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Michael's Genuine - Miami Design District

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I've been waiting for a while for this place to open as I've been a fan of Michael Schwartz since Nemo (but dropped my enthusiasm when he went to afterglo).

I went twice last week, once for dinner and once for bar snacks. Both times it met my expectations. The establishment is supposed to be a place for both casual and celebratory meals, but the menu tends to lean towards the former. Dishes are in one of 4 categories (small, medium, large and large enough to share). This is aside from the snacks menu which is where I think Michael's excels. Dinner included tuna tartar (passable), beef cheek on cauliflower mash with chocolate reduction (very good), roast pork shoulder with cheese grits (good) and the daily pizza of shrimp, manchego and chorizo (passable on the toppings, crust was good - thin, crispy and slightly burned on the edges). Two nights later we passed by for a late meal and decided to forgo the 20 minute wait (at 10:00) and have food at the bar. Chicken liver crostini was good (but no one is going to surpass those at Pizzeria Mozza in L.A.) and the crispy hominy was a good bar snack. The duck confit was good albeit a little salty, but the pureed celeraic that accompanied it was awesome. Dessert on both nights was chocolate cremoso which comes accompanied with an overly cold and insipid coffee concoction which should be left off the place for the olive-oil and sea salted cremoso. It's addicting.

There's a full bar and a small wine list with a few wines by the glass as well as imports and microbrews. Staff is extremely competent (saw an ex-waiter from Talula) and the place feels like it's been open for years. No kinks in service, delivery, etc. Only problem is getting a table.

The area was in desperate need of a place like this. When you're there, you have no idea that the rest of the DDistrict is almost entirely empty. Our waiter told us that Michael Eisman (Pacific Time) is opening a place where The District was and that Grass is reopening. Could it be that between Michy's, Michael's, etc. that people may actually go westbound on the causeway for dinner?

http://www.michaelsgenuine.com/

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  1. Funny, someone who works in the DD and whose taste I also greatly respect just mentioned this place to me right before I logged on and saw your post. Thanks for the update and review!

    Go West young man...it sure is easier than trying to find parking here on South Beach during season that's for sure...thank God it's almost over!

    1 Reply
    1. re: netmover

      We just tried it and I wholeheartedly second this recommendation. First off, I don't know if it's just because I don't get to the DD often (though I drive through every day), but somehow the restaurant made me feel like I was in a different town. The low-key but classy interior (simple wood chairs, polished concrete floor, white paper on the tables, simple votive...) reminded me of places in Portland or Seattle.

      And the food! Menu is divided into snacks, small, medium, large & x-large, as well as several veggie sides. Snacks are $4 each, small and medium dishes (apps) range for high single digit to low teens, large & x-large dishes are twenties into forties (x-large meant to be shared, including whole wood-roasted chicken, whole fish, porterhouse, gigantic pork chop).

      We had a couple snacks - crispy hominy w/ salt & lime, and chicken liver crostini. The hominy were addictively delicious, and the chicken liver were delicious (if you like that kind of thing, which I do) - done exactly like I do when I roast a chicken, sauteed w/ some butter and cognac and mashed. Also ridiculously generous, with 3 well-slathered crostini for $4 (this can't last). These came out quick too, just in case you were desparately hungry and needed something to tide you over until your apps came.

      Then had several of the small/medium dishes: mussels (steamed w/ a spicy tomato harissa broth over sticky black rice), a dish which made its way over from Nemo and is still good; panzanella (salad of bread & heirloom tomatoes), again a pretty generous serving for a "small" dish, nice tomatoes and several varieties but a little overwhelmed by the vinaigrette and could have used another note other than just tomatoes & crispy croutons; duck confit (nice & crispy and my wife wasn't sharing much!); and crispy beef cheek (a surprisingly big slab for a "medium" "appetizer" dish), not sure how they get the crispy exterior and tender inside but it's delicious, served over a celeriac mash, with a little celeriac salad and a chocolate reduction (not nearly as odd as it sounds). Great dish, only possible complaint would be that it could use a little more of the celeriac salad to cut the richness of the other components. Also had brussel sprouts, one of the veggie sides, which are roasted to the point of being charred & crispy outside, and prepared with juicy cubes of pancetta. Unfortunately we didn't have time to try the desserts. Great wine list too, with lots of really solid choices under $50.

      (Upon reviewing this, just realized we ordered almost exactly the same as L2M!!)

      Service was completely firing on all cylinders. Waiter was perfectly pleasant and professional, everything came out at the right time, silverware cleared between dishes, etc.

      My only hesitation in recommending it is the fear it will become impossible to get in. What we had was for the most part great, and there was lots more on the menu I was interested in trying. The roast chicken in particular sounds like he's following the model of the legendary roast chicken from Zuni Cafe in SF (a recipe I've done with fantastic success).

    2. Great to hear. I hope the DD takes off as dining location. I think you meant "Jonathon" Eismann of Pacific Time.

      6 Replies
      1. re: 2top

        2nd visit followup:
        Went back again last week to try some different items, and they're still toying with the menu some as it seemed a couple items have changed. This time we went with:
        tuna tartare
        wood-roasted lamb-stuffed onion
        skirt steak
        pork shoulder

        The place was packed (Friday night) but we were able to be seated at the bar (the regular bar, there's also a kitchen bar) where they serve the full menu. Our bartender was not only eager to serve but knowledgeable as well, knew all the dishes and had thoughts on the best ways to eat each. I sometimes find this kind of thing intrusive but the guy was so earnest and nice that it really wasn't a put-off. And his advice was pretty good, as the roasted onion (a sweet vidalia-syle onion stuffed with a moroccan-spiced ground lamb mixture and roasted in a wood-burning oven, served with some peppery arugula) would have been tricky without his suggestion -- take off the outside skin it's roasted in, and chop up the onion and mix it w/ the lamb & the greens. The lamb was very nicely flavored but I don't think I'd order this one again. The tartare was very nice, pristine, fresh, meaty fish and an interesting accompanyment of grapefruit segments bathed in a little chili oil.

        The skirt steak was nice, cooked appropriately and served over some roasted root vegetables (parsnip, carrot, pearl onion) w/ a rouille (red pepper aioli) over the top. The standout, I thought, was the pork shoulder, roasted until it's shredding-apart tender, topped w/ pickled onions (making it very reminiscent of a Mexican dish like a good cochinita pibil) and accompanied with some delicious cheese grits. Also picked up a nice 1999 Amarone for under $60.

        This place is doing everything right.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          I sat at the bar and tried some $4 'snacks'. Fried beef cheek rillettes-2 tiny discs-were odd, chips and onion dip were a good bar snack to go with a Belzebuth 13% alc. beer (very good, although it's $7 for an 8.5-oz bottle), chicken liver crostini which came 4 to an order (I agree this will probably change!), very mousse-like two-biter-really outstanding (I was drinking a glass of decent Barbera-$7). A pretty busy Tuesday, but the bar is small, so get there early. Most of the seating is outside, although there is a 'bar' in front of the open kitchen which might be fun if you go for that sort of thing. Going to return on a weeknight next week to try more.

          1. re: Miami Danny

            Place appears to be constantly packed, went for lunch on a weekday and it was close to filled inside and out. Had a pretty nice nicoise salad w/ fresh tuna and an aioli drizzle.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              Mussels are awesome, thought they could use less butter. Kimchi is addicting.

              1. re: lax2mia

                Saturday-9PM-not really that packed. Bar was slow. Noticed on the menu that 'snacks' were now priced at $5, but was actually only charged $4 for Chicken Liver Crostini. Ordered the braised clams ($9)-I think bacon/pancetta, fennel and potatoes-really satisfying broth with some good bread. Also had an order of fries ($5) just to try and they were pretty good. Nice mixed crowd, more younger types than weekdays. Not too scene-y yet.

                1. re: Miami Danny

                  Just wanted to note again how many things this place is doing right. We went this past rainy Friday night - got a late start and called around 9:30 to see if they had any tables. The host said they had nothing until 11, and I asked if they had any room at the bar. He said there was a couple at the kitchen bar who would be leaving in about 15 minutes (which is about how long it takes us to get there) and he'd hold the seats for us. Good man.

                  We got there, a little wet, and had a drink at the bar while waiting for the kitchen bar seats to open. When I ordered a wine for my wife and a Maker's Mark old-fashioned for myself, the bartender misheard and thought my wife's "Ridge Zinfandel" was a "Reisling". My wife says I mumble - I say it was just loud in there. In any event, he took it back without hesitation, but the Reisling actually looked pretty tempting and I told the bartender I'd take it instead of my old-fashioned. I had to practically beg him because he was so excited to make an old-fashioned.

                  We were seated before we finished our drinks. The kitchen bar is not a place to sit for an elegant meal, as the pass is literally right next to you and every order goes through there, so there's a constant bussle of waitstaff. But we love watching the kitchen at work and so it's perfect for us. Michael Schwartz was in there working the wood-burning oven (which, I realized when we were sitting there, cranks out a lot of the items on the menu including pizzas, a whole roasted fish, roasted chickens, some of the veggie items).

                  We started with the stout-braised claims (w/ potato, fennel & bacon) and a butter lettuce salad (w/ oranges, hazelnuts & avocado) and followed with a salmon steak (served w/ a potato/mushroom hash) and the pizza, which looked too good to resist (topped w/ shredded pork, caramelized onions, sliced figs, a sprinkle of cheese and a toss of arugula). Oh, and a "snack" of deviled eggs to start. And a side of the brussels sprouts w/ pancetta (crisped in the wood-burning oven).

                  I absolutely love the "snacks" for $5 (a little inflation from the $4 when they first opened, but still quite reasonable). Great touch. The deviled eggs were very mayo-y but yummy, though I prefer some of the other "snack" items we've had (chicken liver crostini, crispy hominy).

                  The clams were nice but I thought the stout broth turned a little bitter, and I would have preferred a little more bacon and a little less fennel (of course, more bacon is always better). The salad was simple and elegant. The salmon was delicious - nobody does salmon steak (cut across the body rather than as a filet), apparently because so many people fear fish bones, but you really do get better flavor. Beautiful dark red Alaskan sockeye, and the potato-mushroom hash was a great accompaniment. And the pizza was just outstanding. Crispy thin crust, perfect combination with the toppings, savory and a a little sweet at the same time.

                  Service is excellent too. Our waiter recognized us from prior visits, pointed out what was new on the menu (which changes a bit all the time), knew the items (including where the salmon came from and what kind of fish it was). Another thing that is so impressive is the teamwork - while our waiter was perfectly attentive, if any of the other waiters happened by and saw we needed anything, they immediately took care of it.

                  The website is finally live, and though the actual menu changes a bit regularly, the website gives a pretty good idea of the place.
                  http://www.michaelsgenuine.com

      2. Went yesterday for the very first time. I had stayed away initially because several friends had had bad experiences.

        I loved the dim lights and the jazzy music playing in the background. My table was situated near my neighbors' so my friend and I got to peek at dishes and breathe in nice aromas before we placed our order. I started off with a full-bodied cab and my companion (bless his liver) had a straight vodka. We had two medium plates and one small. The duck confit with cauliflower mash was tasty- not extraordinary. The onion loaded with lamb was delectable. The tuna tartare with grapefruit wedges was decent. My companion ordered the pork with cheese grits and after the first bite, his eyes rolled to the back of his head. A very good sign. I tried it and mimicked his reaction. For dessert, we had the marshmallow s'more chocolate wedge. I believe the marshmallows were homeade. In all fairness, I am not a s'more fan. I would rather eat the bitter herb from a Seder plate than marshmallows. My friend declared the dessert a success- so I take his word. We have a real dearth of decent neighborhood places. Michael's seems to be a welcome change.

        1. Went to Michael's Genuine three times in the past weeks. Here are my thoughts:

          1. Love the trend of places like this varying their portion sizes. When I go out to eat, I am one who loves lots of little plates (i.e., the chefs menu) rather than one app and one huge entree. Mikey gives you 5 sizes: a) snacks, b) small apps, c) large apps, d) entrees, e) super large entrees -- for sharing.
          This works out perfect for me; not so great for our waiters who have to serve me multiple courses at $5-10 a course while I hog their table (more on that later!)

          2. As far as food, the place reminds me of Michy's in that it can be slightly hit and miss (although it has more "hits" than Michy's). In other words, if you order the right things, you can have an incredible meal. If you order the wrong things, you may walk away scratching your head at the praise this place has garnered.

          3. The snacks are a great part of the menu to splurge on. The potato chips and onion dip is my fav so far. Not far behind are the deviled eggs. Go with the olives (if thats yer thing). I was not won over by the chx liver crostini's. Thats usually my thing, but I just think there are better options. Have not tried the crispy hominy-- but each time the waiter reccomends.

          They ran out of ceviche and pulled it from the menu. Go with that if its back on when you dine. Also, the wild sockeye salmon tartare is incredible. Its like butter, only better. Oysters are also money.

          I was told to go with the prawn, but it ended up being a bad dish. Perhaps overcooked (Michael was not working the brick-oven at the time of night when I ordered it) and the meat was difficult to get out with a fork. Order with caution.

          I also was perplexed by the roasted onion with lamb. The lamb inside was rather dry and the dish could be improved if it had the right "stuffing" cause that roasted onion is sublime.

