The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar by Shareef Malnik

The Forge, Miami Beach, (305) 538-8533

Florida Design’s Miami – The Forge Restaurant

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Florida Design's Miami

Florida Design’s Miami – Home & Decor

The Forge Restaurant

A Miami staple reopens after a major transformation, bringing a once ornate dining establishment into the modern world.

BY Kellie Green
PHOTOGRAPHED BY SIMON HARE

Class and excess were a trademark of Miami’s elite past, including the city’s very own Forge restaurant. Located in Miami Beach on Arthur Godfrey Road, The Forge, originally a blacksmith’s shop in the 1920s, opened in 1969 as an opulent restaurant filled with ornate antiques, tuxedoed waiters and silver-domed platters. But in 2009, owner Shareef Malnik felt the legendary restaurant needed a change and, in honor of its 40th anniversary, he closed its doors to reinvent the famed eatery. The result after almost a full year of renovation? A new look and menu that introduces a rebirth of an icon: The Forge Restaurant I Wine Bar.

Florida Design's Miami

ABOVE: The walls of The Forge’s former Nouveau and Dome Rooms were knocked down to create a bar topped in lava stone and framed in a stainless steel that echoes the silver leaf, domed ceiling. Topsy-turvy chandeliers from Andromeda add a whimsical feel.

Florida Design's Miami

ABOVE: The existing Murano glass chandelier from the 1930s casts a glow over the dining room, where an eclectic mix of custom-designed furnishings sit under the room’s original ceiling painted in a warm gold finish.

Florida Design's Miami

ABOVE: Each panel of stained glass on the ceiling was meticulously restored to its original appearance in the South Dining Room.

Malnik worked closely with designer Francois Frossard on the new design of the 6,000-square-foot space, including eliminating over 100 seats to create one wide-open, flowing place. Pairing fantastical elements with classical overtones, Frossard replaced the restaurant’s original dark woods, stained glass mural and gilded-framed art with walls of hand-carved, golden ash wood, stainless steel accents and an eclectic mix of furniture, including low-slung couches, a variety of modern-style chairs, hand-etched glass tabletops and whimsical chandeliers. “We fully opened all the spaces so that they can now interact with each other,” Frossard says. “Each space was specially crafted for a mix of energy between them, as well as some hidden spots for privacy.”

After interviewing 172 candidates, including rounds of tasting held at his home, Malnik chose Dewey LoSasso, once Donatella Versace’s personal chief, as executive chef. LoSasso’s progressive American menu took about 15 weeks to develop and pays homage to some of the restaurants classic dishes but with a modern interpretation. Featuring both a farm-and-ocean-to-table ideology, the menu focuses on local, seasonal ingredients and artisanal products with nods to Europe and Asia. Highlights of the new menu include the “Burger and Bordeaux” – a grilled Angus sirloin

Florida Design's Miami

Burger topped with boneless short ribs and lobster marmalade, and served with truffleed French fries, pomegranate ketchup and a tasting of Bordeaux. Signature dishes also remain, such as the award-winning and iconic 21-day-aged, 16-ounce prime Oak-grilled “Super Stake,” and The Forge Chopped salad. But what do people gravitate to the most? The Lobster Peanut Butter and Jelly. “The jelly is really an onion marmalade with toasted Asian peanuts for the peanut butter and diced lobster for a kick,” Losasso says. “The restaurant is unique in that it embraces a global community with a menu that pays respect to The Forge’s past, but takes rebel risks.”
Complementing the menu is the new Wine Bar, where two banks of stainless steel and glass, temperature-controlled Enomatic Wine System flank the bar and allow guests to serve themselves in either one, three or five-ounce pours. Here, 80 individuals canisters in ten Enomatic stations contain a comprehensive selection of the global wines organized by flavor profiles in all price categories, from $1.20 to $33 an ounce, and divided in sections- from mild and light to the full-bodied and fully oaked.
“I DIDN’T JUST WANT TO DESIGN A RESTAURANT, BUT A LIVING SPACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN CREATE THEIR OWN WORLDS,” OWNER SHAREEF MALNIK SAYS.
Thirty-five-year Executive Sommelier Gino Santangelo offers vintages to decant by the bottle. “It fits the new story that The Forge is telling,” Malnik says. “That it’s all about having options, simplicity, value and the ability to define your own experience.”
And The Forge’s new story is definitely one to tell with a less is more vibe that is modest and low key yet still lavish enough to stand up to Miami’s best, including an ever-changing selection of music by DJ Irie, celebrity DJ and Forge music director. “When one spends an enormous amount of time in a space, one intuitely knows when it is time to make a change,” Malnik says. “The new design of the restaurant is much more modern and comfortable. The mission was to create a restaurant that is relevant for today and tomorrow, and I feel that we accomplished that.” For reservations, call 305/538-85

Written by webmaster

August 26th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

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