo is a carnivore's happy place: Forktender short rib and a beef tenderloin share a plate with a loaded baker and yet another Rehoboth-inspired interpretation of A-l Sauce.

Chef Lion Gardner at Blue Moon offers six meaty choices, including rack of lamb and a veal loin chop. Back out on the highway, Delaware Distilling Company's Zack King offers a choice of three steaks: a sirloin, a rib eye and a filet. Interestingly, the kids' menu at DDC includes a petit six-ounce New York Strip. (And you thought I wasn't going to tie paragraph one to the rest of the article! Ahh, ye of little faith.)

Quality beef is not cheap, but sometimes it's fun to treat yourself to something luxurious. Diamonds might be forever, but steaks are easier to chew. Pass the AT, please.

Bob Yesbek is a serial foodie and can be reached at

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Original Publication Date: July 15, 2016

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