The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar by Shareef Malnik

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

Archive for April, 2010

Forge Reforms in Miami – Shareef Malnik’s Best Miami Restaurant

without comments Announces | Forge Reforms in Miami

the forge best food

Photo: courtesy of Forge

the forge best food

Photo: courtesy of Forge

Once an actual blacksmith’s workshop turned celebrity-magnet restaurant, Miami Beach icon Forge has reopened after a yearlong multimillion-dollar renovation that’s replaced tuxedoed waiters, heavy silver gueridons and the caged finches in the ladies’ room with gleaming enomatic wine dispensers, Helmut Newton nudes and a dazzling blond dining room lighted by Murano glass chandeliers; also lighter: the tabs and the cooking (think quinoa pancakes instead of creamed spinach), thanks to veteran Miami chef Dewey LoSasso (ex North One 10).

432 41st St., Miami Beach; 305-538-8533

the forge best food

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April 30th, 2010 at 11:48 am

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A New, Brighter Forge – One Of Miami’s Best Restaurants

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With a fresh décor, revised menu, top Miami chef and futuristic wine philosophy, restaurateur Shareef Malnik is taking his iconic hot spot to the next level.

By Victoria Pesce Elliott  | Ocean Drive Magazine

The walls between the former Nouveau and Dome Rooms have been knocked down to create a new bar space adjacent to the dining room. When Shareef Malnik closed The Forge abruptly a year ago “for renovations,” many suspected it was code for “the end.” It’s not as if a serious makeover for this stodgy landmark wasn’t necessary. In fact, it was long overdue.

The former Miami Beach blacksmith workshop that had been transformed into a fine-dining establishment in the late ’60s by attorney Alvin Malnik—and which boasted a roster of star customers as long as its 29,000-bottle wine list— needed more than a bit of Botox. Now, after a year of work, the result is bright and sophisticated, modern and extravagant—but still with a good dose of its former grandeur.

“We’ve gone from dark to light, literally,” says Malnik, who took over the museum piece from his father in 1991 after a devastating fire. “I was saddled then with reinventing what people thought of as an old stuffy restaurant.” He did it successfully then, and 19 years later, is now creating another metamorphosis.

As a symbol of the fresh, brighter style, Malnik swears that no flashlights will be required to read the menus in the newly spacious dining room. Gone, too, are the silver cloches, the tuxedoed waiters, the 12-foot-high Victorian fireplace and the dark oil paintings. And yes, the caged Australian finches in the women’s bathroom have flown the coop: A former waiter took them home. Instead, a racy, larger-than-life Helmut Newton nude sprawls across the stall doors, a swimmer made from hand-blown glass bubbles hangs from the ceiling, and bulbs gleam at the makeup stations.

Malnik worked with designer Francois Frossard, but the vision is very much his own: “I wanted it to feel like a house—a very elegant house. But still comfortable and still The Forge.” Replacing the antique-filled former décor are burnished golden-ash walls, low-slung white leather couches, deep basket-like chairs, handetched glass tabletops, Murano-glass chandeliers and gold-lamé wallpaper.

The whole space glows. What used to accommodate some 300 people sitting at tightly packed tables in six different rooms now holds 200 in one wide-open, flowing place. In place of the old bar is a 22-foot-long community table made of polished Indonesian tree trunk. The library, with its bright, stained-glass walls, looks the most like it did, though it too has been whitewashed and is outfitted with Wi-Fi.

The walls of the former Nouveau Room and Dome Room have been knocked out to create a shiny rectangular bar surrounded by 30 seats. “Who wants to sit at a bar and look at a wall?” asks Malnik, referring to the dark oak counter at which patrons used to jockey for a spot.

He’s most proud of the gleaming Enomatic wine system, dispensers that can shoot out by-theounce selections from some 80 different bottles. Above them hang sleek flat-screen televisions. The dining room was designed in collaboration with Francois Frossard.

