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Knock My Socks Off at Michaels Genuine

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Yes, I know that there are a million threads about this restaurant but I understand their menu changes often and I am going tonight (hows that for a laziness excuse). Some of you may be aware that my opinion of this place is not as high as those of many others who post here regularly. Help me right my wrong. What dishes will knock my socks off.

Sprouts and Cremoso are on the list already.

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  1. Beef cheek

    1. Beef Cheek
      Chicken Liver Crostini
      Pork Belly

      1 Reply
      1. re: Suzie

        RE: Chicken Liver Crostini

        Will actually make you barf in your sock, not knock it off!

      2. The wood roasting whole chicken
        beef cheek
        papardelle with beef sugo
        ceviche if they have it
        grouper cheek if they have it.

        1. Working from the current website menu (fairly recently updated, but it always changes a bit from day to day) ->

          Snacks -
          Crispy hominy w/ chile & lime
          Chicken liver crostini

          Small -
          wood roasted giant prawn
          butternut squash salad (if you're a salad person).

          (note - I'm not recommending the double-yolk egg only b/c it's never been on the menu when I'm there - can't wait to try this).

          Medium -
          crispy pork belly w/ kim chee ******
          crispy beef cheek w/ celeriac & chocolate reduction

          Large -
          swordfish w/ vegetable ragout & saffron aioli

          XL -
          Whole wood roasted "poulet rouge" chicken

          Sides -
          wood roasted brussels sprouts w/ pancetta & lemon aioli

          (note - the brussels sprouts & aioli also come w/ the grouper if you want to try them that way).

          I also very much like the pork shoulder w/ cheese grits, but others are less excited about it, so it doesn't make my "must try" list.
          I've also not yet tried the almond braised shortrib which sounds great, nor the sweetbread prep on the online menu (did have a nice sweetbread salad once).

          You've got dessert under control w/ the cremoso.

          1. YESSSSS glad you are finally heading back. When you go back tomorrow for lunch (you will) try the pulled pork sandwich.

            Try the pork belly and beef cheek.

            1. Pork belly. Short rib with almonds. And tapered expectations.

              1. The cremoso is an excellent choice, but I also highly suggest the tangerine pot de creme, and the basil panacotta.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chevrehead

                  Next time. I consider the panna cotta at sardinia the current one to beat. It will be interesting to compare the two.

                2. Thanks everyone. I am officially on the bandwagon now. I would have to say this restaurant ranks up there with both michy's and sardinia after the meal I had there (I won't complain if you say it is better than both either).

                  Hominy - very good, the chili was a nice touch

                  Chicken Liver - Very, very good, but I can see why some would not like it as it has a very strong liver flavor. Not sure if I like this version better than the roasted chicken livers they serve (or used to serve) at sardinia for lunch.

                  Giant Prawn - Shrimp was awesome and was superior to the ones you get at sardinia and macalusos. This was tied for my second favorite savory dish.

                  Double yolk egg - another very very good dish I love cheese eggs and carbs. Was very well executed.

                  Sprouts - disappointed because it was very dry. I believe they overcooked this. I will try it again another time as I believe this was a mistake. For now, sardinias was far superior.

                  Beef Cheek - solid but did not knock my socks off. I had the same reaction when I ate the berkshire pork the first time I was there.

                  Sweetbreads - This was the best rendition of sweetbreads I have had in miami. Superior to Table 8's (when it was good), Michy's and Sardinias. Excellent. This tied for my second favorite savory dish.

                  Shortribs - Solid but possibly slightly overcooked. Both michy's and Sardinias were superior. Sardinia's is the best of the bunch because they give you the bone too so you get to eat the best meat.

                  Pork Belly - My favorite savory dish, this was utterly excellent and superior to the pork belly at Michy's. This dish matches the best dishes at both sardinia and michys.

                  Bananna split - Not what I expected at all (I really didn't read the description carefully - give me peanut butter, chocolate and ice cream and you will sell me dessert every time -- I was thinking it would be a classic sundae) and it tasted better than I was hoping for great dessert which I would recommend, but not if you are only having one dessert as it pales before the magic of...

                  Cremoso - Holy heck was this good, I had socks going in to Michaels tonight but they were knocked right off once I had my first bite of this chocolate dream. The olive oil, the salt, the ice cream and the chocolate made this magic. It is even better than the Olvie Oil gelatto at Otto in NYC. This may be the single best dessert I have had in my entire life and is absolutely superior to Michy's baked alaska and is significantly better than the Milefoglie at Sardinia which I love.

                  This dessert was the highlight of the evening and I left extremely impressed and now officially retract my good value but nothing special remark about michaels. The cremoso alone makes this place a destination.

