The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar by Shareef Malnik

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

Archive for August, 2010

Hottest Restaurant In Miami Beach – The Forge

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The Forge Restaurant Miami has just reopened this past March. Not only did the restaurant get a make over but the menu did as well. The main dining area is larger in size plus you can have 130 in club chairs and loveseats at every table. At the back of the restaurant there is a communal table for 20 next to the sommelier station and the Enomatic wine system which is a automatic pouring machine that allows the guest to try different types of wines by the glass. Adjoining the dining area is the bar which seats 36 customers and had full dinner services. Multiple areas for private events are also available. The Forge Restaurant Miami also offers guests a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant’s service off from the main dining area with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that look out to the butler’s station. Larger events are also available with seating from 200 to 300 with a separate entrance from the East Room.

The menu itself has also been renovated. The Forge Restaurant Miami has gone from a steak house to a restaurant with various selections of seafood, meats, salads, and pasta dishes. The new Executive Chef Dewey LoSasso cooks up some great savory snacks and appetizers before creating your main course. Choose from a wide variety of seafood. Shrimp, lobster, tuna, oysters on the half shell and much more. If seafood is not what you have a appetite for then perhaps you’d like to enjoy the kale and spaghetti or the faux risotto. The Forge Restaurant Miami still offers steak on the menu as well as Lamb chops, Barolo braised short ribs and even duck are among the fine choices for you when you come here. If you had rather keep it on the light side, there are magnificent salads to choose from as well as a wonderful choice of pasta, grains and risotto. The Forge Restaurant Miami also has a very nice wine selection as well as other popular drinks from the bar. Overall, the place is really beautiful since the renovation and the food and service is excellent

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August 6th, 2010 at 9:45 am

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Spice Up Your Summer With A Side Of Forge – Miami Spice

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When the economy was booming, some of Miami’s higher-end restaurants didn’t see the benefit of Miami Spice’s discount dining. Others participated but didn’t readily promote the menu. They saw no need to cater to bargain-hunters.

Not anymore.

With the South Florida economy still sputtering, a record number of restaurateurs are looking at the two-month, off-season promotion that starts Sunday as a key tool for generating extra business. Last year, restaurants sold 150,000 Miami Spice meals during August and September.

“We get a whole different clientele with Miami Spice,” said Nicola Siervo, partner in KNR Restaurant Group, which credits Miami Spice with boosting sales 20 percent last year at Quattro Gastronomia on Lincoln Road. That success is why Siervo is adding the program this year at Solea in the W South Beach.

“This is a perfect program for this kind of economy because people can still afford a nice dinner,” Siervo said. “Hopefully, once they try it, they’ll be back.”

Already 119 restaurants have signed up for the program, offering the three-course Miami Spice meals at $35 for dinner and $22 for lunch. Restaurants participating for the first time include Miami Chart House, Rusty Pelican, Texas de Brazil, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, D. Rodriguez Cuba, Mr Chow, STK and Charlotte Bistro.

This year, more restaurants are even offering the Miami Spice menu on prime weekend nights.

“Restaurants know that by being in Miami Spice, it puts people in seats,” said Steve Haas, chairman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and Miami Spice founder.

Broward County has a similar program, Dine Out Lauderdale, which takes place Oct. 1 — Nov. 11.

But the summer is tough for Cooper City restaurateur Aboud Kobaitri, owner of La Brochette Bistro. Although business this year is better than last, his customers are still coming less often, ordering cheaper wine and splitting more meals.

“You try to survive almost year by year to see if you can make it,” said Kobaitri, who opened the restaurant in 1993.

Restaurant sales in South Florida and across the country are still struggling to rebound to the 2007 peak levels. Nationally total restaurant sales growth, adjusted for inflation, declined 1.2 percent in 2008 and another 2.9 percent in 2009, according to the National Restaurant Association. That’s the first time since the industry began keeping stats in 1970 that it has hit such a rough patch.

This year, the National Restaurant Association is predicting a decline of 0.1 percent, as consumers slowly start to return to dining out. For Florida, sales in 2009 were $27 billion and are expected to reach $27.6 billion this year.

“It’s the case of the tortoise versus the earth worm,” said Dennis Lombardi, an executive with restaurant consulting firm WD Partners. “It’s going to be a slow, long drag back. Restaurants with higher check average felt the impact first and they’re going to come out slower.”

While most restaurateurs in South Florida believe that they’ve seen the bottom, the road to recovery is a bumpy one.

At Pascal’s on Ponce in Coral Gables, owner Pascal Oudin says one night he’ll serve 60 people and the next night it will be 30.

“I cross my fingers and touch wood every day to thank God that I’m still around,” said Oudin, whose business rebounded close to 10 percent this year, but is still down 20 percent from the peak. “Business isn’t what it used to be. I don’t know if it ever will be.”

While Oudin has participated in Miami Spice since the program’s creation in 2002, he admits that he didn’t typically offer his top menu items because he didn’t want to lose money. Now he’s stepping it up, adding dishes like braised Colorado lamb shank and grouper with Mediterranean mussels.

“I was conservative,” Oudin said. “This year, I’m going to let it go.”

That’s the approach Red Steak used last year during Miami Spice and Marketing Director Rosemary Staltare credits it with putting the restaurant on the map.

Then a 6-month-old Miami Beach restaurant, it planned a Miami Spice menu with premium items like lobster tails and filet mignon. Staltare estimates the value of the dinner menu they were selling for $35 would normally have cost at least twice that.

“We were newbies and people were skeptical about whether we were going to survive or not,” Staltare said. “Miami Spice was a great launching pad for us.”

The Forge is already enjoying sales this summer about 40 percent higher than before it closed in 2009 for renovations. But owner Shareef Malnik decided that participating in Miami Spice would help attract a wider demographic to the restaurant, which reopened in March.

Malnik has tried to dispel the image of The Forge as a special occasion or expense account meal, lowering the average check about 25 percent to $85 per person.

“The dining population is out there,” Malnik said. “Restaurants need to be able to adapt to what diners want.”

Having an established name and reputation in the restaurant industry also pays off even more than ever these days. With consumers dining out less often, they want to make sure the meal justifies the cost.

“There is no room in the middle anymore,” said John Hart, general manager of Mr Chow in Miami Beach. “You have got to either be great, where people say yes it’s worth the money, or you have to be really cheap, where people say I’m going for the value.”

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August 2nd, 2010 at 8:59 am

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