And in addition to specialty cocktails, dessert shots and a collection of 42 microbrewed beers, there is an interactive wine station in the area where the DJ used to play. There you’ll find executive sommelier Gino Santangelo, who has been with The Forge for more than 30 years and has seen the museum-like cellar through some tragic times, including the loss of many vintage bottles after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

“We don’t want to intimidate people,” says Malnik, regarding the new wine program. “Sommeliers came up to people with cups around their necks in tuxedos. The whole concept was flawed.” Instead, he has devised a rather ingenious doit- yourself approach that even includes a customized iPhone app to keep track of customers’ selections. It also helps with food pairings.

The Forge built its reputation as a steakhouse at a time when there weren’t many others on the Beach. And though the restaurant has always been known as glamorous, food was not necessarily its high point. That reputation began to change when Malnik began to serve a fantastic 16-ounce New York strip “Super Steak.” It garnered accolades as the number-one steak in America from Wine Spectator in 1996, and is still on the menu for $52 (other entrées are priced between $16 and $39). Also still available are the Giant U2 shrimp cocktail, flashy raw-bar sampler tower, crab cakes, Maine lobster, lobster bisque and chopped salad. For more than two decades, The Forge retained the same chef, Kal Abdalla, who created many of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Finding the right fit after he left proved difficult.

Ultimately, Malnik grilled 172 toques—feeling “like a Top Chef judge,” he says—before selecting Miami’s own Dewey LoSasso. It was perfect timing for the chef, who had just closed his North One 10 restaurant in North Miami. A Jersey boy who had helmed Micky Wolfson’s Foundlings Club in the 1980s as well as Tuscan Steak, LoSasso says he really gets Malnik’s vision of maintaining classics while lightening things up.

His quirky brand of cooking (he used local sea grapes to make pepper jelly and cooked with mango-tree trunks after Hurricane Wilma) incorporates local ingredients in playful ways. “It’s now the kind of place where you can come in and share a snack while you read through the menu, order a couple of pastas and then have a steak if you want,” says LoSasso. “You don’t have to have a full-blown meal. There really is something for every kind of diner.”

That means—in addition to five kinds of grilled meat—there will be a lobster peanut butter and jelly sandwich, smoked-salmon croquettes with hot guava sauce, oyster po’ boys, a short-ribtopped burger with pomegranate ketchup, sesame seared tuna with chile-lime sauce, prawn waffles with grilled carambolas, and crispy soba-wrapped shrimp. More healthful sides—including quinoa pancakes, farro risotto, braised endive, red lentils, kale polenta, sautéed spinach, and fava beans with wasabi caviar—join the regular baked potato and duck fries.

“They may be old-fashioned, but the soufflés had to stay,” says Malnik. Updated flavors such as hazelnut, s’more, apple-cinnamon and pistachio are thanks to pastry chef Malka Espinel.

So will The Forge still attract the bejeweled babes and Dom Pérignon-guzzling celebrities? No more parties, says Malnik: “I’ve done that. I used to say that fun and fine dining were not mutually exclusive, but I’ve done a 180-degree turn. I don’t want to be in the nightclub business anymore.”

His goal, he says, is simple: “We’re just trying to drop a lot of the pomp and circumstance, get rid of the pretentiousness. I just want to create a neighborhood bar and restaurant.”

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April 29th, 2010 at 10:48 am

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Fresh Forge

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April 9, 2010 Taken from: Food For Thought | A Miami Food Blog

Our last steakhouse experience was a disappointment, though I sort of anticipated that going in. I had higher hopes for our visit to the newly reopened The Forge. For decades, The Forge had been one of the bastions of a particularly Miami style of high dining: luxurious, decadent, and over the top, where the food could be quite good, but was not necessarily the prime focus. Indeed, in its later days, The Forge was probably equally popular for its Wednesday night “disco dinners” as for the steaks. Nonetheless, I’d always had good meals there, and the restaurant, with its rococo decorations and encyclopedia-sized wine list, had its unique charms.
The place has quite a history: supposedly, it was originally an actual blacksmiths’ shop, and in the 1930’s was turned into a restaurant and casino. It was purchased in the late 1960’s by the Malnick family, who were responsible for an opulent renovation that made the place a landmark for the next several decades. The restaurant survived a fire in 1991 and extensive damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992; but after a 40-year run, The Forge closed its doors in July of last year, supposedly to do a major renovation. Frankly, most who heard that were dubious. “Closed for renovations” actually means “closed for good” about 90% of the time, and those odds seemed even more stacked against The Forge, whose extravagant, big-ticket style seemed particularly out of step with the declining local and national economy.