          A major rec are the pizzas. Definitely for lunch (but they are big), but it also makes a great sharing app for the table. At night they have the roasted pork pizza (trust me on this one -- its great!) and during they day they have about 4 to chose from. These might be the house specialty. On top of the taste, the price point on these items can win over all but the most frugal diners.

          As you can see, I havent really had any entrees. As I told you before, I'm not really a "portion size" guy, so I generally order apps at places like this. Sorry I can't help out with the entrees....

          4. As for the service.... on the whole, its above average for the Miami area. In other words, the servers look generally happy to be working there and they try to fill your dining requests with the goal of seeing you return as a customer. (Again, this the advantage in Miami of dining on the "mainland" in areas where tourists are less frequent.) On the other hand, all three times I dined the servers were really, really, really trying to push food on me throughout my dinner/lunch.
          Now I have served for many years, and I understand that its important for both the resaurant and the server to push up average ticket prices, but I just cant get with the pushiness that I received. If Michael is going to put snacks and small apps on the menu, the servers need to be down with this and understand that people are going to come in and just "snack" and "appetize". Hey, I am going to order the food I want, ok!? Just to give you a sense of what I'm talking about, my waiter one night kept asking if we wanted a dozen oysters (wtf!?). I told him I wanted the prawn (on his rec) and he said, "OK, so a prawn and a half dozen oysters for the table???" I was like, "No, just the prawn." LOL. Anyway, he was just too pushy wanting us to order more drinks and food. And I experienced this (albeit in smaller doses) the other two times I dined there.
          Other than that, tho, the service was above par.

          5. Desserts are rather good. I loved the upside down banana cake. We also had the chocolate *&^(*&% with olive oil and sea salt. Although it sounds bad, it is good! Both are must order items. Avoid the strawberry shortcake. Also, the smores might be overrated.

          6. If you go for lunch, dine at the "chefs bar" in the back. You can watch the kitchen work as well as Michael manning the brick oven. (On an inside note, Michael sure has the "stoic chef" mode down. He never seems to be happy, unless of course, you talk to him about his food. His stoic personality immediately brightens and he is like a kid talking about Disney World. Pretty funny to see that change in disposition, actually).
          The back bar is a little too crowded (via employees coming and going) to enjoy a fine meal, but its perfect for a snack at night or anything at lunch.

          7. Price points!!! As has been said before, this place is so nice because it is always a dining option no matter the occasion. If you want to "fine dine" and impress someone, you can do it. If you want to swing by before a movie/performance for a quick bite, you can get in and out without spending too much money. If you want to see some hipsters and scenesters (a rarity in Miami!!!), then just plunk down at the bar. You can spend as much or as little money as you want. This can't be said about many of the better restaurants in Miami.
          ===============

          To sum it up: LETS HOPE THIS PLACE MAKES IT!!

          Even with a few blemishes, this place shines. We need more places like this in Miami.

          1. I found this place to be good but not great. Did not try dessert.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tpigeon

              What did you have? Some things are definitely better than others, though I've yet to have an outright "miss" there yet.

              1. re: tpigeon

                Totally disagree. Cremoso dessert is awesome. Place is great considering Miami's lack of unpretentious places like Michael's. Were it in San Francisco, I'd consider it good. But it's here, so great it is.

                1. re: lax2mia

                  Lax, I was eyeing the upside down bananna and the cremoso (especially as I am a fan of olive oil gelato and I am hoping for an similar experience with the cremoso here) unfortunately the group I ate with did not want to do dessert.

                  There was nothing that missed to me at this place. Everything was good and i was satisfied and felt it was fairly priced. However, nothing I ate was memorable. I did not like the figs on the pizza for dinner btw but that is a personal taste thing. The pizza was well excecuted and if you like the figs on the pizza you probably would like the dinner pizza very much. Also had the berkshire pork shoulder, the chips and devilled eggs. I had the chicken wings too.

                  1. re: tpigeon

                    File this under the "Francisco Franco is still dead" type of report - Michael's Genuine is still good. Actually just wanted to comment on a few new items I hadn't tried before.

                    The menu really is in a constant state of metamorphosis - while there are some mainstays, it does seem many items will come and go or change with the seasons. For instance, my beloved brussels sprouts w/ pancetta are gone - out of season and too expensive, Michael says (we sat at the kitchen bar). I should also note how refreshing it is to actually see the chef in the kitchen and working the oven, in these days when so many "chefs" tack their name on a place and are not seen again for 6 months.

                    So this time around we had the chicken liver crostini snack (four rounds of toasted bagette topped w/ creamed chicken livers and caramelized onions), house salad (arugula tossed w/ manchego cheese, champagne grapes, little brioche croutons, and draped w/ serrano ham - very nice mix of flavors), a wood-oven-roasted artichoke stuffed w/ bread crumbs and cambozola cheese (tasty, though I think the all-time best stuffed artichoke is at Ragazzi's), and the wood-oven-roasted whole chicken.

                    I thought the chicken was just fantastic. Crispy skin, perfectly cooked and moist, a bit of smokiness from the wood oven, dripping with its pan juices, tossed with some plumped rasins, toasted pine nuts, and a toss of arugula, with the bird brought out whole to the plate (they'll happily portion it out for you, but then you don't get to pick at the carcass!). Yes, it's "just" a roasted chicken - but it's a damn good one, and a very nice meal, especially with a nice Oregon Pinot Noir (the Daedalus made for a nice pairing).

                    Also finally tried the chocolate cremoso dessert. I will confess to not being entirely clear as to what a "cremoso" is, have decided it's something between a fudge and a ganache. In any case, a quenelle of the stuff, topped with some sea salt and olive oil and accompanied by a little sliver of toasted bread, makes a very nice, slightly savory dessert (especially when paired with the Osborune PX sherry). I thought the espresso parfait was a gratuitous and unnecessary addition.

                    My point being, I suppose: another fine meal had at Michael's, and while some favorites may come and go, it's great to see the menu update with the seasons but the food remains top notch.

                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      Michael's rocks. Hands down the best new restaurant in Miami.

              2. I was pleased to spy Chef Michael Schwartz as my table was seated to dinner recently at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. Although our party was awfully tempted to sit en dehors in the balmy night breeze, a couple in our party preferred the air conditioned environs and thus we ducked inside the small, boisterously upbeat, and (the photographer in me will note) dark dining room.

                Still, I managed to get photos of all of our food for you, which you can see, and read about, on my flickr account here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulterior...

                As with my posting on Michy's (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45702...), I'll dispense with the "411" and get down to the food and overall experience, which I'll try to do in broad strokes, more or less, 'cause I know the blow-by-blow can get pretty boring:

                Here's what we ordered and ate (oy, did we really eat all that?):

                "Small"
                House Salad

                "Medium"
                Butter Lettuce
                Heirloom Tomato & Baby Beet Salad
                Crispy Sweet & Sour Glazed Pork Belly
                Chargrilled Octopus

                "Large"
                Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish
                Wood-Roasted Harissa-Spiced Black Grouper

                Sides
                Wood-Roasted Cauliflower with Parsley Sauce
                Wood-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Lemon Aioli

                Desserts
                Chocolate Cremoso
                Angel Food Cake with Cayenne-Spiced Strawberries

                1. I love the wine list. They have a truly interesting selection by the glass (I didn't bother looking at the bottles, as the by-the-glass list was pretty upstanding in itself.

                2. Overall, the food was excellent. My two favorite courses were the Sweet & Sour-Glazed Pork Belly and the Grilled Pumpkin Swordfish. The Pork Belly dish, which has been much talked about, really was very nice. Honestly, I think I enjoyed the pork belly meat (and fat) itself than the accompanying syrupy sweet & sour "kimchi." The sauce was a tad too sweet for me (n.b. I have a sub-standard tolerance for sweetness). However, the pork was truly well executed and the meat itself, without the help of any sauces, was quite flavorful. It was probably the best dish we had. The grilled pumpkin swordfish dish was also another favorite. The fish itself was rather boring and much too meaty. I hesitated on ordering the swordfish because I generally prefer flaky/softer fishes to the steakier ones (i.e. swordfish, sturgeon (sometimes it can be wonderfully silky if done correctly), tuna steak, mahi mahi, shark, etc...). But, the accompaniments sold me, and in when realized in my mouth, won me over pretty handily. The ragout of artichoke hearts, fennel, and cipoline onions garnished with crispy onions in a seductively fragrant warm white wine (perhaps a touch of vermouth?) broth was exquisitely balanced, well-executed (the vegetables were *perfectly* cooked) and comforting.

                3. The one (needlessly) disappointing dish was the House Salad - a mix of chopped lettuces with champagne grapes, Manchego cheese, and blanketed with a generous slices of Serrano ham. It was [i]way[/i] over-salted. I was particularly looking forward to tasting the riesling vinaigrette, which turned out to be, in practice, a salt vinaigrette. I could hardly taste the sweet bead-sized champagne grapes - everything else disappeared into a otherwise indistinguishable textural study of SALT. With the Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, really not much additional seasoning was needed. Pity - it would have been a stellar salad if it had been properly seasoned.

                4. What Michael's has mastered, more than Michy's, and perhaps not as well as Sardinia, is the art of the wood oven. Two of the most enjoyable courses came from the wood-oven: the brussels sprouts, which were nicely charged with fat cubes of pancetta and side of bracingly tart (a good thing) lemon aioli, and the roasted cauliflower coated with a nice parsley sauce.

                5. Desserts, which are usually done with passing interest, were pretty good. What I enjoyed about the two we tried - the "Chocolate Cremoso" and the "Angel Food Cake," was that neither was very sweet. The Angel Food Cake, which came sided with a spicy cayenne-spiked mix of macerated strawberries and what appeared (and tasted like) a cayenne-infused syrup, was simple, yet made the earth move slightly beneath me. There were a few moments where I had sworn I had discovered the 8th Wonder (of what, I know not, but the 8th Wonder, no less). It was a fantastic combination which tickled my palate. The cayenne syrup was intoxicating... each bite of the cake took a progressively longer dunk.

                6. Service for our table, sadly, was pretty shoddy. While the back wait staff was very diligent and efficient, at times they were really too eager to clear plates. For example, bread, disappeared after the salad course, never to reappear!! Our server was really just absent way too much. After desserts were dropped, I think he must have dropped (somewhere in the back kitchen) as well - we had to finally grab (yes, almost literally, as all the other servers seemed to be blind to our frantic waving) what appeared to be the manager to get our check. We outlasted a good two table turns - and not because we were eating slowly or purposely dallying. This was a pity as I probably would have been doing cartwheels out of the restaurant had our service matched the quality of our food - it really put a noticeable damper on the evening for our party.

                7. On an aesthetic note (since I am a photographer and a self-consciously artistically-inclined fellow), I love the (for lack of better description), red box lanterns, which swayed to and fro freely with the draft above... I also very much enjoyed the open kitchen and the kitchen counter, which was lined with dozens of gorgeous, plump, over-turned heirloom tomatoes. If I were a lone diner, or even on a casual date, you'd probably find me at one of those counter seats.

                Again, you can see all of my photos and read detailed descriptions of each on my flickr account here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulterior...

                11 Replies
                1. re: ulterior epicure

                  We had dinner at Michaels last night and again it was fabulous. We shared an assortment of small plates and then had the grouper, and steaks. All were perfectly cooked with great flavors. The wood oven roasted veggies are wonderful, and the chocolate peanutbutter banana split finished off a great meal in style. This is a new item just placed on the menu and Hedy ( the pastry chef) does not disappoint. We will be returning soon to try more items on this interesting and well rounded menu.

                  1. re: dlgc

                    Is Hedy the one who used to be at Talula?

                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      She was at Nemo with him. I don't think she was ever at Talula but could be wrong. She was a consutlant for Michael's Genuine but she may be more involved now.

                      1. re: Sobe

                        You're right. Previously Nemo, Prime 112, Shoji (the Myles Chefetz places).

                      2. re: Frodnesor

                        She was the Nemo pastry chef for a long time, Not sure if she still is. But if you ever dined at either Shoji or Nemo, she was responsible for that amazing warm chocolate cake served in a cup with a side of heavy cream. Ohhhhh. I am not a choco fanatic, but this was something else.... I also think she was Michelle Berstein's sous chef when she was on Iron Chef...

                        1. re: yomyb

                          Yes, she was on iron chef with Michelle B.

                    2. re: ulterior epicure

                      Two add-ons to my previous comments (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38757...):

                      1. My negative observations about service was pretty limited to our server, who was really just absent. That being said, I have to commend the back wait staff. They were extremely graceful and efficient - it was like watching a (very loud) carefully choreographed ballet (or, rather, tango).

                      2. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream on the dessert menu. I frowned. Everything else here was so good - especially the desserts... why would they bother with anything other than home-made ice creams??

                      1. re: ulterior epicure

                        I don't think Michael's has had a proper pastry chef until now (Hedy Goldsmith, formerly of Nemos, Prime 112, Big Pink, etc.) When he first opened I remember there was ice cream and sorbet from Soli Organic, a local shop that specializes in ice creams and sorbets made without processed sugars. It wasn't homemade, but at least it was a local, hand-crafted source. Yeah, the Ben and Jerry's thing irks me too. I'd rather he not have any ice cream.

