Enter the Green Room, the signature restaurant at Hotel du Pont, and you’ll feel as though you stepped back into a Downton Abbey-esque era, a time when fine dining meant white table linens accented by floral centerpieces and meals were delivered by servers with impeccable manners.
The 100-year-old hotel is located in the heart of downtown Wilmington, Delaware, which has been dubbed the nation’s “corporate capital” for its business-friendly taxes and laws. Movers and shakers meet in the corner table that overlooks Rodney Square. Brunch here, which features salad and dessert buffets and your choice of an entrée, is a tradition among Wilmington blue bloods. So is the afternoon tea in the Green Room Bar and Lobby Lounge.
Despite its stately history (fun fact: Rosalind Russell performed Auntie Mame at the DuPont Theatre, located in the hotel, and she received a standing ovation when entering the restaurant), the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is hardly staid. The dinner service, for instance, features red, gold and black-rimmed Versace china. And even in this traditional setting — the hotel is owned by the DuPont Company — executive chef Keith Miller is unafraid to take chances. A fillet of Verlasso salmon, served atop colorful ribbons of yellow and red peppers, is accompanied by seared scallops and purple fingerling potatoes. Scallop crudo comes with sea spears, radishes, jalapeño and a yuzu-duck gelée.
Veteran pastry chef Michele Mitchell tweaks the traditional. Take her “reconstructed” strawberry shortcake, for instance; it’s made with olive oil shortcake, balsamic-roasted strawberries and white chocolate ice cream, all artfully arranged to leave white space on the plate. One thing happily remains the same: You receive complimentary melt-in-your-mouth macarons at the meal’s end.