But The Forge proved all the skeptics wrong when it reopened its doors this month, showing off a thorough redecoration of the space, and also bringing in a new chef (Dewey LoSasso, formerly the chef-owner of now-closed locals’ favorite North One Ten) to run the kitchen. Both the renovation and the chef have breathed new life into an old classic.

The entranceway, previously gated, has been opened up, making for a dramatic catwalk into the restaurant, with sconces which could have been lifted from a Tim Burton set along the walls. The main dining room has been brightened up considerably with new blond-stained wood paneling on the walls and new tables and chairs throughout (some in gigantic Alice in Wonderland proportions). A wall of glass beads separates a second dining room, and around the corner is a glassed-in private dining room as well as the “Library,” an intimate little room with a gas-lit fireplace and stained glass all around. It’s perhaps just a tad less ostentatious than the original pre-renovation Forge, but it will certainly never be described as minimalist.

Chef LoSasso’s menu is similarly ornate. Fans of North One Ten will recognize some of Dewey’s signature dishes, like his smoked salmon croquettes with “damn hot guava sauce,” but it seems the surroundings – and, obviously some encouragement from the owners – have inspired the chef to explore any number of flights of fancy. Indeed, while the Forge still serves several steaks, it would be misleading to call it a steakhouse now. The menu is too far-reaching to fit into that narrow pigeonhole.

Examples? There’s a list of 10 “savory snacks” to start a meal, small bites ranging from $6 to $15 that include those croquettes, mini oyster po’boys, chicken liver crostini, and what is hoped to become a new signature item: “Lobster, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich.” Though relieved to see that the components are actually chilled lobster, chopped fresh peanuts, and onion marmalade, I still wasn’t bold enough to try this one (I now regret it). We did try the fig and white bean dim sum, which brought a translucent har gow style dumpling with a creamy filling tasting much more of creamed white beans than of fig, floating in a golden lemongrass broth. I liked both the dumpling and the broth, though I wasn’t entirely convinced as to their combination.

Such unusual combinations, and in particular the mingling of savory and sweet, can be found throughout the menu. A starter of citrus cured wild salmon – a tremendously generous serving, with thin slices of the fish blanketing an oversize platter – was more successfully paired with a spicy orange jam. Since it was Passover, I had to try the “Lobster Hot Pot,” which featured a broth studded with lobster meat, clams, calamari, and juliennes of Napa cabbage, along with a matzo ball floating in the middle of all that traife. It was another unlikely combination which would have worked, except that the broth was overwhelmingly salty, obscuring the flavor of the seafood. Other tempting-sounding appetizers included a grilled shrimp waffle with wasabi caviar, basil butter and grilled carambola, or johnny cakes topped with oscetra caviar. More traditional palates can stick with the Forge chopped salad, a Caesar salad, lobster bisque, “giant” U2 shrimp cocktail, or king crab legs with two sauces (The Forge hasn’t entirely abandoned its roots after all).

Fans of the original Forge can also still get the “Super Steak,” a 16-oz., 3-week dry aged prime NY strip that Wine Spectator once called the “Best Steak in America.” But there are several other options as well, some of which, in a concession to current times, have much less lofty price tags (the Super Steak goes for $52). The “Coffee and Eggs” ($39) features a coffee-rubbed ribeye paired with a little round goat cheese frittata, and it was enormous (I brought home half of it to finish the next day), perfectly cooked, and delicious. The coffee rub, along with a generous salting, highlights the beefy, minerally flavors of the steak. The Barolo-braised short rib ($28) was likewise a Fred Flintstone-esque portion which became multiple meals, served over a bed of polenta along with a crisp of prosciutto – a fine dish, but not the most exciting thing on the menu. You can dine in these luxurious surroundings for even cheaper by ordering the 14-oz. churrasco steak (with “chimichurri from hell”) for $23, or the spice rubbed duck with sangria sauce ($24).

