The Zagat-rated Back Burner treats taste buds to toothsome, handcrafted dishes made from seasonal and, whenever available, locally sourced ingredients. Executive Chef Kristin McGuigan creates mouthwatering, constantly changing menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner that showcase her dedication to fresh, flavorful, from-scratch repasts. Dinnertime diners may start with the signature pumpkin mushroom soup ($4/small bowl), a guest favorite sure to awaken partakers' inner bowl-licker. Maritime-minded munchers can explore the flavorful fathoms of the sushi-grade ahi tuna paired with Peruvian white sweet potato puree and rainbow chard ($25), and carnivorous cravers can carve into classic 6-ounce center-cut filet mignon ($29) and exotic kangaroo loin ($26) with flame-borne authority. Vegetable aficionados treat tongues to meatless masterpieces such as the opulent eggplant napoleon, sporting gardeny layers of herbed ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, tomato basil sauce, and fresh basil ($19). End an edible excursion by sinking forks and sweet teeth into a dreamy dessert from pastry chef Stephanie Rutkowski's decadent assortment of house-made treats.
Executive chef Eric Orsetti crafts hearty, modern spins on classic Italian cuisine using fresh ingredients and homemade pastas and sauces. Elegant openers from the dinner menu can silence megaphoned stomach rumblings and include the steamed littleneck clams with sweet italian sausage and ginger-white-wine sauce ($10). Forks sing when sinking into the homemade lobster-and-tarragon gnocchi ($24), fluffy dumplings that come cosseted by a brandy-tarragon cream reduction, diced roma tomatoes, and micro greens that add a splash of color under a magnifying glass. The comforting smoked chili slow-braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus ($21) inspire diners to pat bellies and chefs' backs.
Although Frazzberry is nestled in Pike Creek Shopping Center, it was inspired by the West Coast’s proliferation of frozen-yogurt shops. As in many California fro-yo establishments, Frazzberry visitors construct their own desserts from an eclectic choice of flavors, such as chocolate, wild strawberry, and birthday cake. Each creamy flavor is crafted with Grade A milk and active yogurt cultures. To crown their confections, patrons peruse a buffet of toppings ranging from fresh fruit and syrups to crumbles of Heath bar and peanut-butter crunch.
In Vallé Cucina’s kitchen, chefs form fresh jumbo lump crabmeat into thick patties, pan-sear them to a golden-brown hue, and drizzle their crispy crusts with beurre blanc. The eatery’s crab cakes have been hailed by Delaware Today as the city’s best for several years running. Vallé Cucina’s classic Italian entrees are held to the same high standard: chefs hand-roll gnocchi and drizzle them with slow-simmered tomato sauce, and accent dry-aged steaks with elegant flourishes such as peppercorn brandy cream sauce and blue cheese. Servers recommend selections from Vallé Cucina’s vast wine list to enhance steaks or Trevi Fountain reproductions.
In Kyoto’s three restaurants, tangy aromas of teriyaki and wasabi mingle with wafts of warm, simmering curry and sweet almond sauce. Whether slicing and molding rolls at the sushi bar or performing at the hibachi grill, Kyoto’s chefs craft Japanese dishes as deftly as they orchestrate fare from China and Thailand. All three locations unfurl a slightly different menu, combining more than 55 sushi rolls and varied meats prepared on the grill, crisped in the katsu style, or tossed with soba or udon noodles so diners can taste the many flavors of Asia without erecting a complex, transcontinental zipline system.
For example, the signature spicy seafood eggplant appetizer combines grilled eggplant, chopped shrimp, scallops, and fish eggs, topped by a spicy mayo. The Kyoto tartar, or chopped avocado, salmon, tuna, and caviar is also topped with the spicy mayo, while the most popular menu item, the Kyoto scallop au gratin, is topped with enoki mushrooms.
A fully stocked hardwood bar, lit by glowing lights and wreathed with strings of flowers, marks the centerpiece of the Wilmington restaurant, whereas hibachi grills, with chefs creating columns of flames as they chop veggies and sear meats, draw attention in West Chester. Each location bathes diners in dramatic blue lighting, and the West Chester location maintains additional atmosphere with a stone wall mural and a small arched garden bridge.