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/ Updated on December 20, 2016

Sedona is the first fine-dining establishment I experienced in Bethany Beach. Heck, back then there were not that many to experience, but in the 12 year period since then, I still tell people that my meal at Sedona was one of the best I have ever had here in Delaware. A lot has happened since then, and I was curious: Is Sedona still as good as it was?

After opening Fusion in Rehoboth Beach in '96, original Sedona owner Jonathan Spivak (who, in January, 1993, converted Dante's Pizza into Sedona) sold the restaurant to his long-time friend and GM Marian Parrott in 2008. In 2009, Fusion eventually became Salt Air, which he eventually sold because of health problems (which he overcame). In fact, you are reading this article because he scolded me  a few weeks ago for not writing about Sedona. Boy, am I glad I did.

Sedona is as good as it ever was. On three of my early visits (I've been back at least as many times since then), Marian herself was expediting, i.e., double-checking each plate before it went out to the customers. No better person than the owner to see every plate before it leaves the kitchen. Her menu has evolved over the years, with an extensive list of clever and generous tapas and a small but varied choice of large plate entrées.

I managed to stay incognito (easier in Bethany than in Rehoboth) on my first and third visits. Of course, I'm always complimented when I'm recognized and get treated well, but I'm not there for that. I want to see how others are treated. Bottom line: Our service was close to perfect all three times and if they did know who it was it didn't seem to matter. That's just how I like it.

Over our three visits we started with a mix of tapas and appetizers. I was undercover on the first visit, so I don't have a photo of the Tempura Battered Softshell Crab with Remoulade. But I'll tell you it was delicious. The small but happy crustacean was enrobed in a surprisingly light batter that was not at all soggy or greasy. The remoulade was … well, remoulade, and I wished for a bit more spice. Perhaps a squirt or two of Sriracha on the side would be nice. Our server was so accommodating that I am sure I could have asked for something, but I pick my battles, and this wasn't a big deal. Another home run is the Duo of Mini-Salads — for those who can't decide between the Caesar and the House. It's a little bit of both and a rollercoaster ride of taste. We ordered it again on our third visit.

One of the stars in the ultra-savory department is the Pork & Wild Mushroom Gnocchi. The photo tells the story, and it's as delicious as it looks. The mushrooms, pork and creamy gravy were the perfect foil for the gnocchi. In fact, this one could qualify as a main course. The tapas list also has its playful side, as evidenced by the Corn & Bacon Mac & Cheese. Think shells alfredo with delightful little exclamation marks of salty bacon and little explosions of corn kernels. I never thought I'd write the words “light” and “mac & cheese” in the same sentence, but you saw it here first, kids. The Mornay-style sauce is wonderfully cheesy without being gummy. This one was a home run and we ordered it to share every time. That being said, Marian loves to use the latest and freshest seasonal produce and proteins, so menu items come and go with the seasons.

The Crab Remick is a Sedona favorite and has been on the menu for years. It is served in an iron skillet full of chunky crab meat, a little more of that heavenly bacon, and Parmesan. The dish rests comfortably in a Sauce Louie (think remoulade, kicked up with Worcestershire, a little pepper sauce and who knows what else). And who cares. It was delightful, and fairly priced for the amount of lump crab meat it contains.

If you make it down there to Bethany Beach after the summer season, the Watermelon Salad special might be off the menu. The dish is served to look like a standard field greens salad over a couple of thickly sliced tomatoes. But the tomatoes turn out to be watermelon. A wonderful touch, Marian. We ended up passing the plate around the table and then ordering another one. A citrusy dressing is drizzled about, and it works just fine with the sweetness of the melon.

Presentation-wise, the Seared Rare Tuna on Crispy Wontons with Asian Slaw and Seaweed Salad was one of the stars of the show. Be sure to take a look at that one in the gallery. Three melt-in-your-mouth slices of seared Ahi swim proudly atop a bracingly acidic and colorful slaw, separated only by a thin layer of bright green seaweed. Crunchy fried wontons serve as little edible spoons for this pan-Asian delight. The dish is almost a piece of art in itself. Another home run for Sedona.