Or you can get the “Burger and Bordeaux” like Frod Jr. did. A $20 burger is hardly a bargain, but this rendition is every bit as over-the-top as the rest of the Forge, a grind of Angus sirloin topped with both shredded short rib and “lobster marmalade” (nubbins of lobster cooked in what I think was a tomato-based sauce), some pomegranate ketchup, and served with truffled French fries and a tiny pour of an (unidentified) Bordeaux (no, Frod Jr. did not get to taste the wine). Too many notes, your majesty? Perhaps. But it also happens to be a perfectly great burger.

The menu also features a selection of fish and seafood options for the non-carnivorous, a number of main-course sized pastas and grains, and a long list of vegetable sides as well, much of which demonstrates a focus on local product that you wouldn’t necessarily expect at a place like this. The three mushroom risotto Little Miss F tried relied on the crutch of white truffle oil to enhance the melange of shiitake, portabello and porcini mushrooms (much more of the first two than the last) but was good nonetheless. Possibly more interesting might be a spaghetti with kale, poached egg and parmesan, or a festonati with house dried tomatoes, cauliflower and pesto. I loved the side of fava beans we had, mixed with wasabi caviar and rich Plugra butter, in part because it wasn’t me shelling all those favas. The vegetable selections, aside from old standards like a baked potato or roasted garlic mashed potatoes, include local Paradise Farms oyster mushrooms sautéed with herbs and garlic, endive braised with oranges, almonds and gorgonzola, collard greens sautéed with blueberries (!) and shallots, or haricot vert with soy and sweet chili sauce.

Another tradition at the Forge is the dessert soufflés, and we happily went old school to finish our meal. The chocolate soufflé is every bit as good as it used to be, which is awfully darn good. As good as the soufflés are, though, it’s possibly unfortunate that they may detract attention from the rest of the dessert menu, which has been put together by local pastry guru Malka Espinel. Since the soufflés must be ordered in advance, diners may never see that dessert menu, which looks pretty intriguing: torrone nougat cheesecake with honey roasted grapes and Sauternes syrup – corn three ways (polenta cake, corn ice cream, and “Cracker Jack” popcorn) – banana fluffernutters with malted milk? I may need to avoid the temptation of the soufflé next time.

The bar at The Forge is also worthy of mention. The restaurant is pushing itself heavily as a wine bar, and has installed two walls of Enomatic dispensers holding 80 bottles. These expensive, multipurpose machines display wine bottles, hold open bottles under inert gas to prevent oxidation, and pump out pours of various measured sizes. You can either order from one of the bartenders or get yourself a card and DIY right at the machines. The selections range from the pedestrian (Sterling Vineyards Merlot) to the prodigal (1995 Chateau Haut-Brion for $165.50 a glass), with plenty of interest in between (a white Chateauneuf du Pape from Vieux Lazaret, Alex Gambal Vosne-Romanee, Numanthia Termes; or if your tastes run richer, Opus One, Tignanello, or Phelps Insignia). The full-blown wine list still comes to the table in a bound notebook and is one of the most impressive collections in town, particularly for Bordeauxs and Burgundies. Our Louis Latour Volnay En Chevret (2005) was a lovely Premier Cru that was priced at only about 2x its current retail cost.

Fitting for the surroundings, the cocktail menu goes both new school and old. Mrs. F went “new” with a “Kiucumber,” a not-too-sweet blend of vodka, St. Germain, kiwi, cucumber, basil and lime juice, while I went old with a “Forge Manhattan,” though even here there were some contemporary twists: port playing the role of sweet vermouth, cherry bitters instead of Angostura, and a spherified globe of Cherry Heering in place of the maraschino cherry. All modern gimmicks aside, it was a perfectly composed drink, with just enough sweetness to temper, but not entirely obscure, the bite of the Jim Beam Rye Whiskey. They also offered fresh squeezed juices for the kids, which were festively topped off with some lychee froth which they both loved.