                  Michaels is amongst the best restaurants in miami and I would eat there often if it was on the beach as it is one of those places you can try something different almost every day.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: tpigeon

                    Another convert! I knew you'd see the light if you gave it another chance.

                    1. re: tpigeon

                      Did Chef Schwartz hold a gun to your head to say this? I swore that you'd never change you're opinion of the place because you were so adamant about it being, like you said, a good value but nothing special (though a bunch of us obviously disagreed). Great thing about the place is that the menu changes constantly so items you didn't necessarily like may be rotated off (like the short rib, which I disagree with you on vs. Michy's, but I haven't had Sardinia's) but the cremoso I don't think will ever go away. Thanks for taking up another table and making it hard for the rest of us to get seated. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm almost wishing summer would get here to make it easier to get a table.

                      1. re: lax2mia

                        Great to hear this experience changed your opinion. Now you have to try the lunch, as it is one of the best deals in all of Miami. $12 for the curried mahi wrap, I will take two please! I am glad you commented on the egg dish, as it looks amazing and I am heading there for dinner tonight. I am finally getting my parents there, which should be excellent. To those wine folks here, what bottle of pinot noir in the $60-70 range would you get to send to someone's table? Our family friend is going there Sat night to celebrate and we wanted to have a bottle sent over for them when they get there.

                        Also, I noticed their online menu for dessert changed from Haagen-Dazs ice cream to homemade. I am very happy to see this, as serving Haagen Dazs just seemed to go completely against the local/fresh/hhomemade concept that the restaurant prides itself on.

                        1. re: mikek

                          Mikek -

                          Speaking of having to eat your hat (tp!), I have to take back some of my knocking of MGF&D's wine list. *Someone* noted a couple months ago that they'd made improvements to the wine list, and if the current on-line list (fairly recently updated) is representative, there are indeed a lot of great choices and good prices.

                          Just looking at the pinots, close to the price range you're seeking, Au Bon Climat is a very reliable producer and there's the "La Bauge au Dessus" @ $56, or the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard @ $89 (a little over your range, I know). Both of these are very fairly priced at less than 2x retail. If you're willing to look in the $80s, Tandem also makes very good wines (Van Der Kamp '05 @ $85).

                          If you want to go Oregon instead of CA, I've not had the '05 but I've had prior vintages from Lemelson that I've enjoyed. The Thea's Selection is another reliably good wine and at $57 is again priced under 2x the retail release price.

                          The intriguing item to me is the '03 Tollot-Beaut Aloxe-Corton @ $72. I don't know the wine, but '03 was a good year for burgundy (esp. if you like 'em ripe and more fruit-forward), it's a solid producer, and the price sure seems good.

                          Enjoy!

                          1. re: Frodnesor

                            Tonight should be quite interesting, as my parents keep kosher as far as not eating meat out of the house or any shellfish/pork. We will be getting all the fish items, the pizza and the veggie stuffs. Which of the fish dishes have you all found to be superb? I am thinking the whole wood roasted snapper will be one of the choices, especially considering the amazing flavors it loans to the chicken and everything else that enters it.

                            1. re: mikek

                              My favorite fish is probably the swordfish w/ vegetable ragout & saffron aioli. I had a nice golden trout that was a similar but more delicate preparation. Some time ago I had a very nice salmon (Alaskan, not that insipid Atlantic stuff) cut crosswise as a steak w/ a nice potato & mushroom hash, but haven't seen that on the menu for a while.

                              I have never had the whole wood roasted snapper but have drooled as they've been pulled out of the oven.

                              Note the pizza often is done w/ pulled pork (though you can probably get one w/o). Note also the brussels sprouts are done w/ pancetta.

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                I am also kosher and I second Frods swordfish w. artichoke and onion ragout and saffron aioli and mine had some crispy onions on top..very delicious..very moist..nice flavors..didnt care much for the potato mash beneath the fish tho..the pizza are great..i would ask if you can get the lunch one..carmleized onions and mushrroms with gruyere..its way better then the dinner pizza..the salad with the ricota salata is and pecans is great also!! Keeping kosher just makes it easier for us to elimate half the menu without breaking my head over what to order bc everything sounds so good!! or thats what I tell myself

                                1. re: sharoni345

                                  It has just occurred to me that swordfish is generally not considered kosher - but then everybody observes in their own way (me, I observe whatever tastes good).

                                  http://www.askmoses.com/article/554,5...

                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                    Technically, nothing at all is kosher at michaels.

                        2. re: lax2mia

                          I really liked the shortrib there btw, I just liked michy's and sardinias better (and on michy's part because I think they may have slightly overcooked my shortrib at micheals otherwise it might have been a dead heat). The restaurant was only 75% full when I was there so you could have gotten a seat :).

                          BTW sardinia's shortrib is a special which appears pretty often on the menu but not every day...