                        1. re: lax2mia

                          Do we have confirmation that she is actually the pastry chef there now? I know she was a consultant but was unaware of additional involvement. I was there last week and didn't notice a change in the menu.

                          1. re: Sobe

                            I had lunch there on Thursday and she was working in the kitchen.

                            1. re: 2top

                              See the last blurb:

                              http://www.miamiherald.com/living/foo...

                    3. We went to Michael's Genuine last Sat. night. We had wings, chips and onion dips, butter lettuce, yellow fin tartar, grilled whole pompano & goat cheese panna cotta. The food were excellent but I think the wings were a little under cooked, I also noticed sriracha & honey on the wings. The onion dip was awesome, I paired that with the Red Hook IPA. Everything went down nicely! I think the yellow fin tartar was a little mild. But the quality of the fish is undisputed, buttery! Pompano was perfectly grilled. My wife never had a pompano before & she loved it. Last but not least, goat cheese penna cotta was unusual but very good. I'll ordered it again.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rimtalay

                        Went last night and noticed a few new things. Rabbit terrine as a small plate was awesome. Very rich and should be shared. Sweetbread plate was good, though Michy's has spoiled me on sweetbreads forever. Only off thing was the banana split dessert. I thought it was a mess. A chocolate peanut butter brownie topped with caramalized bananas with a side of dulce de leche, whipped cream, and a chunk of peanut brittle that I had to stab repeatedly to break. This dessert has Hedy Goldsmith written all over it, but I don't think it worked very well. Others at my table however vastly disagreed.

                      2. Just a brief note on a couple nice new dishes (at least new for me) -

                        tomato tart - puff pastry / oven roasted tomato / layer of creamy goat cheese / lightly blanched and peelled teardrop tomatoes. Simple, elegant dish, the roasted tomato carries a lot of flavor.

                        sweetbread salad - frisee, well-salted (I've discovered I'm big on lots of salt on my salad), tangy vinaigrette w/ strips of preserved lemon (an item I've seen turn up in a couple other of his dishes), bits of bacon, and several nubs of fried sweetbread, crispy on the outside and tender inside. Putting 'em in a salad almost relieves me of any guilt for eating sweetbreads.

                        L2M, my son had no trouble putting away the chocolate peanut butter banana split.

                        Place is absolutely still firing on all cylinders.

                        31 Replies
                        1. re: Frodnesor

                          I'm a sucker for sweetbreads and have never felt guilty because of their overwhelming cholesterol content. To paraphrase the Greek saying: everything in moderation a lot :). Your description of the salad is scrumptious and definitely puts a trip to Michael's on my must do ASAP list.

                          Thanks as always for your perceptive report. BTW, did you have trouble finding parking a la Klein?

                          1. re: eatnbmerry

                            You haven't been yet? Get yourself there.
                            And apparently the pronouncement that the Design District has "arrived" was premature, as I had no trouble finding parking (though we did go early).

                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              I know I know. Going next week for sure. When someone like you says "Place is absolutely still firing on all cylinders" I have quickly learned to jump to! Cause good eats are sure to be had!

                              1. re: eatnbmerry

                                3 words- crispy beef cheek. Speaking of cheek, has anyone tried the black grouper cheek?

                                1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                  Agree on the crispy beef cheek. Yes, have tried the grouper cheek ->
                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46562...

                              2. re: Frodnesor

                                There is tons of parking in that area. I find it hard to believe you will have trouble anytime if you are willing to walk 2 blocks.

                                1. re: tpigeon

                                  I agree. It was a joke based on Klein's recent review of Domo Japones which I don't know if you've seen?

                                  1. re: eatnbmerry

                                    Nope, I didn't read it.

                                    1. re: tpigeon

                                      here it is
                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46810...

                                      1. re: eatnbmerry

                                        Michael's architecture leaves much to be desired.

                                        1. re: 2top

                                          Can you do happy hour drinks here and then grab a bite or is it restaurant only? What is the crowd like? Young? Old? Rich? Poor?

                                          1. re: Blind Mind

                                            Bar is always busy with drinkers and some eaters, mixed crowd of all of the above.

                                            1. re: Blind Mind

                                              Yeah-you can grab a seat at the bar, and just drink if you like. They also serve those small plates of food for $4-5. I love liver and the chicken liver crostinis go well with what I drink (Ridge Zin). I also like their caipirinhas, They used to have the lime-corn-nut thing ( I forget what it's called) which goes well with fizzy cocktails.Manny is the bartender and he will take care of you, even when the place is crazy. The crowd is, as they say, mixed. But here it really is mixed. On a Saturday you'll see first dates dressed to the nines, girls night out-ers, as well as millionaires in faded jeans. Also older people, but they usually come early. I've been there at 6, and stayed for a couple of hours and the changing crowd's always interesting. If the bar is packed, just order a drink and wait a few minutes, it usually gets freed up pretty quickly (although there are only a dozen or so seats). The jazz is usually turned up, also conducive to cocktails. And if you sit near the entrance, you can watch the chef across the dining room, if you go for that kind of thing. There's also a 2 or 3 seat counter right in front of the oven, and they'll probably let you just drink there too. It's pretty casual. I've gone in shorts and flip flops, and even a suit, and I never felt anything but welcome. Salud.

                                              1. re: Miami Danny

                                                "lime-corn-nut thing" = crispy hominy w/ chile and lime. Good stuff.

                                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                                  Thank you. I just drooled thinking about those things. Perfect with a margarita, caipirinha, you can eat them all night. But they seem to be gone from the menu. Say it ain't so!

                                                  1. re: Miami Danny

                                                    Could have sworn they were still listed in the snacks when I was there earlier this week, though we went with deviled eggs and falafel instead. But I'm with you - those chicken liver crostini are my favorite.

                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                      My favorite was always the meatballs, but they disappeared for a while. I have heard thru my 'sources', that they are back, that Michael made a batch last night, and that they are just as I remember them: perfect. I used to ocassionally sit at the bar and drink some Italian wine and eat nothing but plate after plate of these (too-) small meatballs. They consistently provided fortitude for the evening's jaunts.

                                                    2. re: Miami Danny

                                                      They're still on the menu. Was there on Friday. I think there'd be a revolt if he took them off!

                                2. re: Frodnesor

                                  Were we there at the same time? My SO ordered the tomato tart and I got the sweetbread salad. I had a run in with the waiter when he told me after our apps and right before entrees were going to come that the short rib (another new dish) entrees had run out. He coulda told me sooner! I opted for the pork shoulder which he immediately put in for. Remembering that the shoulder came with a side of grits, I grabbed him a few minutes later and asked if I could have a fried egg on the grits (something I've asked for many times in the past). Youd've thought I'd asked for ketchup on my grits. The waiter was horrified! He said "I don't think they'll do that". I told him I'd had it many times before and it shouldn't be a problem. The waiter was extremely apprehensive and I kept assuring him that it's something quite common (the waiter was an immigrant and I could understand that maybe he'd never heard of how common grits and eggs are just like most Americans maybe hadn't heard of black beans going with rice). Regardless, I left to go to the restroom and during that time he came by to tell my girlfriend that they wouldn't do it because it was a Friday night and it was busy and yada, yada, yada. So it was up to her to tell me. I was a little annoyed they wouldn't add the freaking egg considering our waiter didn't tell me about my entree until about an hour into the meal (which, I'm actually a little thankful for since we had a 2000 Barolo I'd brought and it needed all the decanting it could).

                                  To make an already long story short, the entrees arrived while my girlfriend was in the restroom. I took a taste of the grits and they were salty...way salty. I called over the waiter and he didn't believe me. I said for him to try them and he actually picked up a spoon to try them. He swirled the grits in his mouth for a bit and then proclaimed "they taste fine" and didn't offer to switch them out. At this point I'm annoyed. I've missed out on an entree and now this guy has the audacity to not switch out something I'm obviously unhappy with. My girlfriend showed up and I asked her to try the grits and tell me what she thinks but before I could finish the sentence the waiter exclaims "don't say what's wrong with it, see if she can taste herself." Holy crap! This guy's got cojones! My girlfriend tried them and the first thing she said was "they're salty". For some reason that was enough proof for the waiter who shook my hand and took the grits. A few minutes later he returned and said he couldn't replace the grits because there was a whole batch, but he didn't give me any options. I asked if I could have Brussels sprouts and he nodded in the affirmative.

                                  End of the meal, check comes, Brussels sprouts have been added to my check. At this point I'm furious. I noticed the corkage had been omitted (I say omitted because I'm 99% sure it wasn't compted) and figured it came out even. It was the first check in a long while that I actually calculated 15% of the pre-tax price to come up with the tip. I can understand bungling service, I can understand a mix-up. I can't understand even having the nerve to tell a customer that their opinion is wrong and not offer to replace a dish without some other validation. If this had happened at another restaurant I'd probably chalk it up to the Miami idiocy, but Michael's has set the bar high enough in its service that this aberration stuck out like a sore thumb.

                                  Anyway, that was my little rant about the place. What I didn't say was that our chicken liver crostini as well as the new white bean spread were awesome. The bartender (Nick) and the hostesses were incredibly friendly and hospitable. And Frod, I commend your son on his ability to consume the sugar and calories in the banana split. My teeth ache just thinking about it! If you can, try the pecan tart (in phyllo dough instead of crust and with vanilla ice cream and a licorice sauce).

                                  Now what do us locals collectively do to be able to get a walk-up table on a Friday or Saturday night?

                                  1. re: lax2mia

                                    L2M - We were there early Friday. That's one of the first bad service experiences I've heard about at MGFD, but I noticed there seemed to be several new faces there. My suggestion - if you see Michael (he was working the kitchen earlier in the evening) or possibly even better, Charles (the guy who's often working the door - Michael may be distracted handling the kitchen), say something to one of them. As you know, service there is usually pretty solid and I'm sure they don't intentionally put up with this kind of stuff.

                                    Frod Jr. not only put away the banana split, he put away the pork belly with kim chee before that. Man he loves that pork belly.

                                    As for a walk-up table on a weekend night - not gonna happen any time soon, apparently. What are you going to do? You want a place like this to have customers so it can stick around, yet sometimes you wish maybe just one less couple were showing up and leaving a table open for you.

                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                      Early Friday (8:00) was all we could get so we must've crossed paths. This is a definite aberration and I'm not going to hold it against them. I think they have a pretty good system for keeping good talent and weeding out sub-par performers. The other waiters I noticed working other tables were courteous, efficient and, well, with it. Robin is our favorite but he wasn't there that night. It was still a great experience though and I can't say too many good things about the place.

                                      Another funny thing about our waiter (besides the fact that he'd lost the bottle we'd asked him to decant) was when he asked if we'd been there before and we answered "yes, many times". We might as well have said "no, this is our first time here and it's actually the first time we've eaten at a restaurant with different sized plates" because he went on to not only explain the menu but also the "classic dishes" (can something be classic at a place that hasn't been open a year even?), along with his favorites (which I thoroughly despise waiters doing because what makes them think we have the same tastes? I like pig's feet for goodness sake!) we knew the night was going to be special service-wise with this guy so luckily we got into a comic frame of mind. Otherwise we would've been driven insane.

                                      Can't wait to go back already.

                                      And eatn, what's your deal!? Get over there now!!!!

                                      1. re: lax2mia

                                        At the Upper East Side Market, Michael bought 15 pounds of mozz from Vito, and did a caprese Saturday night with it-basil from Paradise Farms, heirloom tomatoes, some nice olive oil, and fleur de sel. And you are correct-the crispy hominy's didn't leave the menu-I must be going blind.

                                        1. re: Miami Danny

                                          We have reservations to go at the end of Feb. I requested the seats at the Kitchen bar. Is that not a good thing? Should I request something else?

                                          1. re: Suzie

                                            You'll be in front of a wood burning oven and it can get kinda hot, but then a lot of kitchen tables I've been at have been like that.

                                            1. re: Suzie

                                              Depends whether you like eating at kitchen bars or not. I love it and always do so when given the chance (honestly I'm a little disappointed they are giving reservations for these seats, as at some places it's first-come first-serve and gives a shot at squeezing in w/o reservations). We like seeing the kitchen in action and getting to observe how the dishes are put together.

                                              A few particulars about the kitchen bar at MGFD: it's a little bit tight, and the pass (where the food goes from the kitchen to the servers) is just on the other side of the seats, so there's going to be a constant stream of food and waitstaff going by you the whole evening; it's not particularly elegant, so don't expect it to be a very romantic meal if that's what you're looking for. And it is an open kitchen, so provided you're sitting in the main dining room (there's also seating in a second room and outdoor seating as well) and take a chair facing the kitchen, you'll have a view of the action anyway.

                                              Having said all that, if you do sit there, you'll get to see the kitchen at work up close, and Michael's working the wood-burning oven himself most nights.

                                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                                I love kitchen bars but if this is a place where the more desirable seats are somewhere else, thats where I would probably rather sit. Its a bit of a turnoff about "the pass" and I get annoyed sitting at tables that are in that stream of servers. So I take it, if I change my mind, the indoor seats are a good 2nd choice?

