For many years, Bethany Beach restaurants have been held in high regard for their diverse selections,creative cuisine and delectable dishes. The tradition continues with the opening of 99 Sea Level
Perfectly perched off the boardwalk at 99 Hollywood St. is Bethany Beach’s newest hotspot eatery, 99 Sea Level. The venue is actually situated in the new Marriott Bethany Ocean Suites, which pretty much guarantees DCDE Hospitality (Bethany Blues, The Starboard) a robust and profitable procession of tourists during peak season. Much like a proper Nantucket-style beach house, the motif is swathed in friendly teals and tans, with elegant high ceilings and picturesque views of the ocean through banks of huge picture windows that admit floods of sunshine throughout the interior.
The restaurant launched in July with a raw bar-and-seafood theme courtesy of Executive Chef Danio Samoza, an El Salvadoran émigré who reportedly spent months assiduously crafting and tweaking the menu. Samoza made his bones, as it were, at Bethany Blues, where he acquired and honed his skill with French, American and Asian cuisines.
Especially popular menu items at 99 Sea Level include the gluten-free Hooper’s Island crab cakes, fresh fish tacos with crunchy avocado, seafood mac and cheese, Black Angus bone-in rib eye with crispy onions, and the prodigious whiskey Kobe burger, which is capped with a sunny-side-up egg. Boasting the trendy farm-to-table freshness that has swept over the region like a tsunami, Samoza says they constantly troll local fisheries, farms and gardens for the procurement of their key ingredients.
The restaurant’s putative signature dish is called the Seafood Tower, which conglomerates made-to-order delicacies straight from the raw bar, including Blue Point Chincoteague oysters, steamed shrimp, Broadwater clams, steamed PEI mussels and a steamed Alaskan crab cluster. A choice of two soups and four hearty salads beforehand are a good way to get the party started. Of the menu’s seven appetizer offerings, six feature seafood.
Chicken pickers, meanwhile, can enjoy the airline chicken breast, served in a lemon-shallot cream sauce with red mustard leaf, shaved asparagus and Mediterranean couscous. For vegetarians there is the farm-fresh veggie pasta, which bathes linguini in wild exotic mushrooms, tomatoes, olive tapenade, spinach, sweet peas, Parmigiano Reggiano and organic EVOO. To wash the whole thing down, 99 Sea Level offers a copious wine list, handcrafted cocktails featuring in-house infusions and several local craft brews on draft.
Al fresco dining enthusiasts may wish to avail themselves of the generous yet shaded patio, which, operations director Donna Serafini says, can serve up to 100, as many as the restaurant’s interior.
Serafini also mentioned that they like to play with the menu periodically, so expect some fall/winter surprises. Definitely an upscale experience, 99 Sea Level not only offers top-of-the-market freshness and preparation but also the kind of ambiance that draws throngs to the region.
99 SEA LEVEL RESTAURANT & RAW BAR
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