Naples has many good restaurants, but they tend to be concentrated downtown or, more recently, in the northern area. The middle part, around Golden Gate, has been sparse territory for food except for some chain restaurants.
Yet it’s not for lack of demand. USS Nemo is one of the few great restaurants in midtown and is so popular it can be almost impossible to get a table there in season.
Then last November FUSE Global Cuisine opened in the former Maximo’s location. Chef/owner Greg Scarlatos (formerly of Angelina’s Ristorante in Bonita Springs) has created a charming, innovative restaurant that is making even die-hard downtown Neapolitans venture north of Fifth Avenue.
Scarlatos’ ambitious menu fuses flavors from around the world and ingredients rarely seen on local menus. Unusual appetizers such as the Hog Wings (crispy braised pork foreshanks) or the flavorful duck, andouille and provolone “Boules” (crispy deep fried meatballs bursting with spice and gooey cheese) make it difficult to choose just one.
Go with a few adventurous friends so you can share a selection of these great dishes.
Lots of restaurants tend to put all their effort into the appetizers and then play it safe and disappoint in the main courses. Not the case here. The main courses are imaginative, flavorful and hearty.
With such great food FUSE is developing a loyal following, especially among those midtowners who like to stay closer to home and not fight the crowds and traffic downtown.
Sharon Kenny is the author of “Where Should We Eat? A Foodlover’s Recommended Places to Eat and Drink in the Naples Area.” Email her at email@example.com.
If you go
• What: FUSE Global Cuisine
• Where: 2500 Tamiami Trail N., #114
• Call: 455-4585
• Information: fuseglobalcuisine.com
• Bacon-wrapped Dates, Goat Cheese Brulee, Toasted Walnuts, Micro-Basil and Balsamic Drizzle, $9
• Crispy Pork Belly Sliders with Cherry-Cabbage Slaw and Maytag Bleu Cheese, $12
• Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee with Forbidden Rice, $27
• Crispy Thai-Braised Short Ribs, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Mascarpone-Bacon Corn Pudding, Coconut Reduction, $32
• Avocado Cheesecake with Burnt Chili Caramel, $7