The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar by Shareef Malnik

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

Archive for the ‘Alvin Malnik’ tag

“Sit back, relax, and enjoy. We built this for you.” Shareef Malnik

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Miami’s landmark dining establishment, The Forge, is set to re-open Winter 2010, just in time for the Season after closing in July of 2009 for a makeover. The 40 year old legendary restaurant is presently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and will emerge with new furniture, a fresh look and new menu. Owner Shareef Malnik took ownership of The Forge in 1991 after the restaurant survived a nearly disastrous fire, followed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that did severe and extensive damage to the restaurant and it’s famous wine cellar. Malnik said he’s been wanting to renovate for years and believes this newly updated Forge will stand the test of time again. “We’ve really come up with a new, updated version of The Forge,” said Malnik, “The only way you can stay ahead of the game is through change. I think this is going to give us another 40 years.”

Famous for it’s steak as much as it’s elegant charm, The Forge has long been a destination for celebrities and people with a taste for a truly elegant and unique dining experience. Located off the beaten paths of South Beach, The Forge is a true Miami landmark.

After a global search to find the new executive chef of The Forge – a culinary landmark in Miami Beach since 1969 – owner Shareef Malnik is proud to announce the appointment of Dewey LoSasso. The Forge will reopen its doors mid-December 2009 with a fresh new design, social and culinary concept.

The lengthy selection process spanned more than six months and consisted of 172 chefs showing off their kitchen skills and impressive signature dishes. Chef LoSasso proved to be top chef by beating out colleagues from around the world and being awarded the much sought-after title.

“I’ve known Dewey for many years back from his days at The Foundlings Club in Miami Beach and as Donatella Versace’s personal chef,” says Shareef Malnik. “The moment we reconnected during my worldwide search for the perfect new chef something just clicked; he understands my culinary vision and where I see The Forge going in the coming years. I’m ecstatic that he has joined our team and cannot wait to reopen the restaurant and get him and the new menu out for all to experience and enjoy.”

A founding member of the 1980s era “Mango Gang,” a group of bold young chefs who put South Florida’s fresh, tropical-accented cuisine on the national gastronomic map, Dewey LoSasso grew as a groundbreaking chef who has not slowed since those heady days. Alongside fellow Mango Gang associates including Norman Van Aken, Mark Militello, Robin Haas, Allen Susser and Douglas Rodriguez, he has continued to pioneer modern cuisine, making a name for

himself as a talented innovator in Miami and New York City. After three years of raves in New York and numerous stints as guest chef in kitchens around the world, LoSasso and wife Dale, a veteran restaurant manager and wine director, returned to Miami to open their first joint venture, North One 10.

The Forge has built a reputation as a fine dining destination with first class service and quality. The renowned establishment is best known for its superb cuisine as well as attracting leaders of businesses, devoted celebrity clientele and heads of state from around the world.

The Forge Restaurant is located at 432 Forty-First Street in Miami Beach, FL. For more information, call 305.538.8533 or visit

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December 10th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

15th Annual Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Raises One Million For Children Across South Florida

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We here at Haute Living heard about the Make-A-Wish Ball on Saturday, November 7, 2009, where the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida and InterContinental Miami celebrated the 15th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, raising $1 million, with a Beatles-inspired cocktail reception and dinner, musical performance by Beatlemania Now, extravagant live auction emceed by Pamela Anderson, and 2nd Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist also appeared as a special honoree. “We are delighted to announce that our 15th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball was an extraordinary success,” said Norman Wedderburn, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida President/CEO. “As a result of the unwavering support of our donors, we were able to raise an astonishing amount of money for our children amidst these tough times. I am extremely grateful for all of the generous supporters who donated and contributed their time and efforts towards making this year’s Ball an unforgettable experience and more importantly, providing the resources that will make wishes come true for 200 children across South Florida.”

This year’s InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball was made possible by the committee’s star players: President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Norm Wedderburn; Ball Chairman and proprietor of The Forge, Shareef Malnik; and recently appointed InterContinental Miami General Manager, Robert B. Hill.


