14 North Pennsylvania Ave.
Bethany Beach, Delaware
14 Global is located right next to the Post Office in Bethany Beach about 30 minutes north of the Ocean City Boardwalk. It is a small restaurant with a 5 or 6 seat bar and about a 50 seat dining room. It is the kind of store front that you might just walk right by and never even notice and that was my biggest problem with writing this review (wanting to maybe keep this restaurant a secret). I was torn between wanting to tell everyone about this gem and keeping it all to myself and those “in the know” already. In the end I figured that kind of selfishness just leads to bad karma and I can do without any more of that so welcome to 14 Global. As I have stated, the restaurant is small but very nicely appointed in warm woods and comfortable furniture. The kitchen area is exposed and visible through a service counter and window and the music is “world pop”. The servers are young, friendly and well trained in keeping things fun and casual and that is the best way to describe 14 Global’s menu and atmosphere, FUN.
The menu is broken down into sections of Soups, Salads, A La Carte, Delicious Dips and Communal Plates. The first 4 sections are designed as appetizers and the Communal Plates are tapas-like but be warned, the serving sizes are generous so be careful not to over order and believe me, you will be tempted to over order. I would suggest starting with the Trio of Soups; the Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup is best described as a thin version of great guacamole while the Island Style Seafood Stew has fresh seafood and vegetables in a spicy-sweet curry broth and the Asian Spiced Sweet Corn Soup is loaded with corn in a spicy corn broth with noodles. The trio is presented in a 3 compartment soup tureen and the Chilled Avocado Soup should have been served in the middle bowl in order to facilitate cooling the palate between the other two soups. The A La Carte and Delicious Dips sections are full of interesting appetizers and sides but a few of the standouts are the Seafood Mac & Cheese, creamy and full of lobster and crab flavor with a decadent aroma of truffle. Also the Caramelized Brussel Sprouts could change the minds of all those who hate the little cabbages; these are caramelized to a gentle sweetness and loaded with bacon pieces. The Hand Cut Fries were limp and oily when I ordered them so maybe the second fry should be at a higher temperature.
The Communal Plates, unlike most other restaurants, is where 14 Global really reaches its stride. Usually the appetizer section of most dining operations is where the chef allows him/herself to be most creative and take a few risks and then dials it back for the entrees; not so here and I say Thank You! The Communal Plates are well balanced and the ingredients are complimentary to each other on the plate, which is quite an accomplishment. The Coconut Shrimp Skewers are crunchy on the outside while keeping the shrimp moist and tender. The good size shrimp are served with a fruity and tangy mango, kiwi and bell pepper salsa and a light and fresh lemon and thyme aioli. The Wild Game Sliders were juicy and served on brioche mini rolls with cheddar cheese and an onion jam. My only comment is that if you are going to designate something on your menu as “Game” then you should know that Lamb and Duck are really not considered “game” anymore. You are obviously trying to be a fun, innovative restaurant who likes to take chances so if you say “game” then go “GAME”. The Beef Short Rib Stuffed Jalapenos will change your mind of what a “jalapeno popper” can be. These are fresh jalapenos, still crisp after frying and stuffed with a cheese and short rib mixture then wrapped in bacon and served with a roasted garlic aioli for dipping. The Global Mini Tacos are very fresh and served in the authentic style with shaved cabbage, Pico de Gallo, queso fresco and a lemon/thyme aioli. They can be ordered with a Spice Rubbed Lobster or Braised Beef Short Rib filling or in combination but at this point I would have to say go with the Lobster. The Braised Short Rib was dry and sticky and in need of some seasoning. A possible solution would be to offer a Ropa Vieja or Carne Asada filling instead. The Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs were tender and flavorful and the pasta was well cooked in a very nice tomato and mint sauce. The Char Grilled Hanger Steak was cooked perfectly to my desired temperature with a bright and tangy Chimichurri sauce and was accompanied by a Peruvian Purple Potato Gratin which tasted much, much better than it looked.
Holy Cow! I almost forgot the Bar and Drink menu. Along with 14 Global having a innovative food menu the Bar menu is equally fun and imaginative. There are many creative concoctions and I encourage everyone to try as many as you can (except for the designated driver, of course). Being a traditionalist, when it comes to my alcoholic tastes, my favorites are the Global Traditional Margarita which is made correctly with fresh lime juice and no orange juice and the Brazilian Caipirinha which is made with Leblon Cachaca, a very potent sugar cane alcohol, fresh limes and sugar served over ice. Be careful they are addicting, especially on a hot summer day or night. After ordering and consuming far too many drinks and food the only dessert I have tried is the Trio of Crème Brulees. The night I ordered them the flavors were traditional Vanilla, Lemon and Mixed Berry. They were all creamy with a lovely velvety texture and the fired sugar crust was crisp and chipped beautifully. The Vanilla was exactly as expected while the Lemon needed to be more lemony and tart but the Mixed Berry was filled with berries and was the star of the Trio.
To be honest most of the time after I write a review I really don’t return to the restaurant for quite a while. Believe me when I tell you that will not be the case with 14 Global! This is a great little find and perfect for a fun night out with friends or a date or just a quick lunch. Everyone has their own opinions on our growing Global Economy but when it comes to Global Cuisine and 14 Global I say GO! GO! GLOBAL!