                                                1. re: Suzie

                                                  You are right in the thick of it there, so if you don't like that, you probably should avoid the kitchen bar. As for the indoor seating, it's a small space and there's no "good" or "bad" tables (other than that you want to be in the main room and not the second room they've already expanded into). And eating outdoors is always nice when the weather's right.

                                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                                    Thanks soooo much for the info. I really appreciate it.

                                                    1. re: Suzie

                                                      If you like to watch the 'action', I think the pass is where all the action is, no? It's not like you're sitting ON the pass. And you can watch Michael make pizzas. Also, there are three booths at Michael's, which I would consider the best seats. And L2M-if you're opening Barolo's, perhaps next time try a Brunello? http://www.miamisunpost.com/013108bit...

                                                      1. re: Miami Danny

                                                        Also, I had the onion soup special Tuesday night, and it was great on a cool evening. It was topped by....? You guessed it. A poached double-yolk farm fresh egg. When you pierce the yolk(s), combined with the melted cheese, sweet onions, and rich broth, a perfect combination. Hats off to the chef.

                                                        1. re: Miami Danny

                                                          It's my favorite spot, but if you "get annoyed sitting at tables that are in that stream of servers" then it's probably not a good choice. And if you have the left-most seat - you're about as close to ON the pass as you can get.

                                                          As for wine, what about an "Alba" Barolo?
                                                          http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2008-01-...
                                                          (see the penultimate paragraph - "A worthy Barolo, though, doesn't come cheap ($80 for an Alba to $250 for a Gaja").). Is it possible the author doesn't understand that "Alba" is a region, not a producer? There are Barolos that come from Serralunga d'Alba, and there are Barbera d'Albas made by a producer called Marchese di Barolo, but I've never seen an "Alba" Barolo before. Oy.

                                    2. Another update on a few new (at least for me) dishes at MGFD. (After all this talk of avoiding the "hot spot" places this weekend for South Beach Wine & Food Fest, lo and behold, Mrs. F had scored Friday night reservations at MGFD!).

                                      Finally tried the "buffalo" frog legs, which was my first time though they've been on the menu at least a couple months. They're little tiny frog legs, which get a light-as-air, tempura style batter and are served with dipping bowls of a seriously fiery hot sauce and a blue cheese sauce. Frod Jr. was also a fan of these. The hot sauce must be the same one MD reported on ->
                                      http://dailycocaine.blogspot.com/2008...

                                      Also new for me was a crispy pork cheek (MGFD is really big on the crispy cheeks - first beef, then grouper, now pork) which is served over a tangy BBQ sauce with a side of a celeriac slaw. Terrific dish, only drawback was there wasn't enough of it - the designation of a dish as a "small" or "medium" has always been a bit random, but I would have called this one small. On the other hand, if you were to get three of these and slap everything on a hoagie roll you would have a sandwich to end all sandwiches.

                                      Golden trout - whole fish (though served sans head & tail) stuffed with cippoline onions and fennel, with a delicate saffron sauce. Every time I see these in the market (occasionally at Whole Foods or Fresh Market) I can't resist. It's a smaller fish which has much of the firmness and meatiness of a salmon. Nice preparation that doesn't overwhelm the fish.

                                      Locavores would appreciate the grilled local green onions with a provencal vinaigrette - a generous serving of grill-wilted locally grown spring onions (the ones that look like fat scallions that are starting to form an onion bulb at the base) which are tasty but always seem to stay just a little bit tough. These looked exactly like the ones I got from the Upper East Side Green Market last weekend and may have come from the same source.

                                      La Tur cheese w/ Paradise Farms honeycomb. Didn't make the menu but our server told us about this one, which you could choose to do as an app or dessert (or, I suppose, anywhere in between). I finished with it and absolutely loved it. La Tur is an Italian triple-cream cheese which is mild but still has some depth and complexity of flavor, super-creamy and absolutely luscious. Mrs. F is not a fan of the runny cheeses but was a big fan of this one and "helped" me with at least half of the generous serving. I think honey is the perfect accompaniment to these type of cheeses and the square of oozy honeycomb from local Paradise Farms was a simple elegant pairing.

                                      Speaking of simple, elegant and local, the legenday Alice Waters (of Chez Panisse in Berkeley) was in da house at the table behind us, and was still waiting for fellow SBWFF hoi-polloi Jaime Oliver to arrive when we took off.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                        Agreed on the awesomeness of the pork cheek and agreed that it is more of a small than a medium. That bbq sauce is probably the best Ive ever had too. That cheese dish sounds incredibly good too.

                                        1. re: Blind Mind

                                          Went for a late dinner (10ish) on Monday the 18th with a couple of college buddies, GF and her friend. Girls didnt have a large appetite but the boys were ready lol.

                                          Snacks:
                                          onion dip w/ chips
                                          falaffel w/ tahini
                                          crispy hominey
                                          deviled eggs

                                          Small:
                                          warm roasted squash salad
                                          ceviche
                                          wood roasted giant prawn

                                          medium:
                                          crispy pork belly
                                          duck confit
                                          sweetbread salad
                                          mussels
                                          chargrilled octopus

                                          large:
                                          pork shoulder
                                          grouper

                                          dessert:
                                          cremoso
                                          key lime cheesecake flan
                                          tangerine pot de creme

                                          wine:
                                          bottle of the petite syrah, stag's leap
                                          friend brought a bottle, i forget the name but it was from the Mendoza area in Argentina, i believe it was in the range of 50% malbec with a few other blends
                                          couple of glasses of banyuls for dessert

                                          service was very good, very efficient. i think our waiters name was scott.

                                          everything was on point, seriously everything... my personal favorites were all of the snacks (seriously i never knew bar food was gonna get this good). i could definitely go and just have a drink and munch on those. i loved the pork belly. wonder how it could be both so crispy and so tender at once. also enjoyed the duck confit but i had just had that two nights before at Michy's and i have to give the nod to her for that one. at Michael's it was delicious but not crispy and i like her frisee salad with the quail eggs better for on the side. the pork shoulder was very tasty and unbelievably tender. if you have tried the pork sandwich at lunch it is literally the exact same thing but on a roll (minus the cucumbers). all of the desserts were nice but that cremoso is unreal. one of the best desserts of all time. the way the creamy sweetness was offset with the sea salt and the toast.... amazing. also, they ended up comping us for 2 desserts (we only ordered the cremoso) so that was definitely cool.
                                          lunch there is really good, dinner even better.
                                          great experience, already planning my next excursion!

                                          1. re: Blind Mind

                                            Agree the cheek is on the small side, but it's so rich between the meat and the BBQ sauce that if it were any bigger you'd probably have a brick in your stomach when you're done.

                                        2. We went this past Thurs and had an amazing time. We did end up sitting at the Kitchen Bar and LOVED it! We sat on the 2 seats on the right if you were looking at the bar. The two on the left (by the door) I would have passed on. The food was great and I don't think we had a bad dish. Tried so many things but the Beef Cheek and the Pork Cheek were both outstanding. The Pork belly was a favorite too. The Apple Panini with caramel sauce is sooooo good too. Service was top notch. This is a place not to me missed.

                                          1. I knew that as MGF&D's fame grew that people would start going just to say they've been and not necessarily because they enjoy what they're eating. Here's some diddies I overheard from some diners at nearby tables last Saturday night:

                                            - "Kimchi. It's that Vietnamese spicy thing with lettuce."

                                            - The winery Au Bon Climat is pronounced "A Bon Climate"

                                            - "Ewww, chicken liver."

                                            And something we found out that didn't surprise us - no one orders the cheese course for dessert. Waitress was surprised when we ordered it. Said more people should, but don't. I'd do it again.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lax2mia

                                              LOL, I know what you mean about people going just to say they have been there. We really enjoy a cheese course for dessert and were set on doing so but the desserts looked sooooo good coming out of the kitchen that we had to pass on the cheese and go for something a little more sinful, lol!

                                            2. Just ate here last week after reading about it on Chowhound. It was also, deservedly, just named one of the top 10 new restaurants in the country by Frank Bruni, NY Times restaurant critic - http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...
                                              Absolutely fabulous restaurant in a really cool setting in the design district. When you go there at night, the restaurant is the only thing open amid lots of beautiful furniture and home decor showrooms. Friendly staff, really unique menu and nice, laid back feel. Setting is great, whether inside or out. Highly recommend this classy spot which is pleasantly far from the increasingly sleazy South Beach scene.

                                              1. Went there yesterday for lunch (around 1:30pm) and the place was FREAKIN PACKED. That's not surprising given the write-up in the NYT.

                                                FYI: Had the pulled pork sandwich with french fries and the high-alcohol French beer, belzbeth (sp?). The pulled pork itself was really good -- coulda been spicier, but I'm from Georgia and thats how we serve em in the dirty, dirty -- but the bun was the real deal and made it worth the $11. We don't do artisan bread in the south. Yet. The french fries are also fresh, crisp, and good.

                                                Sat at the back of the restaurant and watched the Kitchen guys go at it. Michael was in and out the whole time. I really recommend this experience for a casual lunch (you will get bumped by servers). The wood oven is really cool to watch (and smell) as things go in and out.

                                                Michael actually seemed to be in GENUINEly good spirits. And who can blame him after the NYT praise? He was walking around talking to a few patrons, including Michy and David of Michy's fame, who were dining. I have been there about 5 or 6 times and never really seen him smile until this visit.

                                                I'm really happy for the guy and happy that his place is doing good business. If anything, capitalists will pick up on this successful trend and open more restaurants in this vein around town. Not sure if this will curb the demand for Michael's specifically, but I do think there is short supply of these types of places in general.

                                                Whereas the "local and organic" aspect of the place is marketed directly to us foodies (see Bruni's blog for the "dark side" of this concept, http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co... ), I think the real reason this place is doing well down here is because of the price points and "creative" comfort food.

                                                In particular, the sizing portions (starters, small, medium, large, etc.) are awesome for patrons who like to pay for what we are going to eat at the restaurant. I can eat and drink a fabulous meal at Michael's for a lot less than what I might be able to do at sobe places like Prime 112, Nobu, or even at Michy's. Part of me thinks this is due to the lower rent of the Design District locale (but can it be THAT much cheaper rent over there?).

                                                Also, Michael knows what people want in Miami. Although there are a few foodies down here, for the most part, Miami is not a place for adventurous eaters or pallets. And so Michael gives us the "comfort" that we want mixed with just the right level of risk (and subsequent reward). I mean, c'mon, the guy serves deviled eggs, pizza, and potato chips & dip. But he does it in a way that makes someone like Frank Bruni take note! Pretty cool, I think.

                                                If this kind of place becomes "trendy" in Miami, I see no reason to feign scorn.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Lost Highway

                                                  I was there at the same time. 25 minute wait for lunch.... WORTH IT
                                                  The pulled pork sandwich is a favorite of mine. I finally tried the sweet and spicy pork belly, Loved it.

                                                  1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                    We were lucky enough to score a 6;00 reservation at the last minute last night and the place was packed. The food was great as usual. This time we ate light?....Tuna Tartar, tomato salad which is always fabulous, mussels, spring onions made in the wood oven along with asparagus and cauliflower with a green butter sauce, also made in the wood fired oven, yum! Michael was out and about and had a big smile on his face all evening. The bar was packed and there were no open tables when we left...can't wait to return, so many other items on the menu to try.

                                                    1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                      It is one of the better, if not the best, lunch deals in town. The falafel there is absolutely unreal. I took my friend who is 1/2 Iranian, and who makes his own, and he was absolutely blown away by it.

                                                  2. We were a party of 4 that made a reservation a week prior to our dining night. We were called that afternoon requesting we take an outside table. Being with senior citizens celebrating a 72 birthday we repectfully declined and asked the hostess Aly if there was a problem with an inside table to let us know. It was raining pretty badly when we arrived and the outside tables were unpoopulated. Upon our arrival to the hostess desk we were taken outside to a table that was wet from the dripping rain. We explained the conversation with "ALY" and we were told "No"...just like that! Apologizes for ruining the 72nd birthday but there was nothing they could or would do. They wanted to know beyond "I'm sorry" what we wanted??? How professional...I'm sure unprofessional kitchen disasters are next! How snobby and rude - karma.....

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: lorlexrik

                                                      Well don't worry. Karma will hit. I had a similar experience too. I was recommended to this restaurant for when i visit from Dallas at a great restaurant named Fearing's. We make reservations, and when I get there it is not ready, which is OK to me, until an hour goes by. At the bar, the bartender did not seem to know too much about the food. I asked for a good wine recommendation and I really got nothing. Actually, the bartender wearing a black shirt was very helpful and nice. Anyway, we left there after that to go eat somewhere else. I thought a place recommened to me halfway across the nation would be special. Service was horrible. If this is Miami's "best" to offer, I hope I am mistaken. If not , this city has a lot of work to do

                                                      1. re: nicktex1

                                                        I cant say that Ive had an experience with being moved from inside to outside, but I will say that you must specify your preference when you make your rez. I sent the owner of my company there and I forgot to warn him about in vs out and he ended up outside and wasnt thrilled about that. He did say the food was phenomenal though and isnt that 95% of the reason why we choose to eat out anyways?