Also honored at this year’s Ball were Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik; Grand Benefactors Stanley and Gala Cohen; Founding Benefactors Howard and Barbara Glicken; and Wish Star Benefactor James L. Ferraro, as well as Wish Benefactors Harvey and Roberta Chaplin, Stuart A. Miller of Lennar Corporation and Robert Press of Trafalgar Capital Advisors.

The evening began with an extravagant Beatles-inspired cocktail reception in the hotel’s Mezzanine, which was transformed into a wonderland reminiscent of the legendary group’s songs “Strawberry Fields,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and “All You Need Is Love,” among others. The fantasy decor included a yellow submarine made of 1,000 balloons, a hand-carved carousel of air-brushed animals, six-foot-tall strawberries dotted with giant rhinestone “seeds,” and eight-foot-high letters that spelled out “LOVE” on an Abbey Road Studios facade.

Guests enjoyed bountiful hors d’oeuvre stations created by InterContinental Miami’s gifted Executive Chef Alexander Feher, spirits provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., and the renowned silent auction that raised $87,000. More than 140 premier items were donated by top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Ocean Reef Club, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines and Christian Dior, to name a few.

At the end of the reception, guests were summoned to dinner by the event’s 47 themed performers, including a 10-foot lobster man on stilts, a bearded lady, a strong man, Sgt. Pepper characters, glittering mermaids and colorful sea anemones.

The dinner gala continued with beats by Miami HEAT resident DJ Irie and an action-packed live auction hosted by Anderson. Attorney Jim Ferraro donated nearly $500,000 for three items-a Ferrari California donated by Ken Gorin of THE COLLECTION; a home rental and golf experience at famed St. Andrews Links, Scotland, provided by Paul and Emma Woodhouse; and a trip to Punta Mita, Mexico courtesy of Strategic Hotels and Resorts, owners of InterContinental Miami. A total of $210,000 was raised by Miami’s top VIPs and philanthropists at the live auction.

The grand finale of the event featured live music entertainment, with Beatlemania Now bringing the crowd to its feet from the first chords of “I Saw Her Standing There.” Following the Ball and for the second time in InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball’s history, the after-party at InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub celebrated the Ball’s endeavors and reintroduced the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida to the next generation of contributors and Miami’s tastemakers in the fashion, arts, music and nightlife industries.

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November 25th, 2009 at 10:20 am

SHAREEF AND YASEEN MALNIK -The Forge Master Mind’s Son

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Yaseen Malnik’s childhood was certainly not typical: He resided on Ocean Drive, watched his father, Shareef Malnik, race boats, and hobnobbed at The Forge with stars such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. That’s all par for the course for the married 24-year-old boxing promoter, who eschewed the restaurant business for the fight world. Shareef, whose father, Alvin Malnik, bought The Forge in 1968, also took a circuitous route as a youngster before taking over the venerable Miami Beach steak house in 1992. Since then, Shareef, 50, has made the eatery into celeb central, upped the gourmet quotient and reenergized the brand. He’s even opening a satellite location in Dubai next year. Yaseen, whose number-one contender is Francisco “El Gato” Figueroa, puts that same dedication into his boxing bouts. “I need to uphold a legacy of integrity, honor and loyalty, which my grandfather started and my father continued,” he notes. As for whether Yaseen will ever run Miami’s Best Restaurant, The Forge, Shareef says, “That’s up to him.”

Shot on location at the Malnik South Beach home.

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April 3rd, 2009 at 8:58 am

Tradition with Flair – Shareef Malnik

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By Lee Klein
Published on April 14, 2005

The Forge is something of a time machine. The faded colonial-style gray-and-white facade is fronted by tall, black, nineteenth-century-inspired gas lamps. Inside the Miami Beach institution is a group of eclectically rococo dining rooms, though to call the décor eclectic is like saying Michael Jackson is a little odd. Still, what better word befits a dining establishment with pressed-tin ceilings, stained-glass cathedral windows, titanic tapestries, and — among its hundreds of oddities and antiquities — a twelve-foot Victorian fireplace circa 1830, sconces from Napoleon’s Waterloo headquarters, a crystal chandelier from the Paris Opera House, another from the White House (of James Madison), an Art Nouveau statue by John Nast, iron gates by Edward Brandt, wall plates by Salvador Dali, a Tiffany window from 1907, paintings of naked nymphs, and a Beardsley Rousseau parrot mural. Amazingly it all comes together to form a warm, comfortable, even romantic setting. The outside courtyard is cozy too.