Service was uniformly friendly, attentive, and informed, though it seems to be an entirely new generation that has been brought in to replace some of the tuxedoed dinosaurs who used to roam through the place. While I sort of miss those old dinosaurs, it’s gratifying to see another generation coming in.

When I first heard that Chef LoSasso was coming in to the Forge, it seemed a somewhat unlikely pairing. But the menu he’s put together makes a certain perfect sense for the place. It’s extravagant, it’s luxurious, it’s got some stuff thrown together that doesn’t seem like it ought to be, and in some instances it’s outright peculiar – just like The Forge itself. And like a visit to The Forge, it’s fun, it’s satisfying, and in its own particular way, it’s uniquely Miami.

The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar

432 W. 41st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33140

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April 28th, 2010 at 7:40 am

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The Forge is About Access not Excess

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After a major renovation, a glamorous Miami Beach staple is open again, but with a lot of changes. In tonight’s Style File. 7s Belkys Nerey shows us how we can all afford the new Forge.

WSVN — The Forge has been a decadent Miami Beach institution since the 90’s often a hot spot for the rich and famous. The restaurant wasn’t always within everyone’s budget.

Well, times have changed welcome to the new, more affordable Forge.

Shareef Malnik: “The new Forge is about access. As opposed to what we began in the 90’s of excess.”

Owner Shareef Malnik shut down the forge 11 months ago for renovations and has now reopened with a new attitude, one that reflects the struggling economy.

Shareef Malnik: “The days where you just charge anything for food, alcohol and wine are pretty much over. What we really want to do is build a loyal customer that comes back several times a week.”

Don’t get the wrong impression the Forge is still glamorous, adorned with giant chandeliers and mirrors. A library and a stunning dining area, but there’s a much more casual side starting with the new bar.

Shareef Malnik: “It’s your neighborhood bar with six televisions, eight beers on tap. 50 beers by the bottle. 80 wines by the glass.”

A casual and easy spot to have a quick bite to eat or let their mixologist whip up a tasty cocktail.

Judy Schottenstein: “It’s totally a change from my mother’s Forge because my parents used to bring me for special occasions, this is now the place to come for any occasion.”

The biggest change is the menu , which has a heavy focus on snacks at decent prices from $6 to $15.

Expect the unusual from executive chef Dewey Losasso with items like lobster peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Dewey LoSasso: “It’s taking comfort food and elevating it a little bit it’s my favorite one.”

Fig and white bean dum sum a spinach salad with a sunny side up egg or a burger with a twist of vino.

Dewey LoSasso: “This is our burger and bordeaux, featuring a shot of bordeaux, and then we’re taking a hamburger, angus burger, then adding lobster to it and boneless short ribs.”

And instead of a pricey wine list, now you can be your own sommelier they’ve installed enomatic wine machines where you add money to a debit card, and then sample 80 different bottles of wine.

Dewey LoSasso: “You insert the card, you can see which wine you want and then try it by the ounce, three ounces or five ounces.”

Dewey LoSasso: “I have wines where you can get a glass of wine for $6. Where else can you get a glass for six bucks in Miami Beach?”

Bottom line, the Forge is still a fortress, but now anyone can scale it.

Belkys Nerey: “Now you can still go there and have a extravagant and expensive dining experience if you want. That’s the thing the owner wanted to offer dining and drink options for every budget.”


The Forge Restaurant
432 West 41st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33140-3504
(305) 538-8533

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April 27th, 2010 at 9:06 am

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Forge Restaurant Reopens in Miami Beach

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words taken from Hospitality Style, photos taken from Haute Living Magazine

Renovated space features open floor plan, state-of-the-art wine bar
The Forge Restaurant Wine Bar has reopened after undergoing a year-long makeover that places an emphasis on offering a “lifestyle approach” to dining.

“I didn’t just want to design a restaurant, but a living space where people can create their own worlds,” said owner Shareef Malnik. “At the new Forge you are able to enjoy a five-course meal with wine pairings or order a burger and a glass of Bordeaux by the fire and read the art books or check your Facebook.”

