Blackwall Hitch, located a block off the boardwalk, in Rehoboth Beach, DE is a restaurant that uses locally sourced ingredients to put their flair on coastal cuisine. So, when they reached out to us about their new exclusive house oyster, we couldn’t help but get a little excited. Not only that, but they invited us over to do a little tasting of these one-of-a-kind oysters with their new Executive Chef, Chip Miller.
The Blackwall Hitch location in Rehoboth Beach, DE is preparing to celebrate its first birthday this Memorial Day and, in conjunction, they are laying the groundwork on their brand new menu. We sat down with Executive Chef Chip Miller to discuss the new menu and, his pride and joy, their exclusive Blackwall Beauty oysters.
Chef Miller has been cooking for over 17 years; spending the last 10 years as either a Sous Chef or Executive Chef. He previously worked at the two other Blackwall Hitch locations in Alexandria, VA and Annapolis, MD, having worked for the company for the last two years. His professional life did not begin in the culinary arena. Chef Miller originally began his education in Marine Technology at a school in North Carolina. Miller had always had a passion for the sea and everything it could provide. He eventually found himself returning home where he started taking culinary classes at Anne Arundel Community College. His resume includes Executive Chef at Ram’s Head ShoreHouse, Sous Chef at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, and a stint cooking alongside Chef Spike Gjerde at James Beard Award-winning Woodberry Kitchen.
We started off talking about the gorgeous plate of oysters he sat down on the bar. The Blackwall Beauty oysters are served with a cucumber lemon mignonette, a mango mignonette, lemons, cocktail, and the most adorable tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce we’ve ever seen! Chef Miller explained that the oysters are farm-raised off Assateague Island by a private farmer just for Blackwall Hitch. The oysters are grown in long cylindrical tubes that rotate, which gives them their nice, deep cup. Miller explained that many restaurants carry either Blue Point Oysters, which have a very mild salinity, or Choptank Sweets, which, as you may have guessed, have a rather sweet taste. The Blackwall Beauty, named in a contest by the restaurant’s guests, have a balanced flavor in the mid-range for salinity. The first delivery of these oysters had just arrived at the restaurant a day prior to our visit so we were only the second people to give them a try! Chef Miller is also hoping that since these oysters are farm-raised, they will be able to raise and serve them year round.
In an effort to not embarrass ourselves, we asked Chef Miller to explain the proper way to eat an oyster. It really is as easy as we had thought: simply hold the oyster by the cup (the deeper end), raise to your lips, and drink! If the oyster has been shucked properly, it should slide right out. The Blackwall Beauty oysters had a nice brine up front with a sweeter finish, just as Chef Miller had promised us. The cucumber lemon mignonette was delicious and we were a little disappointed when our plate of oysters had been devoured.
The restaurants are currently working on redoing their whole oyster program. Soon, they will have an oyster cart with a live shucker in the restaurant to make the dining experience more interactive and to also help guests learn more about the origin of their food. Next up, they plan to redo their entire raw bar program. Their Corporate Chef, Chef Mike, will be spearheading this project. Chef Miller explained, “the cool thing about Blackwall Hitch is that the Chefs have a lot of input on the new menu. We get to express our creativity and we really have full reign over the daily specials.”
Chef Miller went on to explain how excited he was for the local farmers’ markets to start. He plans to visit frequently and select ingredients that are fresh for his daily dishes. They are also planning a series of cooking demonstrations throughout the community this summer. Chef Miller wants to showcase their Mid-Atlantic coastal cuisine along with the importance of sustainability to their guests and the community alike. His background in Marine Technology has taught him the importance of sustainability and stewardship of the local environment. The restaurants even participate in the Oyster Recovery Program and donate their shells to the cause.
In addition to celebrating local food, all three Blackwall Hitch locations feature local music acts frequently. The Blackwall Hitch location in Rehoboth has live jazz performances during their Sunday brunch.
The next time you’re craving oysters, or just a great meal, make sure to check out Blackwall Hitch in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Their locally sourced ingredients are thoughtfully combined to make fresh, one-of-a-kind dishes that are sure to leave you satisfied. We give the Blackwall Beauty oysters two thumbs up!