The wine collection is a time machine unto itself, housing some 300,000 bottles, including arguably the most ambitious collection of nineteenth-century Burgundy and Bourdeaux in the country (dating back to an 1822 Lafite). Pick a label, choose a year, though you’ll probably want to avoid 1992, which is when Hurricane Andrew dealt the Forge cellar a big blow — to the tune of a seven-million-dollar loss. Nowadays it’s back to where it was.

Andrew was just another memorable date in the Forge’s intriguing and infamous history. Turn the dial to the Twenties, when artisan Dino Phillips forged ornamental gates in what was then his blacksmith shop. In the Thirties the building was transformed into a casino and open-air gallery where socialites would dance beneath the stars. The Forge was the place to go in the sizzling Miami Beach of the Fifties, not the place to go in the not-hot Sixties. The year was 1968 when Alvin Malnik bought the property and turned it around. In 1977 there was a shooting death on-site involving the stepson of mobster Meyer Lansky; in 1991 a fire destroyed the roof. Meanwhile the Beach was busy being reborn, and as Alvin’s debonaire son Shareef entered the scene, the Forge’s fortunes soared along with the city’s, becoming ground zero for the influx of jet-setting, party-minded visitors — the well-off who wanted to be well fed. It still is that place — stretch limos double-lining the curb while moneyed patrons mix it up here and next door at the private dinner club Jimmy’z.

Nobody has told the waiters that the old days are gone. They dress in the formal attire of a bygone era — not white gloves, but that’s the treatment they give. The sommelier, too, wears the old-fashioned silver tasting cup around his neck, though admittedly this could be mistaken for the sort of bling favored nowadays by rappers. Some of the crew are long in the tooth and effect the somber bearing of butlers in Agatha Christie yarns, but there’s something to be said for experience. Proprietors of Miami’s trendier upscale restaurants needn’t stuff their staffs into tuxedoes, although they might consider visiting the Forge and taking note of how waiters properly articulate menu items, replace flatware and plates, handle wines, and generally keep on top of things in a pampering (not pandering) professional fashion.

While service takes an anachronistic route toward pleasing the customer, and the wine list and décor favor the shock-and-awe approach, the Forge’s cuisine has mostly been about satisfying with traditional steak-house staples of juicy sirloins, gargantuan lobsters, and family-style sides of potatoes, creamed spinach, and so on. Permit me to travel back eight years, to a night when my folks and I had dinner here (there are few restaurants more exhilarating to parents than this one). Long-time chef Kal Abdalla was still at the stoves, and I recall that after the waiters performed their synchronized lifting of silver domes from the large, oval entrée plates (always impressive), my father’s filet mignon, alone in the middle of the expansive white dish, looked like an aerial photograph of a brown-capped man in a snowstorm.

Let’s dash ahead to 2003, when chef Andrew Rothschild replaced Kal and proceeded to shake the foundations of the Forge menu by adding contemporary flair to the stodgy fare, and accompaniments to the entrées. Andrew Swersky inherited the chef position seven months ago, but he’s been part of the Forge family a long while — in fact, he helped create chef Kal’s original menu. In spirit, though, Swersky is closer to Rothschild, adding global and Latin accents and forgoing the sparse, à la carte approach; filet mignon now comes with a small dollop of mashed potatoes and a bouquet of baby vegetables. Swersky, also like his predecessor, infuses his cuisine with all manner of modern comestibles: mache, microgreens, heirloom tomatoes, white truffles, golden beets, wakame, basmati, coconut risotto. When pork chops come with soba noodles and lotus root chips, you can be pretty sure, gastronomically speaking, this is not your father’s Forge.

Predinner breads include Parmesan wafers, raisin-walnut toast, and warm onion-and-rosemary-flecked focaccia. There are about 40 ways to begin your meal — soups, salads, pastas, thin-crust pizzas, a fairly extensive raw bar, and a slew of hot and cold appetizers. Steak tartare, an old standard that Swersky reinserted, is a melodious mound of red, raw, buttery beef enlightened by truffle oil, lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire, fresh herbs, and slightly piquant paprika aioli. Accompaniments missed: a poached egg on top too overcooked to drip luxurious yolk into the meat, and a prefried trio of plantain chips lacking the clean crispness of classic toast points. Escargots have never crawled off the menu, the half-dozen snails big and tender, a splash of Chardonnay effective in cutting the garlic and grease.