                                                        I have to respectfully and strongly disagree with the comment about the bartender not knowing the menu though. I usually sit at the bar and the bartenders are very knowledgeable when it comes to the menu and making recommendations. In fact, the past 3 times Ive been Ive discovered new favorites based on their recommendations (figs wrapped in bacon stuffed w/ cheese still gives me flashbacks of awesomeness). If Im not mistaken, the people behind the bar in the khaki colored shirts are barbacks and do more of the servicing rather than interacting with customers so perhaps this was the person you spoke to and why they werent well versed on the menu?

                                                        The bottom line is that when youre on top, there will always be people trying to knock you down a peg. Sometimes even the slightest slip will leave you open to harsh criticism, especially with a place as hyped up as MGFD. Ive yet to have a bad experience service-wise and I eat there once a week, so maybe Im just lucky? Doubtful, but certainly not impossible.

                                                        1. re: Blind Mind

                                                          I have to agree. Trying to change your reservation that day and hoping for them to have space to change is hardly the restaurant's fault. I have sat at the bar, and found the staff very knowledgable about both the food and drinks. Some of the servers could use some lessons on wine, but that was not an issue with either poster. I have always found the restaurant gracious and hospitable.

                                                          1. re: mikek

                                                            Are you referring to lorlexrik's post with the reservation change? I interpreted that post to mean that the restaurant called the patron to change the reservation from inside to outside, not that the patron called the restaurant to change it. Basically, the restaurant said "It's outside, or nada." There's a big difference there.

                                                            1. re: Mauslein

                                                              Touche, I misread it! My mistake!

                                                    2. I went to Michael's on Saturday to celebrate my birthday and although that was my third time there, I really got to try a variety of dishes this time around. Five of us dined and we had about 10 different plates! Stand outs: pork belly & watermelon salad, local grouper (?) ceviche, falafel, short ribs, tuna tartare, potato chips with home made onion dip. We also tried the home made fettucinni with artichokes, tomatoes and other stuff I can't recall, and the baked onion stuffed with lamb and apricots. The fettucinni was underwhelming. I liked the filling of the onion, but it was a bit awkward to slice the onion and eat it with the filling. I probably would not order either again. One of my friends had the steak au poivre, which he said was great, and another one of my friends had the mussels with harissa and black rice, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

                                                      For dessert we tried the basil panna cotta with fruit gazpacho. The panna cotta was amazing but I think the fruit topping detracted from the basil taste. My friends had a chocolate trifle, which they said was very good.

                                                      I was looking forward to trying the figs with bacon and ricotta (?) cheese....they were out of figs that night (on my birthday! how dare they!) So I guess I'll have to return to sample those!

                                                      Oh, and I found my new favorite cocktail at Michael's....the "St. Germain"...st. germain, prosecco, topped with soda. Am I the only person who didn't know what St. Germain was?

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: jessicam29

                                                        Had a great dinner here a couple of weeks ago. Only disappointment was that the sweet & spicy pork belly has been taken off the menu!! i know it's been on there for a long time but damn that dish was incredible. I took my friend who had never been there so we ordered quite a bit.

                                                        We started with the pan-fried onion dip and the crispy homini, followed by the watermelon pork belly salad and the bacon-wrapped figs stuffed with blue cheese, which are outrageously good. We then had the duck confit which was good but not great, and while usually a favorite it ended up being the weakest dish of the night. For the main we went with the whole roasted chicken and a side of brussel sprouts. This was the first time that i've had that chicken and it really is done to perfection. So moist and flavorful. Finished off with the cremoso and some mint tea in an effort to soothe my engorged self.

                                                        Overall, it was MGFD at its best. Every dish but the duck was executed to perfection and the service was on point as well. Standouts were the figs, watermelon/pork belly, and the chicken. It's always such a relief to have such a successful meal after talking a place up so much to my friend, lol.

                                                        I think these few negative posts are isolated incidents.

                                                        1. re: dmo305

                                                          The figs and watermelon pork belly salad are 2 of my faves as well. Had at them both last night. Also discovered that the color of the bar uni has nothing to do with bartender/barback contrary to my previous guess haha.

                                                          1. re: Blind Mind

                                                            I agree - the combo of pork belly and watermelon is surprisingly great - My only complaint - the dish needs a little less watermelon and a little more pork belly.

                                                            And the figs are awesome - and I don't even like figs.

                                                            1. re: nikklos

                                                              another plug for the pork belly watermelon salad

                                                      2. My wife and I ate at Michael's several times before the New York Times article naming them one of the best restaurants in the U.S. By coincedence I made reservations for dinner the Thursday that the article came out. The scene was pretty crazy but we were seated fairly quickly inside as we had reserved. The waiter was harried even though we had been served by him several times in the past. I asked several questions about the wine but he didnt have time for stuff like that and disappeared for a while. We finally got a nice bottle of wine and ordered. My wife had an appetizer with egg. The egg was not cooked. We pointed it out to the waiter, who offered to replace it but my wife was not interested since she was turned off by the raw egg. Her main course was the chicken. Again it wasnt cooked correctly, very rubbery.. When we pointed it out to the waiter he said that maybe it was because the chef "really doesnt like to cook chicken". Well why do you have it on the menu???? My dishes were very good. I had the pork belly which was great and a whole fish which was fine. (There are so few restaurants in Miami that can cook fish correctly Miami.)

                                                        Because of her treatment, my wife has refused to return. Their loss, there are plenty (well, a few) of other good restaurants around, Michy's, Red Light, Por Fin, Cofridia, Sardinia, Pascals, Captins Tavern, Oceanaire (two places that can actally cook fish).

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: brave man

                                                          I frequent this local restaurant and I have yet to have a bad experience. On the contrary, they do a very good job recognizing repeat diners. As to Brave Man and his experience, it is unfortunate. I find it a bit odd though that this has been posted many many months after this had happened. I hope you aren't jumping on the bandwagon of some of these recent negative posts. In response to the Egg not being cooked, that is the idea of the "double yolk" , soft and so good. I am curious to see if that waiter is still there. They do have a very good group of veteran waiters who have been there for quite some time.

                                                          1. re: MGTico

                                                            There is a difference between not being cooked and a double yolk. And I am not jumping on any bandwagons, just relating my experience. I would like to return, I liked the food. Unfortuantely the experience with the waiter put my wife off so much that she would rather take our $250/300.00 and spend it where it is appreciated.

                                                            1. re: brave man

                                                              So youre saying that you got an egg that was whites and yolk and completely uncooked? Im having a tough time buying that. The dish comes with gruyere cheese that is melted on top. If the cheese is melted, the egg is cooked enough. The yolks are supposed to be runny. That is part of the dish's awesomeness.

                                                              1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                The poor guy and his wife didn't like the egg...sometimes reading this post, you'd think Michael Schwartz was god and his restaurant was heaven! I love the restaurant, have been there about a dozen times, but there are occasions when a dish is not perfect and when the service is off...Like the time we were supposed to be seated inside, but were seated outside and when we were eaten alive by mosquitoes, we were given a can of Off! as a response. It happens, and I don't think a bright-light interrogation of the poor soul it happens to is really necessary.

                                                                1. re: tlubow

                                                                  Thanks tlubow. You would think that on this site one would be given the benefit of the doubt. That I would know the difference between a hard boiled egg, an egg where the whites are still transparent and an egg cooked properly for the dish. But you know it wasnt just the egg, it was also the rubber chicken that the "chef really didnt like to cook" and the never ending wine ordering ordeal. it all added up to an unfortunate dining experience.

                                                        2. Just one small note from a visit last night (what better way to get ready for a fast?) - Fudge Farms pork shoulder (pork before Yom Kippur? I'll atone for it today). Wow. This is a different pork than the one used for the large dish w/ the parsley sauce and pickled onions, this one is a "medium" which is braised till it's just about to fall apart, served on top of a crouton with some of the braising liquid (a bit of a bbq sauce note to it) and topped with a fennel slaw. Unbelievably tender and rich. Our waitress described it as the "prime beef of pork" and that's pretty much on target. Some good reading on the producer, who is based in Alabama, here ->
                                                          http://thicketmag.com/content/?p=260
                                                          Several other new items on the menu too.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                            The new risotto dish was out of this world good, perfect balancing of flavors. The braised rabbit pasta looked pretty damn good as well, though we did not try it (the damn short rib with romesco is just too good to not order!).

                                                            1. re: Frodnesor

                                                              Ha i saw a couple and two children sitting at the kitchen bar and wondered if it was the infamous frod clan but that was on Tuesday night.

                                                              That new fudge farms pork dish is amazing, I tried it last week and it's definitely an instant classic. From what I understood, my dish was slow smoked, then roasted (grilled? can't remember!). The end result was an incredibly tender and flavorful pork that was slightly crisp on the edges while moist and smoky inside- delicious. As Frod said, served atop a toasted piece of brioche and topped with the fennel slaw.

                                                              That night i also ordered the pork belly salad, and the pasta. It was fresh fettuccine noodles with braised rabbit, caramelized onions and fennel, some carrots, a touch of cream and fiore sardo. This pasta was really great and flavorful, but also very light. The cream was not noticeable. My gf had the oysters and mussels which were top notch as always. We ended with the cheese, which was "castelmagno". It was served with a few slices of toasted bread and a really delicious pear jam. Very nice.

                                                              We went back Tuesday with a few friends who had not eaten there before, so we got to order a lot of dishes. I had the crispy beef cheek over whipped celeriac, pickled artichoke, and some sauce which is escaping me right now. Anyway, the dish was done very nicely, crispy on one side and very soft all throughout. My friends remarked that the cheek was "like butter". I also had the homemade grilled sausages for the first time. They were served with some tomatoes (stewed i think). They were very nice but i think they could have used a little more spice. That evening I also got to try the shortribs (perfect), the pizza (topped with duck confit), and the cheese grits.

                                                              For dessert we had the cremoso, ice creams (chocolate peanut butter brittle, new york cheesecake, and blackberry) and apple crostada. The cremoso and crsotada were both on point, and the choco/pb brittle ice cream stood out.

                                                              Two more great MGFD meals in the bag. It's too easy...

                                                              1. re: dmo305

                                                                Hungry tonite and hit up MGFD for some chow thanks to the talk of the pork shoulder. Schwartz needs to bottle that BBQ sauce. Its effin money.

                                                                1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                  I've only been to Michael's Genuine once, for lunch, and we had a great time. The food was delicious, beautifully presented, and the service was wonderful. I'd recommend this place to anyone interested in culinary creativity.

                                                            2. Had dinner here last week with a friend from out of town who no longer eats non-kosher meat :(
                                                              As a result, we split the wood roasted whole local snapper, a 3 lber. We were given a choice of a 3,4, or 5 lb fish. The fish was terrific, very fresh and moist. It was grilled with fresh herbs, and served with roasted fennel and lemon. The waiter brought it to the table whole, and then returned to the kitchen to fillet it, before bringing it back out. My friend claimed it was the best fish he has ever had. Also, the fish was way more than we could eat between the two of us.
                                                              We also had the onion dip, crispy hominey, wood roasted double yolk egg, and brussel sprouts which were all very good as usual.
                                                              Anyway, i finally tried the fish here, and it does live up to the hype. I think that wood roasting oven is very, very special.

                                                              1. A couple of things I love about MGF&D: (1) every time I've gone, there's always been something new, different and interesting on the menu; (2) the willingness to explore underutilized cuts and ingredients. Both were on display during our visit last night. As for what's new ->

                                                                porchetta di testa - basically a head cheese made with a pork's head boned out and rolled and braised for a long time, then cooled and sliced thin. Michael was basically doing the Chris Cosentino recipe which you can see here ->
                                                                http://www.gourmet.com/food/video/200...
                                                                This was actually more a textural experience than anything else, as in each bite you can get a little of the meat, the fat, the slightly crunchy ear ... actually very mildly flavored, I would have enjoyed this even more if it had been more assertively spiced and sliced a bit thicker (to give more of a sense of what you're eating - though perhaps other might feel differently).

                                                                crispy beef cheek - an original menu item, updated. I really enjoyed the original prep of this, with a celeriac mash, celeriac salad and a chocolate reduction for a sauce, but I like the new one too which uses pickled onions (mostly sour) and artichokes (more sweet) and a light mustard sauce. The new pairings help brighten up and cut through the richness of the beef cheek which is nice.

                                                                octopus - this has actually been on the menu for a while but was the first time we tried it. The octopus is cooked low and slow in oil (I suspect a snootier chef would say "confited" these days) to get tender, and then finished quickly on the grill to get some char. Paired with some big white beans, roasted peppers, olives, herb salad. Really nice, Mrs. F really enjoyed it.

                                                                yellow beans - these were some sort of heirloom bean whose name I'm blanking on that Chef Michael had gotten, I think from Bee Heaven Farms, and just put on the menu for the first time last night. They were long and flat like a romano bean, prepared very simply with butter and garlic, and delicious enough to make you want to eat your beans.

                                                                The grilled spring onions are also back on the menu (yes, South Florida growing seasons are crazy) and we've discovered we really like the wood-oven grilled cauliflower w/ a parsley sauce (I've got some leftovers in the fridge waiting to be turned into an omelette).

                                                                Frod Jr. smartly got the chocolate cremoso for dessert while we sampled Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith's homemade ice creams - salted caramel (awesome - Mrs. F wanted a pint to take home), mexican chocolate (loaded with cinnamon and chile spice, in a good way) and kumquat creamsicle (I'm a big fan of kumquats).

