Sometimes good stuff turns up in the most unlikely places. For example, who wooda thought that you'd find an amazing crabcake at Woody's East Coast Bar & Grill in Dewey Beach? Not that I expected anything bad, but it's such an unassuming little spot, tucked into a tiny strip center with Vavala's Beach Things and a Post Office.
After many emails urging me to try the place, one of my favorite Foodettes finally took action: She told me to get my a** out in front of my house so she could pick me up and and drive me to Woody's. This very funny (and terminally irreverent) lady LOVES good crabcakes. She also drives a shiny silver Mercedes convertible, so who was I to say no?
Enough chit-chat. As usual, she was correct. Woody's crabcakes are among the best (and perhaps even the best) that I have had here at the beach. Chunks, chunks and more chunks of lumb crabmeat are held together with ... well, I'm not sure how they hold it together, because I tasted only crabmeat with little or no filler or mayo. (OK, truth be told, I couldn't in good conscience call myself a Foodie if I actually didn't know how they do it. Of course I know. But I'll leave it to you to guess.)
On our first visit, I had the platter. The two baseball-sized cakes are well portioned for the $24 price tag. They are baked and quickly seared on top and are accompanied by homemade potato chips (yup, they whip 'em up in-house). Trust me: Potato chips are a pain in the you-know-what to make. Unless they're stirred constantly, they will happily congeal into an oily and starchy lump of semi-cooked nastiness. Somebody back in the kitchen is stirring. Then they sprinkle on a light dusting of Old Bay. It all works.
On another visit, I ordered the crabcake sandwich [pictured, right]. That way I can get the crabcake again, but still act the part of a proper reviewer by saying that I ordered something different. The expected orb of lightly seared crabmeat appeared, but the real surprise was the roll. Regulars here at RF know how I whine about rolls. A sandwich on a stale or pretentiously too-firm roll must be immediately destroyed.
A proper roll gently cradles the contents of the sandwich, adjusting its shape to allow for comfortable bites, each maintaining the critical stuff-to-roll ratio. Lightly firm on the outside (enough to hold its shape), but soft and yielding to invite a definitive chomp into without everything flying out of the other side and pinning your dining companion to the wall. Actually the roll reminded me of another (much larger) seafood place just up the road a bit in Rehoboth Beach that also (most of the time...) has an equally soft and eggy challah-like roll. Both places toast the roll lightly so it encircles the crabcake like a pro. $14 is a very fair price for this delicacy.
An accompanying Foodie-in-Waiting had the Dewey Dunker (thin-sliced beef on the same delightful roll, with a side bucket of au jus). He loved it (think French Dip without the onions and cheese). Another ordered the Chicklet. I frowned, "It's just buffalo chicken on bread," but she defied me (I like that). A firm and moist breast is slathered with a fairly regulation buffalo sauce and topped with bleu cheese. OK, a little pedestrian, I admit, but deliciously executed--and on that nice roll.
Last but not least, the Chicken Cheese Steak appears with quality ingredients, sauteed onions and any number of cheesy choices. The only appetizer we have had so far is the Fried Pickles [pictured, right]. The dill spears are lightly and evenly coated with a crispy spiced breading that perfectly compliments the acidic pickle. They are quite good, and are served with "Woody Sauce." Basically a Ranchy dressing with a bit of mayo and some mild spices.
Woody's East Coast Bar & Grill is located at 1904 Highway One, on the east side. The food and attitude there is worth beating back the tipsy Dewey crowds. The young server was friendly, and apparently, when things get busy, the guy in the kitchen is not above running your food to you while it's still hot. Nice touch!
As yet there is no online menu to which I can link you, but our friendly server was kind enough to act as a human easel so my lovely Foodette could snap a picture [left]. Give 'em a call off-season to make sure they are open (302) 260-9945. (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate-.