The restaurant’s makeover was designed and exicuited by Francois Frossard, who replaced its dark woods, stained-glass murals and gilded-framed art with walls of hand-carved blonde wood and antique smoked mirror, octopus-like lilac and white crystal chandeliers, and an eclectic mix of upholstered and metal furniture. Frossard also eliminated more ha 100 seats, to create an open floor plan with the ambience of a large private home where every seat is “the best in the house.”
The Forge, which first opened in 1968, now also features a Wine Bar that’s home to banks of stainless steel and glass-encased Enomatic Wine Systems, which allow guests to serve themselves wine in either one, three, or five ounce pours.

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April 20th, 2010 at 9:27 am

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The Forge Re-emerges From A Redo – Best Miami Restaurants

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Forge owner Shareef Malnik poured $10 million into his nearly year-long redo of The Forge, replacing the celeb-friendly icon’s gaudy gothic décor with a whimsical dreamscape. The place still aims to cater to your inner Trump, making you feel pampered and a bit gluttonous. With starters and snacks $8-$15, mains $19-$52 and sides $8, your pockets don’t need to be quite as deep to dine here. Chef Dewey LoSasso (North One 10) nimbly straddles the line between predictable decadence — plenty of lobster, sizable cuts of aged prime beef — and creative flair. Forge classics like the chopped salad, 16-ounce “Super Steak” and dessert souffle share space on the 65-item menu with a lobster “lobster, peanut butter and jelly” sandwich (chilled lobster with crushed peanuts and onion marmalade), steamed snapper with roasted red pepper and smoked tomato sauce and “Burger and Bordeaux,” a hefty grilled sirloin patty topped with braised short ribs and lobster marmalade and served with truffle fries and a small chalice of red wine. Desserts by Malka Espinel (Johnny V) include an apple pie sundae of caramelized apples, roasted walnuts and brown butter ice cream accompanied by a butterscotch and white chocolate-coated apple and banana “fluffernutters,” mini banana bread sandwiches stuffed with handmade marshmallows and peanut butter and accompanied by a malted milkshake.

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April 20th, 2010 at 9:16 am

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The New Forge & The New 911 GT3 RS – Upgraded Icons

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“Porsche just couldn’t be satisfied with having an icon, they

have to constantly improve it. I can relate to that.”

Shareef Malnik – The Forge

How does the Porsche 911 GT3 RS compare to your restaurant?
The Porsche 911 is a sports car icon whose reputation for being among the best cars in the world was established long ago.  Yet, Porsche understands that they have to keep evolving and pushing the envelope to remain at the top.  The recent renovation of The Forge is the same.  We can’t rest on our past accomplishments – we had to reinvent it for today.

What makes the Porsche 911 GT3 RS special?
The GT3 RS focuses on the essentials to create a race bred street legal racer.  Lighter weight and more power meld together to create a visceral driving experience that you won’t forget.

What do you consider to be Miami’s best drive?
I may be partial, but the stretch from mainland Miami to the beach on 195 can be just amazing.  Truth is, any drive becomes incredible behind the wheel of the GT3 RS.  Of course you can end your drive at The Forge and make the entire night complete.

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April 14th, 2010 at 8:58 am

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The Forge is Miami’s best restaurant for the infamous lobster peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ask Mickey Rourke

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Mickey Rourke and girlfriend Anastassija Makarenko got cuddly at the re-opening of The Forge restaurant in South Beach. After touring the renovated space, the couple ate some lobster peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – a house specialty made of toasted brioche with onion marmalade, chopped fresh peanuts and chilled, diced lobster. They finished off the meal with a couple shots of tequila. “They looked very happy together,” a source tells us.

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April 13th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

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What You Need To Know About The Forge

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MIAMI BEACH, In honor of The Forge’s 40th anniversary in 2009, owner Shareef Malnik took advantage of Miami’s off-season to close its doors and reinvent the restaurant’s direction. With the conclusion of almost a full year of extreme renovations, Malnik is now ready to reveal the Miami Beach icon’s rebirth: The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar.