Before we leave the tapas menu, do not miss the Shrimp Tacos. Two flour tortillas softly embrace a mixture of fresh veggies (tomatoes, purple cabbage, zucchini — you get the idea) and sauteed shrimp. A light and lemony dressing brings it all together. Another small plate is the Sicilian Stewed Chicken sprinkled with basil and sharing the plate with chunky fried bread. The chicken pieces are about the size of very plump drummettes, but that's where the similarity ends. If slightly sweet stewed tomatoes and chicken had a child, this plate would be it. Again, I would have appreciated a bit more heat (maybe a sprinkle of red pepper flakes?) but that's just me and not a complaint.

Marian's entrées are limited to 5, perhaps 6 items. And each one is a production. No bottom-of-the-menu afterthoughts here! We ordered the Pork Flatiron cut,  served on a raft of grilled asparagus (12 pieces!) surrounded by a Ragout of Great Northern Beans. It all rests languidly in a little drizzle of balsamic. The acid of the vinegar pairs nicely with the beans. The pork is fork-tender and cooked to a perfect medium. The generous serving made us (almost) sorry we had ordered so many appetizers/tapas. Note I said “almost.”

The Pan Seared Duck Breast at Sedona shares the plate with … wait for it … a Craisin and Cabernet Rice Blend, served timbale, and topped with pea tendrils (mercifully cut into bite-size lengths). Caramelized brussels sprouts and a little lake of brandy/mustard demi serve as a platform for the sliced duck breast. Though I did remove some of the fat around the thickest part of the breast, the thin and crunchy layer at the ends was perfect. To be fair, the thicker fat cap in the center did serve to keep the meat moist and flavorful. So the dish is better off with it left on. The Craisin/Rice concoction was amazing – especially with a polite schmear of the demi.

Our friend Rob (the crab cake king of Salt Pond) ordered the Crab Cakes over crispy flatbread. They shared the plate with a ramekin of Curry Cauliflower Salad. Lots of lump crab with a quick sear on the outside. A non-aggressive binder allowed the taste of the sweet meat to take center stage. Crab cakes are like pizza and barbecue: Everybody makes them differently, and everybody swears their favorite is the best. These were quite good, especially with the brightly spiced curry mix.

Last but not least in the entree department was the perfectly cooked-to-temperature Grilled Beef Tenderloin over Mashers and Snow Peas. Honey and Harissa (a chili paste) were married just for this occasion, and the steak was topped with shaved and crispy horseradish root. A very clever combination of tastes and textures. The steak is available with a cute little side of grilled shrimp over greens with grilled pineapple. We got it on one of our visits. Yes, I admit to gilding the lily, but one must carpe that diem when one can. See the photos in the gallery (the steak and shrimp are separate photos).

The featured dessert was a Warm Blueberry Buckle. It is everything you could hope for in both the taste and texture department. It's topped with good ol' vanilla. The photo says it all. Two more tasty desserts include the Cappuccino Brownie (also accompanied by vanilla ice cream) and the Strawberry Shortcake. Though all were quite good, my favorite, hands-down, is Sedona's famous Pecan Pie. A whisper of Dark Rum kicks it up to dimensions heretofore unbeknownst.

Considering the relatively limited scope of the menu, it's a cinch that it changes often. Though I hope some of these goodies are there when you go, chances are they will not. What I can promise you is that if I know my Sedonas and my Marians, whatever is on the menu will be perfectly cooked and presented. Take a look at sample menus here. Note that some of the proteins will sometimes remain the same, but the accompaniments might change. One of the values-added is that Sedona always displays works from featured artists. Some are for sale, others are not. I will also take this opportunity to say that Jonathan Spivak is a recognized abstract artist in his own right. I imagine that from time to time his works are also displayed there in the restaurant he founded 22 years ago.

Sedona is one very short block north of the Bethany Beach Post Office at 26 Pennsylvania Avenue (second block from the beach). Reservations are a must. 302-539-1200. (D., Bar). Price range: Expensive.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

26 Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach


Reservations strongly suggested

Closed until spring
Closed until spring
Closed until spring 2020
Closed until spring
Closed until spring
Open 5 - 8
Open 5 - 8
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Avatar Mary Harahan says:

    Those who might despair of Bethany’s ability to meet a foodies expectations should look no further than Sedona. [Note that she wrote A foodie. Not THE Foodie. THE foodie LOVES Sedona. -ed.]
    Admittedly this may be the only absolutely smashing restaurant so far in Bethany, but is is so good. The service is always impeccable, the owner pays close attention to what goes on there, the tapa selections are a wonderful deal at 3 for $20 dollars and the food is delicious. Try the tuna and the duck tapas and you will be sold.

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