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Saturday, January 24, 2009

JAKE'S -- GREAT DELAWARE SEAFOOD

Jakes
4443 Highway One
Rehobeth Beach, DE 19971
(302) 644-7711
jakesseafood.com

We hit a spot on the Coastal Highway heading toward Rehobeth Beach, DE where seafood restaurants begin to border the roadway. Coincidentally it was just about lunch time, and where else but the Delmarva Peninsula can one get the best crab cakes?

Rob and I stop at the first seafood sign we see. To our dismay, it’s a market—but a friendly one—and after a few minutes’ chit chat, the recommendation is Jakes Seafood House, just a short distance along the Coastal Highway.

Jake's is a lovely restaurant, spacious, unpretentious, and filled with people who seem happy with why they’re here. Food is why its customers are here, and good food is what they get. This family-owned restaurant has a sterling reputation, and Jake's Seafood House aims to keep it. The original Jake's in Baltimore has been in the Schneider family for 50 years. The founder’s daughter, Lois, and her son, Bill, opened this Rehobeth Beach restaurant in 1988.

Rob and I skip the menu listings for steaks, chicken, and pasta. We head straight for the seafood wondering if we should splurge on a big bowl of seafood bisque, Jake’s specialty, described as a delectable combination of lobster, shrimp, scallops, and lump crab meat in a rich cream-sherry base. Sounds soooo good, but we decide to be prudent since we’ve no idea yet what Allison and Don will do for lunch or what we four will do for dinner. They’re coming up from Virginia to meet us for a weekend at Rehobeth Beach.

Rob and I settle on the lump crab cake sandwich. We choose, at our waitress’ suggestion, to have it fried. We are served a large home-made crab cake on a wonderfully soft roll. The crab cake is stupendous, and if you’ve followed our crab cake adventures, we’ve tried them all over Maryland, Virginia, and even South Carolina. Now it is Delaware’s turn to enter the contest. We thought we had the best at Woody’s in Northeast, Maryland, but Jake’s’ definitely rivals Woody’s.

The crab cakes are made fresh daily from a recipe that has been in the Schneider family for over 70 years. That’s no antique; that’s a classic! I don’t think Jake’s uses a filler in the cake. This is a crab cake made of big, meaty chunks of crab—not shredded, not diced, but big discernible hunks of fresh, succulent crab held together with a light, fried coating. This Maryland delight is accompanied by lettuce, tomato, and some of the best french fries we’ve ever tasted.

What a great way to begin a vacation!

There is another Jake’s in downtown Rehobeth Beach (closed Jan. & Feb.), and Allison, Don, Rob, and I end up there for dinner where we do get to taste the seafood bisque and some dinner selections. Wonderful. If you are ever in the vicinity, Jake’s should be on your hit list.

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