by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
I seldom leave room for dessert. But I’m sure glad I did at Deltaville Tap & Raw Bar when my family and I went for dinner on a Saturday afternoon in the spring.
Let me back up. I totally skipped ahead to the sweet ending of a delightful evening overlooking Broad Creek in Middlesex County.
At the end of winding Timberneck Road, the new Deltaville Tap & Raw Bar, which opened Memorial Day weekend, resembles its former occupant, Cocomos, inside and out. However, the new owners have given the menu a total redo.
A list of craft and bottled beers included Irish style amber ale, cream ale, American pale ale and Belgian blonde ale, along with hard ciders, American lagers and a fruited IPA. I skipped right over the beers and the wines in lieu of a mojito, served with fresh mint from the on-site tap house garden. It was smooth and refreshing.
Our very helpful waitress Tory said many of the dishes are made using fresh herbs from the tap house garden. And local seafood and produce are featured as much as possible.
The raw bar menu included oysters and clams on the half shelf along with a tuna tartar and the steamed selections included Middle Neck clams, Wanchese shrimp and Jonah crab claws but my eyes, and belly, were drawn to the bay scallop and shrimp ceviche. It didn’t disappoint.
The ceviche, a cold seafood salsa, included small shrimp and scallops with green peppers, ripe avocado, tomatoes and red onion in lime juice with fresh cilantro. A scoop on a thin, crunchy tortilla chip was a treat for the taste buds.
The appetizer menu included a cheese plate, smoked oysters and shark bites, which was actually Cajun tuna with pico de Gallo and avocado crema. Tory recommended the popular crab puppies, which were hushpuppies with flakes of crab and pieces of sweet corn, deep fried and served with the restaurant’s signature bay island dip, think tartar and Thousand Island dressing combo. It was sweet and tangy and a perfect complement to the crab puppies.
“It’s like Thousand Island with a twist,” said Tory.
I liked the dip so much, I asked for some to accompany my entree, a pan-seared swordfish marinated in a sweet tomato and shallot confit on top of green rice. The rice also included a hint of fresh lime.
My husband went with a center-cut strip steak, which he said was tender, juicy and cooked perfectly to his medium rare liking.
Another guest went with the smoked half chicken, which was also tender and juicy. It was served with a sweet corn grit cake and tangy Russian kale. And still another guest went with Tory’s suggestion of fish and chips, which included two large pieces of fried local flounder and enough garlic parsley fries to share.
The menu also includes a Virginia lump crab cake, a customer favorite, according to Tory, and spaghettini and meatballs, a beef and cheddar burger, a fried duck egg sandwich, oyster chowder, salads and nightly specials.
But I divert. Back to the desserts. According to Tory, the restaurant’s chef is also a pastry chef and it shows in his magnificent, decadent concoctions. They change nightly. Blueberry cobbler, chocolate covered strawberry cheesecake and peach mango cheesecake, topped with homemade, rich, whipped cream were all tempting when we dined. However, we opted for the warm dark chocolate brownie covered with a salted caramel topping and a blueberry cheesecake on a waffle crust drizzled with maple syrup and bacon. It was unlike anything I’ve tasted in my 52 years.
The combination of the salty, sweet topping along with the dense but flaky waffle crust and the thick, creamy cheesecake center made me want to order seconds. In fact, on my next date night to Deltaville Tap & Raw Bar, I’m ordering dessert first.