- 821 North Market St., Wilmington, DE, 19801
- Overall User Rating:
- (0 ratings)
- 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. M-F, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Sat
- Official Web Site:
At Chelsea Tavern, the newest restaurant on Market Street in the former home of 821, the flavors are fresh and the beers are flowing. With appetizers and bar snacks like beer-battered pickle wedges ($6), spicy and sweet toasted nuts ($4), crispy calamari ($9) and bourbon chicken liver crostini ($5), this is the kind of place where you can make a meal out of just the snacks and brews, if you wanted to.
Our quartet started our meal with the house made soft pretzel crullers ($6), served with whole grain mustard and queso poblano sauce, and the lollipop chicken wings ($8). Take a soft pretzel that's crusty, buttery and salty on the outside with a soft, doughy inside, unroll it and you have a soft pretzel cruller. The three, foot-long crullers were delicious on their own, but a potent whole-grain mustard and the spicy, thick cheese dip put them over the top.
The lollipop chicken wings are so named because the meat is all pushed up to the top of each wing. A thick, sticky chipotle honey glaze clung to the crispy skin of the wings. Each bite was a balanced combination of sweet and hot that made these some of the best wings in the city. Though we could have noshed on appetizers all night, we moved on to the main events on the menu.
They're taking advantage of the wood-burning oven, using it to make a variety of pizzas on a Belgian Ale crust. The classic margherita pizza ($9), layered plum tomatoes, house made mozzarella and a chiffonade of basil on top of that crust. It wasn't over-seasoned, letting the pure flavors of all the ingredients shine through.
Every burger on the menu is served on buttery, brioche rolls made in house daily. My juicy grass-fed beef burger ($12), came on one of those rolls, topped with heavily caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and two thick slices of bacon. The burgers and sandwiches are all served with trio fries, a mix of shoestring-cut Idaho potatoes, sweet potatoes and leeks. I was hesitant about the leeks, but they gave an oniony bite to the mix, like finding a crunchy onion ring amongst your fries.
A flat-iron steak was also served with those fries as their steak frites entrée ($19). The steak was perfectly cooked, rosy all the way through. Its beefy flavor was complemented by a stilton-cheese scallion butter served atop the steak. The grilled salt and pepper shrimp ($15), was another winner, though the grilled romaine made it more of a salad than an entree.
For dessert, we tried their flourless chocolate torte ($7) and malted ice cream sundae ($8). The torte was dense and rich, with a concentrated bittersweet chocolate flavor.
Chocolate malts are one of my favorite desserts, and this malted ice cream had some serious malt flavor. It was served with chewy chocolate chip cookies, served just warm enough that the chocolate chips were gooey. Our server, Kathleen, was also fantastic. Our only qualm about the new Chelsea Tavern is the décor. The food has so much personality, we can only hope they'll add some pizazz to the décor to match the quality of the food.