Kindle is part of the di Sabatino's trinity of Lewes eateries (joining Striper Bites and Half Full, all within waddling distance of one another). Joining them at Kindle are Ian Crandall and Joanna Goode. Though I was a "regular" at the old and more spacious Paynter's Mill location, I dined at the Lewes installation several times before writing this--just to make sure. [See multiple updates below. The last is the most recent.]
Interestingly, one of the negative things that this and the old location share are occasional long waits between courses--even when the restaurant is not crowded. As you read the updates below, this problem seems to have slowly disappeared as Kindle has settled into its new digs.
Gotta start with the Fire Fries. They're seasoned fries served in a clever little spiral cone (I did the same thing in my restaurant back in the '90s, thank you). The dip goes nicely with the crisp potatoes. There are two starters that are the stars of the show. My favorite is the Kindle House Salad (radish quarters, baby greens, cranberries, and lightly toasted almonds in a tart champagne vinaigrette dressing). I could order three and call it a night. (Yeah, right.)
The other salad that I've had many times is the Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. Unfortunately, they no longer include the lightly coated and toasted goat cheese medallion. Instead, the cheese is crumbled onto the salad. I miss the little warm medallion, but the tang of the chevre is a nice counter to the sherry vinaigrette [pictured, below]. I did miss the "flatbread" appetizers (read: little rectangular pizzas) that they had in Paynter's Mill, but maybe they'll reappear on future incarnations. Please add your comments below, especially if you've had some of the appetizers not mentioned here.
One of my favorite entrees is the Spiced Roast Chicken. As of the most recent update, it is still happily on the menu. Yes, it's just chicken, but before you click away in a huff, give it a try. The paprika-spiked honey glaze on the crispy, dark brown skin is not to be missed. The chicken quarter is moist and is accompanied by their gruyere Mac & Cheese [pictured, below] and "baby" greens. Dining companions enjoyed the Braised Lamb Shank (I had it last week, too). It's honest-to-goodness fallin' off the bone, and a nice big one at that. (Would've hated to meet up with that lamb in a dark alley.) Glazed with a red wine/sage mixture, it sits perkily atop a bed of Barley Risotto paired with roasted garlic and still-firm root vegetables. If you like lamb, you'll not be disappointed.
Others at the table ordered the Pan Roasted Filet Mignon [princess cut pictured below] with a mushroom demi-glace and a medley of veggies including arugula, red potatoes and asparagus. It was as tender and meaty as the lamb shank. (They offer a "Princess Cut" for those who consider themselves to be Princesses.) 'Nuf said. The crab cake has been replaced with a tasty scallop dish, but Kindle has taken to rotating things on and off of the menu, so always check.
The sharp cheddar and the thick-cut, smokey bacon on the Kindle Burger both hold their own against the char-grilled beef. I know I whine about rolls and bread, and I must first assure you that the brioche bun was fresh and delicious. But brioche buns are quite firm (take challah and click it up one firmness notch). [See the last update below.] The bun makes it hard to consume this burger in any other way than the knife-and-fork method. Maybe that's the intention (in the past I've made quite a spectacle of myself trying to eat it by hand), but I think a hamburger bun should be more a part of the sandwich rather than a yeasty pedestal upon which the meat is displayed. That being said, I still order the burger regularly.
Order the Gruyere Mac & Cheese as a side [pictured at bottom]. It comes in a fairly small ramekin, but, trust me, it's quite satisfying. Stab anyone with your fork who tries to steal any. No court in the land will convict you.
Kindle is in the middle of it all at 111 Bank Street. Though the food has been consistently good, I don't suggest going if you're in a hurry. Every so often, service comes to an unexplainable halt between courses. This problem is not as pronounced as it used to be, and that's a good thing.
UPDATE: In the original review, this update whined about the consistently slow service. It's been five visits since then, and we have removed this part of the article and readjusted the ratings, as the service has been consistently good every time.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: We have attended Kindle twice since I rewrote the above review, and on the last two visits, our service was fine. We went on "burger night," so of course I had the burger [pictured, above left]. It was delicious, but I have the same gripe I've always had about Kindle's burgers (still included in the review above): The roll, though perfectly fresh and tasty, is simply too firm and tall. The all-important roll/meat ratio is off. If you push the roll down to make a biteable bite, toppings squeeze out. The roll needs to be softer so it cradles the tasty patty and toppings rather than just perching atop of it all, unyielding and recalcitrant. By the way, I subbed broccolini for the fries. I have to tell you it was perfectly cooked. I love it crispy but not woody, and it was just that, with a buttery hint and just a bit of salty spice. It even looks good in the picture, doesn't it? Another of our party had the mustard-encrusted codfish [pictured, above right] and she loved it.
Gadzooks! Yet another UPDATE? Those of you who peruse the visitor comments listed below will see that I got my hand summarily slapped by none other than Ian Crandall, one of the owners of Kindle. Apparently he missed all the nice things I had to say about his restaurant and zero'd in on my complaints about his choice of hamburger roll. Though certainly fresh and tasty, I maintain that it's just too darn firm and big to allow for proper (and even marginally polite) eating. Though I must say I'm honored that Mr. Crandall shared his feelings with me, I'm stickin' by my guns on this one. In fact, I have the same problem with the brioche burger roll at Nage, though Hari and Josh haven't yelled at me (YET). Ian, I love your restaurants, but your burger would even be better if you used a roll like Big Fish Grill, Summerhouse, Woody's in Dewey, Jakes Wayback Burgers (the original roll, not their new one), GoBrit!/Go Fish! (sans the cod, of course) and even Five Guys.
OK, this is getting ridiculous, but I have to give you ANOTHER UPDATE: We visited Kindle last week with a party of 6. They were busy, but the service was perfect. Imagine my surprise when I ordered the hamburger [pictured, above right], and there it was, big as life, a NEW ROLL! It's softer, slightly wider and more pliable than the original brioche referenced and pictured above, and much more appropriate for a hamburger. Kindle's hamburgers are now perfect. The toppings soak into the roll slightly, and there's not too much bread vs. meat. The new photo doesn't show the roll clearly, but trust me, it's great. Proprietor Ian Crandall scolded me rather viciously in a comment (see below) when I suggested that the rolls, though nice in their own right, didn't work on his burgers (please don't tell him, but I was honored). I am now even more honored that Kindle has made their already delicious burger even better by serving it on a roll that makes it so much easier to eat. Chef Ian, if your decision had nothing to do with my criticism, would you at least let me think that it did?
Might as well take this opportunity to show you some of the other stuff we had. The Vegetarian Potato Gnocchi [pictured, above left] entree is not the marinara-slathered dish you'd expect. Tomatoes, mushrooms, greens and asparagus share a light butter/chardonnay broth with the house-made dumplings, and our eating companion cleaned his plate.
The BLT Salad [pictured, left] is as good as ever. Think Wedge, but chopped. The Roasted Beet & Blue Cheese Salad also survives and it's just as good as ever [pictured, right]. We also ordered the Lemon Crusted Cod. I felt it could have been a bit more "crusted," but the person who ordered it loved it, along with the accompanying rice, crab and asparagus.
The Princess Cut Filet Mignon [pictured, right] rested in a delightful wine-based demi with a medley of simply delicious mushrooms and herbed potatoes.
Of course, you can't go to Kindle without getting the Mac 'n' Cheese side. Go ahead. Just look at the photo [left].
The ratings have been changed to reflect our recent visits to Kindle. I suspect it's back to its former Paynters Mill glory, folks.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Parking can be a challenge, but everyone parks in the bank lot across the street (after hours) and there doesn't seem to be any problem. In the summer you can dine al fresco on a little bar arrangement on the front porch while sipping, nibbling and quietly commenting on the passersby. Kindle suggests you "Eat, Drink, Glow." You can do all three, inside and out (weather permitting).
One of the good things to come from their downsizing is that they now take reservations. Give 'em a call at 302-645-7887. The rather circumspect and overly austere Peter has moved on to greener pastures (well, Stingray in Rehoboth, if you must know) but he was always accommodating and efficient. We hope you'll get the same treatment from the new podium dwellers, whomever they may be. Click here to see Kindle's dinner menu. (L. in season only, D., Bar) Price range: Expensive -.
THE BEER GEEK
Their beer menu is short, yet substantial. 2 taps and 10 bottles, but a great selection. Here's a few of my favorites....
(Note: These three beers were all bottle/can selections)
Caldera IPA- Great West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale)! Super hoppy, with a lot of pine and some nice citrus notes. A lot of bitterness for you hopheads, but it's balanced nicely with the malt.
Allagash Dubbel- A nice Dubbel from this Maine brewery, pours a dark, milky amber color, with a lot of sweet maltiness and fruits in the nose. A lot of malt in the taste with some dried fruits and spice. I thought that it went well with the Chocolate torte for dessert.
La Fin Du Monde- A very highly rated Trippel with lots of sweet, citrusy notes in the nose. That sweetness isn't quite as prevalent upon tasting this straw colored brew but, a light malt flavor comes forward. This is by far, one of the best Tripels available today.
Kindle also has the local Evolution Craft Brewing's Exile ESB (Extra Special/Strong Bitter) in bottles, along with Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA on tap.
As a side note, in my most recent visit to Kindle they had Dogfish's newest limited release, Hellhound On My Ale, on tap. This is a bold Double/Imperial IPA that was brewed with lemons. Lots of assertive hops with a touch of lemon, and a good malt backbone to add some body. Definitely a must try, but don't expect it to last long on tap.