Organic arugula salad offers light passage to the heavy main courses, the peppery greens tossed with paper-thin shavings of fennel and Parmigiano-Reggiano in lemon juice and fruity green olive oil. Signature chopped salad is too fussy, the diced tomatoes, vegetables, and Gorgonzola cheese molded into a ribboned round of cucumber, with lettuce leaves protruding upward like feathers in a headdress. As with the plantain chips, this is another instance where the Forge should stick to the way things used to be: a big bowl of easy-to-eat salad.

Some things never change: Steaks here are still as solid as an anvil. A requested end cut of boneless prime rib eye (Delmonico) was near perfect, the crust darkly caramelized on a torrid grill, the juices thus sealed within the meat like water in a balloon — didn’t need anything but a little salt and pepper, though a rich, veal-based chanterelle sauce on the side did manage to take it higher. Both the waiter and menu reminded us that the signature “super steak,” a sixteen-ounce portion of sirloin dry-aged for 21 days, has been cited by Wine Spectator as “the best steak in America.” It is damn tender, with noticeably deep beef flavor. No more Forge 48-ounce Porterhouse, as big as a dinosaur and now as extinct.

Five types of fish come cooked simply over oak wood or busily garnished with global accompaniments. The plainest presentation in the latter group is a center cut of swordfish, which was grilled to just the right point of doneness and crowned with a sparkling mélange of roasted red and yellow peppers, kalamata olives, capers, olive oil, and a drizzle of rosemary butter. Dover sole, on the other hand, could make Blackwell’s list of worst-dressed fish, the delicate flesh flashily sauced with coconut pineapple rum beurre blanc.  A two- or three-pound lobster would be a safer bet for uncomplicated gratification.

A sweet and sticky “mahogany” glaze on oak-grilled chicken, in tandem with a fruity lingonberry sauce underneath, proved too cloying against the subtle, smoky flavor of the moist breast and nearly sabotaged an otherwise sensational sliced, boneless leg wrapped around savory cornbread-and-foie gras stuffing with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (if this makes you think of Simon & Garfunkel, you’re old enough to become a waiter here). A savory mold of Israeli couscous and a scattering of oak-grilled vegetables are served with the bird, though your table might want to share a couple of sides just the same. A worthwhile one to try would be “hash browns Lyonnaise,” a fancy name for a fat, potato pancakelike puck of creamy yuca capped with sautéed onions. Shoestring potatoes are too similar to junk-food potato snacks, so I was disappointed (partly in myself for not asking about the dish beforehand) that “truffle-Parmesan fries” brought a plentiful pile of those cold, crisp, skinny sticks with nary a trace of cheese — and even less truffle oil.

Chocolate soufflé was moister than cake but not quite runny enough — overcooked by a mere minute or two. Just the same, the full, smooth chocolate flavor was right on the money, which is why the full, smooth chocolate sauce seemed redundant — crme anglaise would’ve been a better partner. Other desserts (key lime pie, cheesecake, chocolate cake, and the like) are big and sweet.

Though the Forge’s food is convincingly contemporary, there are probably other dinner spots to which you’ll want to take those hipster visitors from New York (though keep Shareef’s place in mind for party night on Wednesdays). The Forge is more suited for special occasions, or when you crave a great steak and Bordeaux, or for those times you just want to escape this hectic world and enter a genteel realm of glass and distinction. This is what makes The Forge Restaurant a Top 10 Restaurant in Miami Beach.

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March 5th, 2009 at 11:57 am

Forge Owner Forces NYC Restaurant To Change Its Name

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A Miami restaurateur is causing a bit of a stink in the New York restaurant scene. Let’s start last year, when chef Marc Forgione decided to open a restaurant called Forge. It’s his nickname, after all. Those of you in South Florida are likely familiar with The Forge; you might not know that the latter restaurant’s owner, Shareef Malnik, son of famous attorney Alvin Malnik, had the name trademarked in 1996. So last September, Shareef Malnik sued Forgione for trademark infringement. And now, Forgione has to change the restaurant’s name by February 1, despite the fact that the two restaurants are nothing alike. Here’s a great excerpt from The New York Observer’s article:

Mr. Malnik’s case was largely predicated on a pile of press describing his restaurant’s long history of catering to the rich and famous: Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Richard Nixon, to name-drop a few. “We submitted, I think, 400 pages of documents and we could get more,” Mr. Malnik said. “I’m sure there are some people, but I would exaggerate to say that there isn’t a person in New York who doesn’t know the Forge.”

