When it comes to entertaining at home, Riche Griffin says, “KISS is one of the best rules:Keep It Simple, Stupid.” As chef and co-owner of Dish— the hot, year-old eclectic restaurant in Rehoboth Beach— Griffin is a natural when it comes to throwing a bash for friends at his Rehoboth home.
Style dropped by to see the ebullient chef and foodie in action, as he and his partner, Stephan Maybroda, hosted a casual supper for 20. “I’ve worked in a ton of great restaurants and I love food,” says Griffin. “When we travel, more of our budget goes for dining out than for hotels.”
So what makes for a good, casual dinner party for friends? Lots of little courses and nibbles. “I don’t like chafing dishes— they’re bad for the food,” says Griffin. “I like to do courses, so that people can eat a little, then talk a little, rather than loading up a big plate.”
Griffin likes to prepare most of the courses ahead, and advises planning a menu that will be able to remain on a serving buffet without losing flavor or requiring a lot of maintenance. “Food should be able to stay out and still be good, so that guests can eat as they come and go,” he says. “You should be able to put everything out, then go and enjoy your own party.”
One exception is grilled shrimp, which can be skewered and marinated ahead of time, then quickly grilled and heaped on a large serving platter. Says Griffin: “You can even have a responsible guest do that— it’s social.” And he swears by his trusty traditional Weber grill. “I always prefer to cook over coals, rather than with a gas grill.”
Other tips? “Always have great, fun music,” says Griffin. “We listen to techno all day long at the restaurant, so we’re going with ’70s disco tonight.”
And when it comes to cocktails, again, simple is best. For large gatherings, Griffin likes to keep the options to beer, wine and champagne. For more intimate groups, he recommends serving a signature cocktail, like a Cosmopolitan, along with mixed drinks during the appetizers, then pouring wine with dinner.
And what about cleanup? “This is key,” he says, conspiratorially. “Don’t prepare too much food— you want everything you put out to be eaten, so that you’re not cleaning up all night after everyone leaves.”
We like the way he thinks.
(paté, mountain gorgonzola, brie, fontina, smoked gouda, pepperoni)
Prosciutto-wrapped melon with strawberries
Green salad with nuts and Parmesan
Roasted beef tenderloin
Grilled marinated shrimp skewers
Roasted potatoes with Parmesan
Grilled asparagus stalks
Grilled chibatta breads
Grilled vegetable medley