                                                                The wine list appears to have been further upgraded (particularly in the pinot noirs, which I think are a good pairing for MGF&D's food, though I think it could be further bolstered in rhone varietals) and our waiter said they've added a sommelier to the staff, though I didn't have a chance to meet her.

                                                                Place is still absolutely at the top of their game.

                                                                1. Long time listener, first time caller....

                                                                  So I have been to Michael's twice for lunch, twice for dinner and once for happy hour in the past six or seven weeks. Needless to say I enjoy it a great deal. I have lived in Miami now for about 3 years but rarely find myself out and about on the town. My daughter is 17 months old today and my wife and I have never had a night off. (Haven't found a babysitter yet.)
                                                                  Anyhow, when I do make it out of the house and meet local strangers, I like to ask for their recommendations for local eateries and what have you. Well, I finally got a haircut and asked the 'stylist' where he would recommend to eat and he said Michael's was the way to go. Said it was ranked like the 4th best restaurant in the country by the NY Times so I did a little research and was like, 'I gotta try this place!'

                                                                  So, I took my daughter to Michael's for lunch one day and we had the best time... been hooked since. I got the pulled pork sandwich and the potato chips. It was so good. And my girl was so happy with the chips. We are raising her vegetarian so I housed the sandwich myself and I never thought I would be so excited for parsley sauce! The sandwich practically exploded in my mouth it was bursting with flavor. I knew I had to take my wife there asap.

                                                                  So my wife and child and I went there for lunch but we made the mistake of going during Art Basel. We were there early and the place was completely empty yet they made us sit in the little orphan dining room. It was kinda disappointing to be cast off as such but in the end, the place
                                                                  filled up quickly and our little one was a real handful so it was probably best to be away from all the action. Anyhow, my wife had the caprese sandwich (she is vegetarian and kosher, but vegetarians are pretty much kosher by default). I try to keep kosher (even vegetarian) at home but when we go out, the pork gloves come off! So I couldn't resist the pulled pork sandwich again. This time we got the crispy hominy instead of the chips. The Mrs. sandwich was delicious by her estimation. I tried a little bit and it was darn good, albeit incredibly overpriced. Certainly fine quality ingredients but for $15 it shoulda come with a friggin' golden ticket to the chocolate factory. Nevertheless, she was deeply satisfied. My sandwich hit all the right notes again. And those crispy hominy... wow! watch out those are good. The only disappointment, and I think it would qualify as a major one, was the french fries. On my previous visit I got the side salad for some reason, but this time went with the fries. I mean, for a place that is serving such excellent food, those fries were weaksauce at best. They were limp and soggy. Flavor-wise, who cares... I mean, a french fry ain't a french fry unless it has a fine crispy exterior. [Speaking of fries, I have to say, Joe's Stone Crab has the best friggin' fries I have had in South Florida. You don't even have to request them extra crispy, although I always due by default.] Anyhow, I am not sure who is in charge of the fry-a-lator but they need to learn a thing or two before continuing with that vocation.

                                                                  So yeah, I know, I need to try something other than the pork at Michael's but it is hard to resist.

                                                                  My wife, child and I went there again for dinner to meet some friends that were still in town from art basel and I just could not resist and got the pork shoulder. It was like the sandwich only without the bread and cucumbers. It was so delicious. Buttery good. The cheesy grits I found to be quite delicious as well. My wife had the burrata plate and our friends split the steak au poivre and brussel sprouts. I had a bite of steak and it was quite nice... missed my chance on the sprouts though. But that pork shoulder was just so good. Again with that parsley sauce. I think I could eat that dish every night forever. It is tough keeping kosher when you love the pig as I do. It is not only my favorite meat to eat, it is the best animal I can cook. (My twice cooked pork tacos are otherworldly. Haven't made them in a long time though... unfortunately.)

                                                                  My next experience there was for a quick happy hour by myself. It was crazy crowded at the bar when I arrived but I managed to find a stool at the end of the bar. I didn't know about happy hour there but darn, half priced drinks can't be beat. Had two Dogfish 90 minute IPAs and a Brooklyn Lager. Also had the crispy hominy again. Then I decided to try the pork belly. I think I read about it here. Let me start by saying, I do not like fatty meat at all. I don't think I am very well versed in fine dining or culinary explorations. Generally, I stick the flavors I am familiar with and the cuts I am most content with. But I had read about the pork belly and thought I oughta give it a try. I love eating quality food and I realize that I am hindering myself by limiting the types of food I am willing to eat. I still am not ready for tripe and sweetbreads and beef cheek and the like... it all turns me off. So with a little hesitation, I ordered the belly. All I can say is WOW. That was the best pig belly I have ever eaten (also the first). I mean, the amount of fat on the thing is absurd but when combined with bites of the kim chi, peanuts, and water cress, plus that excellent sweet and spicy sauce, it was out of site. Indeed one of the best dishes I have had in a long time. So good.

                                                                  So when my folks were in town this past weekend, we ended up going there for dinner. The creature of habit that I am, I had the pork belly and pork shoulder yet again. Actually, I shared both with my father because he said he was not that hungry and wanted to try what I enjoyed eating there. Well, dad is a really picky eater and he thought the pork belly was mostly repulsive. He liked the crispy meaty part, but did not enjoy any of the rest. As for the shoulder, he again thought it was too fatty and didn't like the rub. He said it was too fennel-ly. I don't know. I thought it was delicious again. But it was a bit of a drag having him sitting there complaining the whole time. Lessons learned... 1. never bring dad to a place I really enjoy again. 2. Never order for him or share with him again. For snacks we had the chicken liver, crispy hominy and potato chips. I am a huge fan of those hominy and chips. Liver pate is not really my thing. Never has been. But my dad did enjoy that. Not so much the hominy. He definitely like the pan fried onion dip with the chips cause the rest of us barely got a bite. My mom got the beet and heirloom tomato salad and my wife got some sides... the cauliflower with parsley sauce (mmmm) and the fingerling potatoes (good but kinda boring) and she ordered the cheesy grits but they ran out. (How they ran out considering we got there at 5:30 on a Sunday evening, I am not sure but the waiter came back way past the point of acceptable to inform her of that). Actually, I had the grits with my dish so I shared with her but I thought the grits were a bit stronger in cheese this time than my previous experience. They were just okay this time. I was quite fine with relinquishing them to her.

                                                                  All in all, I love that place. I know I need to explore outside the pig, but it is hard to resist and my creature of habit nature is hard to break.

                                                                  The service has mostly been exceptional. Both lunch trips were excellent. The second trip for dinner was a little off on service. I had actually ordered two pork bellies (one for me and one for dad) but the waiter didn't hear me and only brought out one which was fine because my father didn't like it. But still, how could he not have heard me? Aw well.

                                                                  I haven't tried dessert yet but I look forward to. I also look forward to trying the double yolk egg. I told my wife a long time ago that when I open up a restaurant, all breakfast egg dishes come with two yolks per egg (unless requested otherwise). I am excited to see that idea put into practice. I also look forward to eating something other than the pig, but it is so hard to resist.

                                                                  Good times.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rare_g

                                                                    Does your wife do fish, or no fish either? If so, the mahi sandwich at lunch is insanely good.

                                                                    I had a similar experience with my parents at Michaels. They also keep kosher and found the fish a bit underwhelming, I love it. You gotta try the desserts, Hedy Goldsmith, their pastry chef, is arguably (and IMHO) the best in town at what she does.

                                                                    1. re: rare_g

                                                                      The double yolk egg is probably my favorite go-to item on the menu. Its effing awesome. Before I ate that, Id never considered egg as an acceptable thing to eat for anything but breakfast. Now Im all about it.

                                                                      1. re: rare_g

                                                                        The pork belly (which is actually the same cut bacon comes from) is one of my favorite dishes there at Michael's I too love tocook with pork and Michael's always seems to come up with something new. About a month ago he actually bought a whole pig and was ably to utelize just about the whole thing!

                                                                        You should try the beef cheek as well. It's amazing! I understand your concern about not being told about the grits. I do know that usually in restaurants in general the end of the week is tough. The selections usually aren't as plentiful because just of that...being it is the end of the week, and they are a busy joint! So I can imagine.

                                                                        Long live the pig!

                                                                        1. re: MGTico

                                                                          I went to Michael's Genuine last Sunday evening with my two college aged boys based on the great recs received on Chowhound. We were really impressed with most of what we ordered and wanted to report back.

                                                                          We shared a number of small plates- Tuna Tartare with avocado and a crispy cake (delicious), the potato chips with onion dip (outstanding), the onion stuffed with ground lamb and apricots (so, so) and my adventurous 20 year old had the "buffalo wing frogs legs". He was underwhelmed and found they were mostly batter and quite greasy.

                                                                          For our mains, I had the burrata cheese and heirloom tomato salad (outstanding), my 18 year old had a margareta pizza (made special for him and he polished it all off), and my 20 year old had the pepper steak which he loved and dipped in some of the onion dip left from the small plate. The boys also shared a side of garlic mashed potatoes which they loved. We were too full for dessert.

                                                                          The service was outstanding and the vibe was really nice.

                                                                      2. Can someone advise on dress at MGFD? Is trendy casual ok, like flips lops with a cute skirt and camisole (for dinner)?

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: pkt63

                                                                          It is not a formal or stuffy place at all and I think you'll feel comfortable regardless of what you wear.

                                                                          1. re: pkt63

                                                                            Almost everyone who dines out in miami dresses trendy casual. There are no formal restaurants I know of.

                                                                            1. re: tpigeon

                                                                              Some of us might not quite make the "trendy" part.

                                                                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                I went there right from the beach in swim shorts and a tshirt one Sunday afternoon around 6p in the summer. I personally felt like a scumbag but no one else cared. Its pretty casual there and "trendy casual". Youd be ok in the outfit you mentioned but you will see a lot of girls there in dresses or jeans too.

                                                                                1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                                  My take on MGFD:

                                                                                  While I truly enjoyed the food, I think people should understand the atmosphere of the scene. It's not fine dining. It's not much of a special occasion for a family kind of place. My mistake for thinking so, I admit, but the service was really a big disappointment to me. We had a 6:30 reso and got there at about 6:35--we were really rushed by the waiter. When he asked what my mom wanted first--the onion stuffed with ground lamb and apricot or the beef cheek, I said he should do what ever he thought best. His idea was to simply dump almost everything we'd ordered on the table and run.

                                                                                  The food ranged from fabulous--the stuffed calabaza flowers and the beef cheek--to good--the tuna tartare, the little oysters, to not so great--the onion/lamb dish. The onion wasn't cooked enough--still a little crunchy--filling was very good. The brussel sprouts were just OK. And I love brussel sprouts.

                                                                                  We had the "panino" dessert which was like delicious french toast. And a huge portion. One was enough for all four of us, easily.

                                                                                  I wish I lived nearby so I could drop in and sit at the bar but for our situation it just didn't work.

                                                                          2. Made a return visit to MGFD. Had the snapper/grouper (I think that was the fish... My memory sucks sometimes) ceviche which was exploding in flavor. Really enjoyed the grapefruit here. The burrata is still the best in Miami, period. There was a new menu item that was creative and quite good. It was called Yellowfin Conserva, I believe. Its basically cooked yellowfin marinated and served in an airtight jar of olive oil with a slice of lemon. Accoutrement of meyer lemon, sliced radish, capers, and mayo are presented with grilled bread. You take a hunk of yellowfin and combine with everything else as you see fit. My date and I really enjoyed it because it was different, allowed us to carry conversation while we ate, and tasted good. Pretty simple. We also had some other oldies but goodies that are often discussed here.

                                                                            The place was packed as usual, including the bar. My date noted the kickass music playing all night and really liked that it wasnt so loud and intrusive. Thats one of my favorite things about MGFD. The music is great, adds to the vibe of the place, and is just the right volume to fill in any silence but not too loud where you have to yell to talk the people at your table. Consistently the best restaurant in Miami, if you ask me.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                              Unless they changed the burrata at michaels - sardinia's is quite a bit better.

                                                                              1. re: tpigeon

                                                                                Im not surprised you said that. To each his own...

                                                                              2. re: Blind Mind

                                                                                Best restaurant in Miami is what I always say when describing the place to my friends. And I love that the vibe is so in the middle that you can go on a weekend with either friends for a good time or with the family... in shorts or a dress... Love that it is ALL about the food...

                                                                                1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                                  The music is a big plus at MGFD - his selection of jazz is really thoughtful, and we've seen him on several occasions come out of the kitchen to check or change what's playing and walk through and check the speakers for balance. Totally LOVE that.

                                                                                2. Stopped in last night. Had the beet/tomato salad, which I love, though at times it is hard to see which one you are picking at. We also had the shortrib with romesco sauce, which I think it absolutely out of this world. The charred flavor and the romesco sauce with the wood roasted cippolini onions are an amazing combo. We tried a new dish, which was lamb and ricotta wrapped in a crepe, which was then wood roasted with tomato sauce underneath. It was a pretty good dish, though something was missing from the dish to pull it all together. The cauliflower with parsley sauce was fantastic as always.