Talk about street cred: The New York Times in 2000 described the restaurant as “sort of like Sparks Steak House South,” in reference to “the New York mob landmark” where Gambino boss Paul Castellano was killed in 1986. The article noted that Mr. Malnik’s father, Alvin Malnik, the restaurant’s prior owner, was also the famous lawyer who was friends with Meyer Lansky.

“If one didn’t know that we existed and that I had this trademark, then they would have to be somewhat naïve,” Mr. Malnik told The Observer. “You can’t help but bump into our name anytime you search ‘Forge.’”

Mr. Forgione admitted that he was aware of the Florida eatery prior to opening his own place in New York. “I Googled ‘Forge’ three years ago,” he said. “But I never in a million years thought that a restaurant in Miami would give a shit.”

To be fair, the restaurant in question has been around for quite a while and is Miami’s best restaurant, although Malnik’s claim that most people in New York know about it is ridiculous. And if his plans include expansion to New York, well, he’s got a valid point then.

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February 17th, 2009 at 10:49 am

Forging A Wednesday Night Tradition By Mamie Ward, Miami Herald

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In South Beach, where most clubs struggle to keep the attention of the in crowd for one season, it’s hard to imagine a weekday theme party surviving for more than a few weeks. But, at the Forge, the mix of elegant dining, black-tie service, fine wines, good music and changing themes has kept people coming Wednesday nights for the past 11 years.

The Miami Beach restaurant-slash-nightclub originally was opened by Al Malnik in 1969, but in 1991, his son Shareef took over, hoping to make the place a haven for hipsters and celebrities. A couple of years later, the Wednesday night theme party was born.

“I needed to do something to re-invent the place and something to make the change stick,” he said, toasting the party’s longevity last month at the anniversary party sponsored by Ocean Drive magazine. “I decided to throw [the party] on an off night.”

Malnik gets together with a team of people at the Forge each week to come up with themes for the Wednesday parties. Since the theme changes every week, they try to plan anywhere from a week to a month in advance. Memorable nights have included the time the dining area became center stage for a Jungle Party with tigers, pythons and an ape on display; a Salute to the Troops night honoring the armed services; a winter wonderland with artificial snow decorating the floors, white satin curtains and people dressed in white; and a beach party with sand, palm trees and 65 Miami Beach life guards dressed for a day at work.

Since this week’s party fell during the holidays, the club planned a simple New Year’s Eve theme. Next Wednesday will celebrate a birthday and the following week, Malnik is planning a pajama party in which beds will be brought into the restaurant and patrons will come wearing nighties. To compete with the raciness of other South Beach nightclubs, Malnik said he has been known to push the limits.

We put a runway down the center of the restaurant to host a La Perla fashion show and had models walking around in beautiful lingerie,” he said.

Malnik recalled one night in the mid-‘90s, two or three years into the Wednesday parties, when he saw cars lining 41st Street and celebrity guests in his place as the moment he knew his reinvention of the Forge could hold its own.

“I looked around and all on the same Wednesday night, Madonna, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Wayne Gretzky were all inside having dinner throughout the party. It was so bizarre.”

The recent anniversary celebration was no exception as Derek Jeter casually dined at a corner table with a group of friends. Other big names seen in recent weeks include Sen. Hillary Clinton and boxer Lennox Lewis.

But don’t think you need to be on the A-list to attend this party. Promoter Antonio Misuraca, who also does parties for B.E.D. and Prive, said the Forge is a place for everyone and it’s his job to make it that way.

“I cater to everyone and treat them with respect,” he said.
Malnik echoed his comments. “We have décor, lighting, sounds and theme productions, but what really makes it come alive is the people.”

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February 2nd, 2009 at 1:38 pm