The foodie TV show that brings together real diners for their candid takes on popular local restaurants will serve up The House of William & Merry this week.
Thursday’s episode of PBS’ Check, Please! will gather citizen-reviewers around the proverbial dining room table to slice and dice their experience at the Hockessin eatery, opened eight years ago by husband and wife duo Merry Catanuto and Bill Hoffman.
The House of William & Merry will be the second of three Delaware restaurants to be featured on the show, following Del Pez’s star turn last week and the scheduled April 9 airing of the roundtable review of Wilmington’s Mrs. Robino’s.
Check, Please! restaurants were selected based on fan recommendations, and in the case of William & Merry, food writer Matt Sullivan made a compelling pitch to show producers.
“We are blessed to have some very good regulars here, and writer Matt Sullivan is one of them,” said Merry Catanuto. “He’s been around the food scene for many years, but he’s followed us since the beginning,” she said.
“When we found out it (the anonymous recommender) was Matt, we were like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do this,” said Bill Hoffman.
Catanuto and Hoffman say the food at the House of William & Merry is “very, very much fine dining” because of the quality of the ingredients, the kitchen techniques and price points. But they say the atmosphere is relaxed and casual. “We focus on doing as much from scratch as possible and doing things the right way,” says Catanuto. “The food is very seasonal, local, but more focused on the best quality we can find that even if it isn’t local,” she said.
Some of the more unique things you might find on the menu might be foie gras, octopus, sweetbreads or Day Boat fish, duck and wild boar.
On last week’s episode, Check, Please! diners dishing on Del Pez called it a great neighborhood spot at the Wilmington Riverfront. And they agreed that the “synthetic” feel of the relatively new space belies the quality of the food and the hip architectural design inside. Anonymous nominator James Knight, who “loves to gush about this place,” said Del Pez has it all — a great location near downtown, prices that won’t break the bank and sweet corn cakes that feel like a hug.
Andy, one of the Philadelphia diners said of Del Pez, “My wife and I got the nachos because we felt like that was a really hard thing to do differently or better, and we were really pleasantly surprised at how good they were… But they also advertise themselves as a Mexican gastropub, and I felt like we had to honor both parts of that. The burger was super solid – it had an egg on top and avocado. But the real kicker was no bacon — they use thick slice pork belly. It was a mess, but it was awesome.”