If there was one restaurant I couldn’t wait to eat at while I was in Delaware over Spring Break, it was Espuma. During the summer, we don’t dine in Rehoboth often, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so in the off-season. Even though it is only a twenty minute drive, it is a pain to find parking in the area; therefore, we often spend more time eating near Bethany and the Fenwick Island area. However, last summer we did make a trip to Rehoboth to check out the highly praised Eating Rehoboth Tour. With the opportunity to sample food at five different restaurants, my mom and I thought it would be the perfect way to check out the food scene in Rehoboth. One of the places we stopped at was Espuma, and after falling in love with our sample plate there, I was determined to return. Of course, I didn’t realize I’d have to wait until many months later to do so, but it was well worth the wait.
Since we stopped by this location during the off-season, the restaurant was not packed, which was nice because it allowed our friendly waiter to be really hands-on and give us detailed suggestions throughout our meal. He even told us all about the special fruit drinks that the restaurant features daily and can be ordered in either mojito, margarita, or martini form. The special fruits that day were blueberries and strawberries and led to my mom getting one very pretty drink that probably had a full serving of fruit in it. If that’s not a good excuse to drink, I don’t know what is! One suggestion he made that I thoroughly appreciated was the Lemongrass Teq-ini, which was a lovely blend of stoli, lemongrass, and passion fruit, and so good that I finished it before any of our appetizers even came out. In the interest of my sobriety, I switched over to an equally delicious Trefethen Merlot, that was also yummy, but lent itself to sipping over gulping. As a passionate Merlot girl, I can confidently say that this was one of the best ones I’ve had in a while.
As far as food goes, Espuma immediately won some points with me when our waiter brought out a preliminary taste of Parsnip Puree, which came with a carrot chip and pickled red onions. The puree was light and so good that when my mom left a little bit on her spoon, I took it from her and finished it off. The best element of it though was the carrot chip, which reminded me a lot of a crispy plantain and was something I would have ordered on its own. Soon after devouring our first bite, Bread was brought out with several garlic cloves, olive tapenade, and an aioli sauce. I really enjoyed this twist on the traditional bread and butter starter course at other restaurants, and I wish that these two unique ways in which Chef Caputo kicked off our meal were more of a standard in other places.
After these delightful surprises, my madre and I decided to order the Mediterranean Mezze Plate. This came with an assortment of various antipasti, which included some phenomenal speck, a delicious Gouda, and a nice, light chickpea salad. There were numerous other things on the plate, including some pickled carrots and a Gorgonzola, but the first three I mentioned were my favorite. The only thing on the plate that neither my mom nor I were a fan of was the couscous because it was a bit dry. When it was mixed with the olives or other elements of the dish, it wasn’t as noticeable, but the couscous certainly didn’t shine like the rest of the plate. Since everything else was so good, I was a bit disappointed, but this one misstep didn’t change my mind about the overall meal at all.
Once it came time to order our main courses, I opted for a pasta dish, which really surprised my partner in crime that night. As she knows, if someone told me I had to give up pasta and bread for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at it. Pasta really doesn’t do anything for me. However, every so often I come across a pasta on a menu that sounds intriguing to me, and with the promise of homemade pasta, truffles, and a duck egg, I decided to take a leap of faith and try out the Mushroom Lasagne special of the night. I am so happy that I did take this leap and if ever there was a pasta that changed my entire outlook on life, it was this one. It was rich, decadent, and the poached duck egg added an even deeper creamy aspect to the plate. I was so blown away by this course that everything else could have sucked and I still would be tempted to go back for it. This is one of the best main courses I’ve had anywhere and I’m so thankful that I came to Espuma on the night it was a special.
The other entree that we tried was the traditional pasta Bolognese. I’m not a big bolognese girl, but my mom loved the meal. She appreciated the fact that all of the pastas are homemade which manages to make any okay pasta dish a lot better. I think homemade pasta should be required of any great restaurant, and by just looking at her dish, I could tell that it was made with a lot of care and attention to detail. While I would never order a bolognese, I’m sure anyone out there that enjoys this classic would love the one here. No matter what your pasta preference, from our two entrees, it was clear that Chef Caputo wants to serve all diners the best food he can, and he succeeds.
After making sure I gained a solid ten pounds that night, I thought I’d throw on an extra two or three for good measure and ended our evening by opting for the Cookie Plate. This was a mix of various homemade cookies which was a great way to end the meal because it satisfied my sweet tooth without being overly heavy. Considering how heavy and rich my main course was, it was nice to shift gears a bit before heading home.
Some of the things I liked the best were the toasted marshmallow, chocolate chip cookies, and the pistachio brittle. They were all different, but equally phenomenal. The only cookie that really didn’t work well was the macaroon because it was as hard as a rock on the plate, and didn’t show any signs of being soft inside like most macaroons should be. I’m not a big macaroon lover though, so it wasn’t a huge loss for me.
Although there were a few things that didn’t live up to the standards I had placed on Espuma, this was a great, well-rounded meal that will stick with me for a long time to come. Espuma is more than just a great beach spot, it’s a great restaurant in general. Even though I complained about how annoying going to Rehoboth is during the summer, I would be willing to put up with it if I was guaranteed a meal here. It was a fantastic way to spend my break and I can’t wait to enjoy another meal here one day.