A completely updated appearance, inspired farm-to-table menu and lifestyle approach to dining are all elements of The Forge’s new attitude. The award-winning restaurant has undergone a total makeover, the overall design and decor executed by Francois Frossard. The familiar dark woods, stained-glass murals and gilded-framed art have been replaced by walls of hand-carved blonde wood and antique smoked mirror, octopus-like lilac and white crystal chandeliers, and an eclectic mix of upholstered and metal furniture. The elimination of more than 100 seats has created the ambience of a large private home where every diner’s seat is “the best in the house.” The open floor plan of the 6,000-square-foot space allows guests to see and be seen, as well as experience The Forge’s customized environments: The Dining Rooms, The Forge Bar with Enomatic Wine System, The Library and The Board Room for private dining.

“I didn’t just want to design a restaurant, but a living space where people can create their own worlds. At the new Forge you are able to enjoy a five-course meal with wine pairings or order a burger and a glass of Bordeaux by the fire and read art books or check your Facebook,” said Malnik. “There are no rules.”

Chef Dewey LoSasso was chosen as The Forge’s new Executive Chef after an exhaustive interview process of 172 candidates. Malnik held rounds of tastings at his home, where he challenged the eight national finalists to showcase their strongest dishes. LoSasso, whom Malnik knew from the chef’s days at The Foundlings Club in Miami Beach and as Donatella Versace’s personal chef, impressed the restaurateur with his bold, clean flavors and modern approach to American cuisine.

The Forge’s 65-item menu is organized by Savory Snacks, Starts, Pastas, Grains & Risotto, Principal Meats, Principal Fish & Crustaceans, Salads and Sides. Highlights include Lobster Peanut Butter & Jelly, toasted brioche, chopped fresh peanuts, onion marmalade, diced chilled lobster ($15); Three Mushroom Risotto, roasted shitake, portabello and porcini, alba white truffle oil ($28);”Burger and Bordeaux,” grilled Angus sirloin burger topped with boneless short ribs and lobster marmalade, truffle French fries, pomegranate ketchup, served with a tasting of Bordeaux ($20) and Steamed Local Yellowtail Snapper “In a Bag,” infused with aromatics, vegetables, chilled roasted red pepper, smoked tomato sauce, white anchovy ($22). Paying homage to what made the restaurant famous, signature dishes including the award-winning “Super Steak” ($52), The Forge Chopped Salad ($13) and The Forge U2 Shrimp Cocktail ($12) will remain on the menu.

Pastry chef Malka Espinel has created a menu of desserts that are nothing short of addictive. Among the temptations: Lemon Panna Cotta, flavors of fennel, toasted almond gelato, biscotti ($9); Carrot Cake “Inside Out,” cream cheese sambayon, carrot caviar ($9); Apple Pie Sundae, caramelized apples, cinnamon-roasted walnuts, brown butter ice cream, butterscotch sauce, pie crumble ($9) and The Forge Souffle, offered in chocolate, Grand Marnier, “marble,” bourbon-hazelnut, apple cinnamon, s’mores and pistachio ($16).

Technology meets oenophilia at The Forge’s glam new Wine Bar. In addition to head mixologist Andres Aleman and his team of gifted mixologists ready to shake up one of The Forge’s new signature and classic cocktails (a Hot and Dirty martini with bacon-stuffed olives anyone?), there are also gleaming banks of stainless steel and glass-encased Enomatic Wine Systems, which allow guests to serve themselves wine in either one-, three- or five-ounce pours.

