Bethany Beach Restaurant Review: 14 Global’s Fusion Cuisine is Out of This World
Back to the fusion: The flavors—and the clever craft cocktails—are otherworldly at 14 Global.
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The farm-to-table movement was supposed to kill restaurants like 14 Global, which opened in 2012. Lucky for us, it didn’t. When Sexton, along with chefs Shane Kellagher and John Speziale hit their marks, they spun some of the sharpest, most satisfying food going in Sussex County last summer.
The chefs, working from inside a matchbox-sized kitchen, often stoked their international ingredients into warm and vivacious things. Like their vividly aromatic Island Soup, whose smoky-sweet tendrils of crab and white fish swished in a coconut-infused broth. A hidden snap of lime and lemongrass added depth and backbone. Or their crisp but malleable pork belly confit, which was cured and smoked in-house. The hunk of pork radiated with a sinful chipotle-honey glaze, which dripped onto a pleasing bed of polenta studded with sweet corn, roasted red peppers and Manchego cheese.
Kellagher, whose previous stops include Rehoboth’s Pickled Pig Pub, clearly knows his way around a hog. Bacon snuck its way into lots of dishes—never a bad thing. The best of the bunch was his soulful little stacks of cornpone. Baked, then fried, the crispy logs were fused with generous hunks of bacon and cheddar cheese, then drizzled with maple syrup, landing a direct hit to the sweet-salty pleasure center of the brain. So too did the crispy duck confit and shaved asparagus salad. Dressed lightly in the smooth, sweetening notes of tarragon and green goddess dressing, the peppery asparagus, microgreens and salt-cured duck leg never overpowered, yet remained nicely balanced. Of course, where would sweet-and-salty be without its poster child, bacon ice cream? House-churned into a rich, velvety fluff and punctuated with caramel and biscotti, it was every bit as decedent as, well, bacon ice cream should be.
Simpler applications are OK, too, especially when solid technique can back it up. Kellagher and Speziale rendered pan-seared red snapper flesh into a perfect golden-brown crisp, which flaked apart beautifully into dollops of kiwi-strawberry compote. They wrangled the subtle gaminess out of grilled kangaroo steak before stuffing it into slider buns and expanding its flavor with slathers of Cabot cheddar, onion jam and garlic aioli. Elsewhere, a salty horseradish crust managed to assert itself just enough to enliven halibut filet without overpowering it, while a bed of toothsome white beans captured the punchy jus overflow.