Jake’s Old Baltimore Style Seafood
19178 Coastal Highway
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
There’s something about being at the beach that makes me crave seafood. Oysters, crabs, rockfish, oh my! While tanning myself on the beach, a simple search of area restaurants led to a new discovery. Half of the seafood restaurants in Rehoboth are owned by one of a couple parent companies, all having menus that are too similar to each other. All I wanted was rockfish stuffed with crab imperial. If you grew up along the Chesapeake, you would understand how simple this craving was. Instead, search after search of area seafood restaurant menus produced about as much diversity as an alt-right parade. While the food is good at a lot of these places, I expect more from an area whose food options have historically been known for originality. Fortunately, there was one establishment that did not disappoint.
Being a part-time local to the Lewes / Rehoboth area, I must have driven past Jake’s Old Baltimore Style Seafood more times than Melania has had “a headache.” It’s one of those unassuming buildings on Coastal Highway we are quick to look away from. Given that this was the only place I could find that offered what I was looking for, it was time for a review.
Walking into Jake’s, I noticed that the place was big inside and clean looking. The ambiance may not have been anything exciting, but the first few specialty drinks brought to us went down fast. I suggest the Mango Beach or Sunset Summertini, each made with pureed mango and some of the stronger libations. If your date is a hot mess after looking at a glass of wine, order him or her a Riptide and let it be a pleasant surprise.
The food menu offered a larger variety than I found on neighboring menus. You could tell that the Island Coconut Shrimp was made with freshly shaved coconut and paired perfectly with the mango and rum drinks. The scallops seared in a mild mango sauce was another original delight and was a good segue into the crab cakes. About those cakes … ask for them to be fried in peanut oil. It was like eating a crab that just ate a bucket of boardwalk fries – and it was wonderful! A few drops of cider vinegar and the crab dances in your mouth.
I couldn’t leave without trying the main dish that attracted me here: the rockfish stuffed with crab imperial. This was a large portion of very meaty fish stuffed with lots of jumbo lump crab meat in a well-seasoned and mildly rich imperial sauce. The imperial sauce relied more on the flavor of the crab and seasoning instead of too much cream. It had that home-cooked taste instead of the overly-rich textbook version. That would have otherwise ruined a hot night at the beach.
Next time you are in the Lewes / Rehoboth area, make a point to visit Jake’s. It may not be right on the water, but there was plenty of parking, was easy to come and go, and it can also handle large crowds. There are plenty of options for those with land-dwelling cravings, too.
If fish’s the dish, Jake’s the place that takes the cake!
- Michael Ritmiller is a Baltimore native and foodie whose professional career spans across a variety of research & development initiatives in addition to serving local non-profits that benefit the community. An avid believer in supporting small restauranteurs, Michael began writing for Baltimore OUTloud in 2018 with the intent of identifying who offers the “best of” dishes around town.