Guests use the “Forge Wine Card,” which functions similarly to a debit card, to access the Enomatic Wine System. The 64 individual canisters in The Forge Wine Bar contain a comprehensive selection of wine in all price categories. Pours range from a Negroamaro/Primitivo/Cabernet Sauvignon Tormaresca Neprica Puglia, Italy 2008 ($1.20 per ounce) to a Cabernet Sauvignon Chateau Haut-Brion, 1ER Grand Cru Classe, Pessac-Legonan, France 1995 ($33 per ounce). The eight Enomatic stations are divided as such: Mild: Light bodied and fruity, dry to lightly sweet; White Aromatic: Light-medium bodied, unoaked to lightly oaked, dry; White Rich: Medium-full bodied, moderate to fully oaked; Rose, Red Crisp: Light-medium bodied, unoaked to moderately oaked, low tannin; Red Earthy: Medium-full bodied, moderately oaked, low-medium tannin; Red Supple: Medium-full bodied, moderately oaked, medium tannin; Red Spicy: Medium-full bodied, moderately oaked, medium tannin; and Red Powerful: Full-bodied, fully oaked, high tannin. Another set of Enomatics, dispensing additional Powerful Red Wines and Fine Spirits, can be found flanking the Sommelier Station, its backdrop an installation of floor-to-ceiling crystal bubbles – a perfect stage for 32-year veteran, Executive Sommelier Gino Santangelo to decant his vintages.

International celebrity disc jockey and music producer DJ Irie keeps the vibe on point as The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s official music programmer. Instead of a DJ booth, Irie’s custom compilations are streamed through a high-tech Sonos wireless sound system, setting the mood for each room.

The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar is located at 432 41st Street, Miami Beach, FL 33140. Hours of operation are Sun.-Thurs., 6 p.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Some things, thankfully, never change: Valet parking is still $5. For reservations, call 305.538.8533 or visit for more information.

Written by webmaster

April 6th, 2010 at 9:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Kitchen Inquisition: Dewey LoSasso

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When a significant other tells you they want to “take a break,” that usually means they’re gone for good. About a year a go, The Forge on Miami Beach closed its doors forever and no one really knew why. They said it was just to revamp the place, but most suspected the restaurant was another victim of the bad economy.

How nice it is to be wrong.

Miami legend Shareef Malnik reopened the doors of the famed restaurant and wine bar this week to great reviews. The 40-year-old Forge has had a total facelift with over $10 million dollars in renovations, transforming everything from the decor to the exterior of the building. One change that we can definitely stand behind: their new chef.

Executive chef Dewey LoSasso has been brought in to go with the flow of change and completely turn up the heat on The Forge’s menu. The award-winning chef sat down with us to tell us exactly what we can expect from the new hot spot, and what it’s like to cook for Donatella Versace.

If you had to choose only one dish from the menu, which ones are you most proud of?
Florida Snapper in a Bag.

We know The Forge just reopened, but what do you think will be the most popular item on the menu?
Lobster peanut butter and jelly.

How would you describe Miami’s dining scene now compared to when you arrived in the ’80s?
In the ’80s , you needed to really search out great restaurants. Now, it has exploded. Also, in the late ’80s I tried my hand at farming with Micky Wolfson – now , the farming industry is amazing.

You spent a few summers in the kitchen on the Jersey shore. We have to know, what are your thoughts on the show?

Never saw it, actually. But, going to high school down there was way fun.

You were once Donatella Versace’s personal chef. What were a few things she loved for you to cook up?
Chicken cutlet sandwiches to go for the beach, local fish.

What can we expect from the NEW Forge?
Local ingredient focus with a farm and ocean to table attitude. I am expanding on their heritage of taking care of the guest and their employees.

At what point did you realize you were destined to be a chef?
13 years old – I was a dishwasher, part of my job was to peel two quarts of garlic a day. I would take the garlic home with me, then I would have more time to help and watch the cooks.

The 5 ingredients every kitchen should have?
Fresh herbs
Local fish
Good sound system during prep
Great steaks
Great Tuscan Olive Oil

The 5 utensils every kitchen should have?
Chef’s knife
Tasting spoons (to taste the food!)
Good tongs
Wood-burning grill

First dish you learned to make?
Chicken Francaise.

Favorite dish to make at home?

Roast Chicken with herbs and lemon.

Favorite food-related memory?
Playing with pizza dough, next to my dad, when I was 7. He was making dinner for 30 people in our second kitchen.

Written by webmaster

April 5th, 2010 at 8:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized