La La Land Restaurant
22 Wilmington Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
If I had to summarize my visit to La La Land in one word, that word would be Fun-tastic! La La Land is an extraordinary fine-dining restaurant and bar with a fun artistic style, funky atmosphere and some of the best food you’ll find in the Rehoboth area. I whiled away an entire evening there, in delicious style. The walls, the ceiling, the bar, the furniture, and even the bathrooms are works of art and passion. The original work was all done by local artist John Munford, and some of it has been updated by one of the owners, Rosi.
My evening started with a visit to the intimate bar, just a short walk between the east and west wings and across the patio. David, the bartender, prepared for me a vodka martini so dry that, in his words, “is guaranteed to make you thirsty.” I won’t give away David’s secret for getting just the right touch with the vermouth, but suffice it to say that it was both inventive and effective.
I dined with Rosi who filled me in on the details of the 13 year history of La La Land — how it became the fantasy land of fine dining. We sat on the patio amidst the twinkling lights, tiki torches and bamboo as the evening darkened, opened to the sky. We started with the Summer Spring Rolls, a light and delectable take on the classic spring roll. These Summer Rolls are filled with veggies and fruit and are served with a sauce that delights every part of your tongue. The fruit makes this so sweet it could almost be a dessert and the curry and pineapple in the sauce balance it perfectly.
Then I absolutely had to try the La La Land signature salad — their Hearts of Romaine. Served with chunks of blue cheese and sun dried cherries in a passionfruit vinaigrette, this is a salad that appeals to all of your senses. The mix of colors was enticing as was the aroma, and the romaine was as crisp as you’re likely to find. The complex flavors fairly explode in your mouth with the rich cheese, the tart cherries and the sweet passionfruit. I had only a small taste, to leave room for our entrees, but the regular serving is plenty enough for a meal. Or two.
Rosi and I split two entrees: the Chili Crusted Rack of Lamb and a Tenderloin Stuffed with Lobster (which was the day’s special). The lamb came in a tomato-blood orange demi-glace that was exquisite. It filled my mouth with flavors and was tender beyond expectation. I was frankly a little skeptical about the tenderloin-lobster combination, but that only allowed me to be magnificently surprised. It was a perfect, pink, juicy medium-rare and its flavor mixed with the lobster as if they were born together. It is impossible for me to pick which of these entrees to rave about the most. The accompaniments of garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus spears were well executed but understandably took a back seat to the stars of the plate.
We let the other owner and manager, Jeff Brady, select the wine for us, and he did not disappoint. Jeff started in the restaurant business when he was 16 and his experience shows. He chose a 1997 Napa Valley Merlot from Duckhorn Vineyards which was light and flavorful and full of character. It was the perfect compliment for our varied meal.
A full meal for two, including appetizers, salads, entrees and dessert can easily run to $100 and with cocktails, after dinner drinks and a good bottle of wine can exceed $150. But given the large portions (easily enough to split for two), the beautiful presentations and the amazing play of flavors this is a bargain for some of the finest dining you’ll find in any city.
You’ll need reservations on the weekends during the season, and even throughout the week once mid-July gets here, so plan ahead because it’s worth it. If I had more than two thumbs, I’d give La La Land more than two thumbs up!
This is Billy the Babe saying give the delicious fantasy of La La Land a try. You’ll love it! I did.