                                                                                  For dessert we had the maple flan, which was good, but I was REALLY looking forward to having that key lime cheesecake flan again. We also shared the creamsicle pot de creme, which was delicious and very refreshing. All in all it was a great meal once again.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: mikek

                                                                                    After not having the time to go last year when I was in Miami, I've made Michael's the "must go" place for dinner when I'm in Miami for 36 hours before my cruise later this month. Reading all the reports in this thread have got me salivating already, hopefully they will deliver as much as they promise from reading this thread.

                                                                                  2. Some notes on a few new things I tried at MGF&D last night:

                                                                                    - tuna conserva - yellowfin tuna, presumably cooked low and slow in olive oil and then served cold, presented in a 1/2 pint size mason jar, along with toasts and several accompaniments for some "DIY tuna salad" - aioli, capers, finely diced preserved lemon, thinly sliced radish. An entirely different beast than the ubiquitous tuna tartares or seared tunas, this is very much like a really good quality Spanish or Italian canned tuna (something which has its virtues) - cooked all the way through, firm but still giving, and soaking in good rich slightly fish-flavored oil. The preserved lemon really made this pop. I'd love to toss this stuff with some pasta. Pretty darn pricy at $21 per, though, and I suspect many people may be unwilling to pay that for something which duplicates canned tuna (even if it's really good canned tuna). Note that Neomi's played with a similar dish several months ago which is now on their menu (for $6?) ->
                                                                                    http://chadzilla.typepad.com/chadzill...
                                                                                    http://www.trumpmiami.com/media/docs/...

                                                                                    ETA - the tuna conserva idea is also something which Zuni Cafe in SF has been doing for a long time. Should also be noted that Atlantic yellowfin tuna, unlike bluefin, gets brownie points for sustainability.

                                                                                    - fried chicken livers - how can I resist? A "snack" portion brought about 4-5 fried chicken livers, served with a jammy cherry dipping sauce. Good sauce, but the livers were coated w/ some crispy breading (didn't seem like bread crumb, may have been some sort of oats) and fried almost beyond recognition. Too crispy outside, overcooked and mealy inside. I'll stick with the always satisfying chicken liver crostini intead.

                                                                                    - wood-roasted carrots - these came from either Paradise Farms or Bee Heaven Farms, I now forget. Short, fat, nubby little carrots, roasted in the wood-burning oven until they're tender enough to have some give but not gone mushy. Really simple, really pleasant. I might have sprinkled a tiny bit of sugar before roasting just to help along the natural sugars (one of my favorite "cheats" for many slightly sweet vegetables like carrots, sauteed onions, or snap peas). I am growing more and more fond of the veg dishes at MGF&D, particularly anything done in the wood-burning oven. Makes me feel good to eat my vegetables.

                                                                                    Since I'd been at a wine tasting earlier, I was all wined out by the time we sat down for dinner, and was reminded of how solid the beer selection is. We really enjoyed our Old Speckled Hens, a British pale ale that was nicely smooth and malty.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                      Good running into you and the Mrs. at MGFD last night, Frod. I had already tried the Yellowfin Conserva on a previous visit and enjoyed it but I would warn that it is not for everyone. I didnt find it to be overly pricey though. They really pack a lot of tuna in that one little jar, at least they did when I tried it. The meyer lemon was also my favorite part.

                                                                                      I went with 2 staples last night. The wood-grilled octopus is one of my favorites. You cant strike out with that one. The meat is always super tender with a light char and the mix of olives, tomatoes, etc, keeps it light and flavorful. I also had the house salad which constantly changes yet continues to kick major ass. Finished off with the cheese of the week, yum. Also like that they have brought in some new bourbons for my consumption.

                                                                                      1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                                        Agree on all fronts on the tuna conserva - probably not something everyone will love, and it is a sizable portion (it is listed in the mediums), probably about 6-8 oz of fish. More than I would have wanted to eat as an app (and too pricy), yet not something I'd want to have as a main course - good to split though. Mrs. F loves the grilled octopus too.

                                                                                    2. Had lunch here yesterday and had the hamburger for the first time. It was delicious. After hearing and reading about 8oz Burger Bar for the last two weeks, I've been craving good burgers.

                                                                                      The burger is served on a lightly grilled brioche roll, with a couple leaves of butter lettuce, a slice of tomato, melted white cheddar, and two strips of yummy bacon. It was incredibly juicy.

                                                                                      I know that pretty much everything is good here, but this burger still exceeded expectations. I'll also note that I had one of my favorite burgers (Houston's Hickory burger) the day before and I enjoyed the MGFD rendition more.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: dmo305

                                                                                        All that talk about the pork shoulder just made me make my reservation for next week.

                                                                                        I hope that is still on the menu.

                                                                                        1. re: dmo305

                                                                                          Since 8oz sparked the craving, have you gone yet? wonder how it would measure up.

                                                                                          1. re: Marsjt

                                                                                            I prefer Michael's burger (best in Miami IMHO). There is one catch - you can only get it until 3 PM.

                                                                                            On a different note, I noticed several new dishes on their dinner menu online. Has anyone tried their mac n cheese, the blackmouth salmon medium dish, the red snapper, etc.?

                                                                                            1. re: mikek

                                                                                              Yeah i think it deserves best in Mia status as well. When I was there I asked to see the dinner menu (hunting for the new stuff) and didn't see any of those items.

                                                                                              Anybody know how often their online menu is updated? It would be awesome if daily but I doubt thats it.

                                                                                              Also, did you see the Fried Rabbit under larges? Jeez I want me some rabbit.

                                                                                              1. re: mikek

                                                                                                I was there this evening and none of those items were on the menu, though several items I've not had before were - house-cured mackerel with almonds & raisins and a fennel salad (good if you like blue-skinned fish like I do, though a somewhat small portion even for a "small"), house-made duck and foie gras terrine w/ pomelo mostarda (very good though the terrine was just a little "tight"; this portion very generous for a "small"); at least a couple other new ones I didn't get to try, including a fried rabbit w/ remoulade sauce. I also tried the chicken wings for the first time, doused in a Thai-style sweet chile sauce and served with raita/tzatziki-like creamed cucumbers. These frankly seemed more "staff meal" than "gourmet" but at $8 for about 6 pieces, that's perfectly OK by me.

                                                                                                The actual menu in the restaurant changes from day to day (though several items are steady). The online menu seems to get updated every couple months or so.

                                                                                                Michael was out entertaining the masses at South Beach Wine & Food Fest Burger Bash, but the kitchen was holding its own in his absence.

                                                                                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                  Not only were we there on the same night, but you must've left your opinions lingering because I thought the same thing about one thing we ordered in common!

                                                                                                  Really liked the mackeral but thought portion was small for $16. Then again the smoking is probably time consuming so guess you gotta make up for it. They were out of the terrine but I know what you mean by "tight". I think the rabbit pate can be that way sometimes. Still wish they'd had it to try it. We also had the tuna conserva (which they were out of last time we went) and it's like the best tuna sandwich you've ever had. The pork belly was the best we'd had at Michae'ls - crispy on the outside and the kimchee was spiced just right (last time I'd had the kimchee in the steak salad at lunch my mouth was on fire, and I can handle heat!).

                                                                                                  Last time there we had the fried rabbit and it was delicious. Served wrapped in a napkin it just looks like fried chicken but the parts are different. It's amazing how we've become accustomed to navigating around certain foods (e.g. fried chicken) to know where to avoid the bones, cartilage, etc. Then you get the fried rabbit that looks like fried chicken and you keep cutting into random bones and things. Kinda fun actually. And the remoulade was good. Another item they had once and never saw again was tempura green beans. It sounds very TGIFridays but they were really, really good. Fresh crisp beans that were entirely greaseless with a coriander(?) dipping sauce. Excellent bar snack!

                                                                                                  1. re: lax2mia

                                                                                                    Missed you guys by one night! Wife and I were there on Friday night (first day of our trip). I had the pork belly and it was fabulous! Just like you said, crispy on the outside, non fiery kimchi, the pork meat was succulent. Also had the chicken liver crostini. Smooth, creamy, not your Jewish grandmother's ( or great grandmother's) chopped liver. I thought it was the best meal of the trip. My wife ordered the 1/2 chicken and pronounced it "good but not exceptional". Still and all a keeper and definitely on the "must eat there again" list for the next trip.

                                                                                          2. Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink
                                                                                            We had high expectations for this evening and it was even better than that. All of the food we had was awesome, but our standouts were the grouper with roasted brussel sprouts, chips/dip appetizer, homemade fettucine with shrimp/pesto, and the ice cream trio for dessert - Wow! Wow! Wow! - I never expected to LOVE popcorn or bacon ice cream, but we did and just keep thinking about it (strawberry basil completed the trio and was good but didn’t really fit with the other two).

                                                                                            The sommelier’s wine recommendation was perfect (a white blend from Italy) and really affordably-priced. The service was friendly and efficient but not at all rushed in spite of it being an incredibly busy Friday night dinner. I will plan to return here with every visit to Miami!

                                                                                            1. michael's genuine food + drink, miami
                                                                                              design district, 40th st.
                                                                                              february 2009

                                                                                              after hearing and reading so much about this place i was eager to check it out for myself. had reservations well in advance and were seated promptly. parking was easy on the street as we arrived fairly early on a weekday to avoid any delays. i did not receive a reservation confirmation call, but it was not a problem. sat at a lovely table on the window inside. the courtyard outside may have been nice but the kitchen vents outside and i'd rather not smell as if i was working in the kitchen for the evening. our server went over the menu and paced our meal well. we enjoyed a total of seven items from the menu; the house cured mackerel, crispy squash blossoms, double egg yolk salad, duck confit, pork belly, cheese grits and fettuccini special. everything was nicely prepared and presented. i really enjoyed the pork belly as it's not something i eat often, full of fat and flavor! excellent wine service without pushing additional bottles is always appreciated. although nearly full we did have the banana panini which was excellent along with a cremoso to finish the meal. well above anything available in the boca, delray, or fort lauderdale area. a variety of unique, flavorful items served in an upscale yet casual space by a professional staff.

                                                                                              THE GOOD
                                                                                              • good space, both inside and the available courtyard
                                                                                              • very well prepared + presented food
                                                                                              • attentive professional service
                                                                                              • easy parking, depending upon the time of day

                                                                                              THE BAD
                                                                                              • kitchen exhausts into the courtyard?
                                                                                              • no reservation confirmation call

                                                                                              THE UGLY
                                                                                              • none

                                                                                              1. Went last night and had 2 new items that were really, really good. The first was a scallop carpaccio with meyer lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper (maybe something else but I dont recall). Ive been waiting for a scallop dish at MGFD for a long time and this one was a nice starter. Very cool and refreshing and I liked the way the lemon worked there. I was pretty bummed when I found out that there would be a seared scallop on the menu this weekend and Im out of town. The next dish was hands down one of the best dishes Ive had there in awhile. Pan seared local kingfish with farro, chorizo, grilled lemon, cilantro, and a saffron aioli. Effing phenomenal. A nicely sized portion of kingfish cooked perfectly with a nice sear and very tender and moist. Loved the saffron aioli too. Great flavor and who doesnt like saffron? The farro was a nice compliment and gave the dish some nice, healthy weight. For a bacon lover like me though, the star was the chorizo, especially since Id forgotten it was in there between the time I ordered and the time I took my first bite. Get there now and get this dish before its gone, you wont be disappointed. Trust me.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                                                  They did have the scallops this Friday evening...Amazing. Pan seared with smoked eggplant and tahini dressing topped with meyer lemon!...M M M.

                                                                                                  Congrats on 2 years of great food!

                                                                                                2. I just thought I'd give an update as to some new things on the menu we had the other night. Featured were a few new items, in the medium section was some stout battered sheepshead fish, similar to catfish but excellent. We also tried a pan seared snapper that came with some braised fennel and a tarragon beurre blanc. We were curious about the missing panzanella. Our server filled us in that chef is looking to make some substantial changes to the menu in the next few weeks. As always excited to come back and see soon!

                                                                                                  1. Couple of dishes from a recent visit:

                                                                                                    Bacon wrapped dates back on the menu- and good as ever.

                                                                                                    Crispy homemade Pastrami - on this visit our piece was a bit fatty, but still delicious. Served w/ homemade 1000 island and red cabbage slaw.

                                                                                                    Duck Confit - new prep, same old goodness. Not sure if this prep is necessarily an improvement over previous renditions but variety is the spice of life.

                                                                                                    Local Blackfin Tuna Conserva - saw this dish previously mentioned on the boards as yellowfin, guess that has changed. For a dish that ends up as a fancy tuna salad, it was really, really good. I demolished this one.

                                                                                                    Local Mutton Snapper - Great sear w/ crispy skin, fish was still very moist and flavorful. Served atop a grilled fennel, avocado, and heirloom salad, which was coated in deliciously fresh arugula vinagrette. Generous portion on the fish.

                                                                                                    Grilled baby artichoke side was delicious as well.

                                                                                                    For dessert we shared a slice of "Mounds Bar" pie, a take on the traditional coconut/chocolate bar. Tended more towards the chocolate without overwhelming the coconut flavor. Served w/ some homemade coco marshmallows.

                                                                                                    Still laughing about that "Is Michael's Slipping?" post from a lil while back...

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: dmo305

                                                                                                      Darn! Had bacon wrapped apricots instead of dates. Preferred the dates preparation though apricots were much lighter. Really liked the grilled baby artichokes and salsa verde (needed some salt, but after that they were excellent). Tried the pig ear snack - prep is same as the hominy. Would be great if they offered a snack that was a mix of hominy and pig ear.

                                                                                                      1. re: lax2mia

                                                                                                        I've been known to do a similar thing ( I believe this dish is called Devils on Horseback), but I use prosciutto instead of the bacon, and a chive goat cheese filler. Lighter, but still has that savory goodness. Great on the grill!

                                                                                                    2. Pastrami fans, the pastrami sandwich on the lunch menu is awesome. Start off with the chicken liver crostini and you have the Carnegie deli south...

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: The Chowfather

                                                                                                        Where can they possibly get good pastrami from?

                                                                                                        1. re: tpigeon

                                                                                                          We make it. Harris Ranch brisket. Brined, smoked & slow roasted.

                                                                                                          1. re: genuinechef

                                                                                                            can I get an end cut? If so, I am so there.

                                                                                                            Also you hand cut it, right?

                                                                                                          2. re: tpigeon

                                                                                                            It first started showing up on the dinner menu a few weeks ago and was just screaming to be turned into a reuben-esque sandwich.

                                                                                                        2. Recently tired the Ribeye Cap for the first time, and it was great. The meat was served sliced atop the greek farro salad, which was also quite good and a nice complement to the steak. Ribeye musta been big as these slices were not small. Also started with the BLT salad, which amazingly is the first salad i have ordered here (besides pork belly watermelon and that can't count!). I asked for them to serve it with feta, which they didn't, however that only worked to my advantage as they ended up bringing me a plank of feta on a side dish and I got to enjoy both. Needless to say, as good as the feta was, Michael knows more than me, hence his choice of roaring forties blue to go with the salad. It came served as one nice slice of homemade bacon, a beautiful slice of heirloom tomato dressed in evoo (i think), a bit of frisee and the chunk of cheese.

                                                                                                          There were plenty of other new dishes on the menu, including a curried goat something or other which looked like a nice crabcake although i did not get a taste.

                                                                                                          also, everyone should take note that hedy's homemade kettle corn ice cream flavor is RIDICULOUS and you should order it by any means, regardless of whether you saved space or ran over budget.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: dmo305

                                                                                                            CRISPY PIG EAR!

                                                                                                            1. re: Miami Danny

                                                                                                              photo of crispy pig ear www.dailycocaine.blogspot.com

                                                                                                            2. re: dmo305

                                                                                                              I agree. Had the ice cream as part of another dessert, but would have been happy with a pint of that alone. INSANE!!!

                                                                                                            3. Haven't added anything to this thread for a while, as my day-to-day reports on MGF&D have lately leaned more toward the ephemera of twitterville. A few newish things worthy of note:

                                                                                                              - the house salad lately has been featuring a combination of peaches, pickled rhubarb and goat cheese (sometimes Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, sometimes Laura Chenel Tome) that I really like. I think the latest one swapped out peaches for guava (whose hard seeds I sometimes find a bit disconcerting).

                                                                                                              - duck rillettes in the snacks, a little ramekin of shredded duck confit with an obscene buttery cap of duck fat. Served simple with some mustard, cornichons and pickled onion.

                                                                                                              - crispy rice cake, with rock shrimp & chorizo topped w a fried egg and a pool of spicy tomato aioli, is fantastic. Don't be thrown by the "rice cake" moniker - this is nothing like that dietetic packing material stuff, and everything like, say, a good risotto, shaped into a disk and then pan-fried to get some nice crispy edges. With an egg on top.

                                                                                                              - grass-fed, Florida-raised NY strip steak (from Deep Creek Ranch in No. FL if my memory is right) which was just delicious. Rich flavor, not too tough, love the support of grass-fed and FL producer.

                                                                                                              - peanut butter banana & bacon ice cream. Didn't turn on anyone else at the table, but I thought it worked perfectly; bacon not overwhelming, just a little whiff of meaty smoke.

                                                                                                              - also got a sample of the St. Agur blue cheese a visit or two ago. I'm often not much of a blue cheese guy as I often find them overpoweringly salty, but this was nice creamy and rich.

                                                                                                              www.foodforthoughtmiami.com

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                The duck rillettes are really, really good. Im sad I missed the rice cake after getting your tweet and going the next day. Im also a cheese fan but usually stay away from blues as a standalone "dessert" but the St. Agur was somewhat likable due to its creaminess. I miss the Brillat Savrin...

                                                                                                              2. I had dinner for the first time Friday evening at Michael's with my husband, and his two uncles. Our waiter Robin was very helpful, food great etc,etc. I was very surprised though when we got the bill, there was a 20% gratuity added. Is this standard here? We did not want to bring it up, but it kind of ruined the meal for us. On the way out I took a menu with me and it only said gratuities of 6 or more. Any one else had this happen?

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: MiaMiss

                                                                                                                  Never had that happen to me before. Strange...

                                                                                                                2. has anyone tried Michael's new brunch menu? I've been for dinner 5 or 6 times and love it. Curious about brunch.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Debrouillard

                                                                                                                    We tried the brunch for the first time last week. My kind of brunch. Not an over-the-top, stuff-yourself, all-you-can-eat fixed price deal. Rather, the format is very much like MGF&D's dinner menu, with lots of a la carte items (mostly priced under $10) and you can cobble together 2-3 or so to make a meal.

                                                                                                                    The menu is divided between "savory" and "sweet," with many of the savory items being a clever repurposing of some of the regular menu items in a more breakfasty format - i.e., the pork shoulder w cheese grits gets an egg on top. The sweets section gives a more expansive role to pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith with about a dozen or so baked items, plus a couple variations on pancakes and the like. Also a variety of breads to choose from with house-made jams, and other a la carte nibbles.

                                                                                                                    Not sure I can even recall everything we tried, but standouts included the breakfast pizza (topped with house-made bacon, fried egg, jack cheese, green onion); yuzu poptart (better than the blueberry one); red velvet cupcake. The spicy posole with a wood-oven roasted duck egg and duck cracklings was good, but could have used a little refinement.

                                                                                                                    Really a very pleasant brunch all around, and I really enjoy the ability to order what you want and try a couple different things, without the steep price tag of a typical AYCE brunch.

                                                                                                                    Also several nice "eye-openers" on the drinks menu. I thoroughly enjoyed the "Sonny Rollins," with Basil Hayden bourbon, tea, honey, lemon and a splash of soda.

                                                                                                                    www.foodforthoughtmiami.com

                                                                                                                  2. Congratulations to Chef Schwartz on winning the 2010 James Beard Award for Best Chef - South.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mikek

                                                                                                                      We were there a couple of weeks ago on a busy Saturday evening and it wasn't very good. Maybe it was an off night, but almost all the dishes we had were off.

                                                                                                                      The home made linguine was OK, a bit past adante and a bit bland. The chargrilled octopus was way overcharred to the pont the surface was almost all black. The kingfish was overcooked but otherwise OK. The pan roasted half chicken was way overcooked to the point the meat was tough and very dry. The lone exception was the crispy rice cake which was original and delicious.

                                                                                                                      All in all, it was disapponting considering the many postive reviews here and elsewhere.

                                                                                                                      1. re: syoung

                                                                                                                        I Also just went and had such a disappointing meal. I hate to say it bc I know so many people love it, but i just dont get it. This was my 4th attempt trying it and i was just as let down as the last 3 times. Was hoping post James Beard it might have been better. The chef was there, he came out of the kitchen to talk to ppl at their tables and it just made me feel even more disappointed that the food was so boring despite him being there.
                                                                                                                        We had the chopped liver crustinos, which were by far the best thing we ate all night. Id put it up there with my grandmothers liver (thats a big complement).
                                                                                                                        Onion Dip- tasted good but nothing to write home about
                                                                                                                        Crispy Pork ears- impossible to chew, seemed like all cartilage, flavor was pretty nasty in my opinion
                                                                                                                        local yellow jack ceviche- fresh but boring flavors, they should NOT call it ceviche because it really didnt have any bold ceviche taste and was even underwhelming as a plain sashimi dish
                                                                                                                        wood roasted double yolk egg- wasnt my idea to order it, some people enjoyed it but it really didnt do anything for me. I like yolk just as much as the next person, but that is all it was... yolk with some tomato and cheese
                                                                                                                        crispy rice cake- just plain underwhelming. Very little taste, came with a sauce that overpowered it completely.
                                                                                                                        Short Rib- WAYYYYY too tough. It looked pulled apart but was not melt in your mouth. Had no sauce, which made it totally dry. Again little flavor
                                                                                                                        Wood oven pizza- ok but nothing to write home about.
                                                                                                                        Lemon Tarte- Ok but very artificial tasting
                                                                                                                        Candies cookies and confections- DISGUSTING. Even the people i ate with that enjoyed their meals thought this was the grossest thing ever. Plus the cookies that came with it tasted stale. The only edible thing on the plate was a baklava-esq log.
                                                                                                                        Banana Toffee Panini- next to the liver this was the best thing we ordered.

                                                                                                                        Nothing I ate (except the liver) compelled me to take a second bite... and i was pretty hungry!
                                                                                                                        In addition, everything came out super fast and all at once. It was annoying. It was as if the food had already been made rather than cooked to order. We felt rushed and bombarded. That being said, our waiter was very nice. All in all, i have to say I DONT GET IT!

                                                                                                                        1. re: morganeats

                                                                                                                          I guess I don't get some of your complaints?

                                                                                                                          First, I'd ask - have you ever had pig's ear before? Cartilage is exactly what it is along with a little meat, fried crisp and seasoned. Like bacon on steroids. I eat that snack often or as part of their salad and I think it's awesome. It's not for everyone so I can understand if it was your first time and it didn't appeal to you.

                                                                                                                          I'm wondering... When you read a menu that says "wood roasted double yolk farm egg, roasted tomato, gruyere" what do you expect to get besides yolk, tomato, and cheese? Had you complained about it being overcooked, I'd have empathized as I've had a few that were overcooked. Complaining about the ingredients that are listed on the menu in plain view though? Sorry, cant help you there. Like some of your party, I happen to really enjoy this dish as well. Simple, savory, and delicious.

                                                                                                                          I'll agree that the aioli on the crispy rice cake can get a little heavy from time to time but that dish is fantastic. Even a few of my friends that are tough to impress love that dish.

                                                                                                                          I also don't understand why the ceviche wouldn't be able to be classified as such? Please explain.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Blind Mind

                                                                                                                            Dont get me wrong, im not saying that the food was over or under cooked. Im saying that the food was plain old boring. I dont understand how everyone adores the food here so much when the flavors are so unexciting.
                                                                                                                            My girlfriend said we had to order the double yolk farm egg as though it was the best thing in the entire world. Im not saying it was poorly prepared, im saying that it bored me to death... it was like something thrown together on a hungover sunday morning in your home.

                                                                                                                            As far as the pig ears, i have had them before (not at michaels). I did not order it bc granted, i dont love pig ears.., BUT My boyfriend, who loves everything pig, ordered them and he thought they were gross. We were also eating with two friends who are cuban and have encountered more than a few pig ears in their day, and neither of them enjoyed this dish.

                                                                                                                            The rice cake had NO flavor whatsoever. While it seemed nicely cooked and fluffy, it had no taste (unless you add the aioli... in which case it only tasted like aioli). what more can i say.

                                                                                                                            The ceviche also had very little flavor. It was bland. . No acid, no interesting herb, nothing.... It was fine, it just wasnt anything worth taking a second bite of. Yes, the fish was fresh. But when contending with ceviches from ceviche105, la cofradia, or francesco, which all serve authentic peruvian ceviches, it failed miserably. Last time i was at talula I ate their ceviche and it was outstanding! Citrus, a kick of spice, fresh avocado, and the yummiest/freshest fish ever. After comparing it to so many wonderful ceviches ive had around miami, it just confirms my belief that this restaurant is nothing more than fair.

                                                                                                                            1. re: morganeats

                                                                                                                              Hard to tell if this is a matter of an off-night for the kitchen or the "no accounting for taste" principle (which is not in any way a slight - I've often said that people who come to MGF&D expecting culinary pyrotechnics may well be disappointed). Probably the latter, since you say you've been before.

                                                                                                                              The ceviche happens to be one of the few dishes I've been disappointed by at MGF&D (I also think Talula's is awesome). But several of the other MGF&D dishes you mention often provoke fighting at our tables.

                                                                                                                              I sometimes have to smack Frod Jr.'s hand if he tries to steal too many pig ears from my salad (OK, I don't actually smack him, but I'm not above threatening it); there's usually a contest to see who can order the crispy rice cake w rock shrimp & chorizo first, as it's one of the favorites of everyone in the family.

                                                                                                                              The lemon tart uses Meyer lemons, which are more aromatic and less sour than your average lemon and may account for your description of it as "artificial tasting." Little Miss F is a big fan of (natural) lemon desserts and this is one of her favorites.

                                                                                                                              I mention the kids here a couple times because they really couldn't give a crap if Michael Schwartz won a James Beard award or was written up in the New York Times, they just like good food.

                                                                                                                              But if it doesn't do it for you, that's OK too.