                      2. We were there 3 nights ago. The food quality is excellent, the server helpful and the experience very good. I just do not see it as a "knock your socks off" kind of place but more as the name suggests just really good food. Having said that, I liked the chicken liver crostini, but chopped chicken liver is just that, just chopped chicken liver not that there is anything wrong with that. I loved the duck leg confit, the beef cheek was crispy and good. The celeriac tasted like mashed potatoes and adding pieces of celery did not help. I think it is too subtle for this dish. A tablemate had the whole pompano which was beautiful.

                        1. My top 5 are:

                          1. Pork Cheek
                          2. Grouper Cheek
                          3. Pork Belly
                          4. Wood Roasted Prawn
                          5. Wood Roasted Onion Stuffed with Lamb

                          Probably going back this weekend. Tangerine pot de Creme is my fave dessert but I usually do a grapa instead. Love that they have that as well as a decent bourbon selection.

                          1. OK...so for those of us out of the immediate area. Can you tell me where this restaurant is located? Thanks!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JulieF

                              Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
                              130 N.E. 40th Street
                              Miami, FL 33137
                              http://www.michaelsgenuine.com/

                            2. Wanted to revive this thread, as we went last night and had another amazing meal at Michael's. We started with a triple cream cheese and a port reduction that was excellent. From there we moved on to the duck confit, which was moist, tender and delicious. They (I think) changed the preparation, as it now comes with a raisin and pear chutney that was very flavorful. They had a new dish on the menu last night, a grouper cheek tempura over a mango and choyote slaw. Small piece of fish very lightly fried in a delicate batter. Very fresh fish, the fried part did not overwhelm the flavor of the grouper. The slaw that was under it was incredible. Great texture and flavors to complement the fish. We then shared the almond braised short rib with a romesco sauce on it. This dish was the winner of the evening. It was pull apart with the fork tender and the romesco sauce was loaded with flavor. The grilled cipollini onions were excellent as well. Highly recommend this dish. We finished off with the tangerine pot de creme. This was the one dessert we had yet to try and decided to go for it. Much better in execution that we thought it would be based on the description. It was a creamsicle-like and delicate flavor in the creme (which had a consistency/flavor similar to the custard part of a creme brulee) with candied tangerine rind on top that just loaded the dish with flavor.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: mikek

                                I had the privilege of having lunch last week at Michael's with a good friend who we took there for her birthday. Lucky us, she is very good friends with the pastry chef who came out to meet and greet and wish her a happy birthday. After our lunch (which was wonderful as usual), Heddy sent out a dessert platter that was so decadent it was almost embarrassing. I'm pretty sure there was a sample of almost everything she makes and it was incredible. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, they were all that good. She might be one of the best pastry chefs around and such a tiny lady. I don't know how she does it.

                                1. re: pilches

                                  Yes, she is certainly up there in terms of local pastry chefs, as the products they put out shows. I have tried every one on their current menu, and all are unreal. My girlfriend had a similar incident on her birthday, as she is friends with one of the waitstaff. I was so jealous when I got the picture message of a gigantic plate with all sorts of desserts on it. Which was your favorite? I am a big fan of the lemon tart, the cremoso and that key lime/cheesecake/flan is one of the most inventive and delicious desserts I have ever tried.

                                  1. re: mikek

                                    I wen't to michaels again for lunch recently and was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it was still very good, but not as special as the dinner I had there before. I am coming to the conclusion that there is a little variation in consistency there between good and special...The mahi wrap, was great btw.

                                    Btw, I tried that panna cotta for dessert there and found the panna cotta itself tasteless, but the fruit sauce in the dish was great. My point is that you could have just done the fruit thing and not put panna cotta in it at all and it would have tasted the same. Great dessert, but not great panna cotta...

                                    1. re: tpigeon

                                      I am less thrilled about the desserts at Michael's. I think that and the wine list (recently improved but still a bit lacking) are the weak links. From the standard dessert list, my favorite is probably the chocolate peanut butter banana split or the key lime cheesecake flan. I thought the cremoso and the panna cotta were pretty weak also.

                                      However, the other night, I had a bread pudding made with bacon fat that was amazing. I don't understand why that item isn't on every night but if you see it, get it.

                                2. re: mikek

                                  The grouper cheek is my favorite item on the menu, hands down. They used to do it was a mayer lemon pasta underneath that was out of this world. Im interested to try the mango/choyote style. I also gotta try that shortrib as it sounds unreal. Tangerine pot de creme is my fave dessert on the menu as well.

                                  1. re: mikek

                                    I agree the new short rib is amazing, but it's actually not braised, just slow roasted, and then grilled. It's the only place I've ever seen short rib not braised. It makes the flavor even richer, and it's still amazingly tender.

                                    1. re: chevrehead

                                      i went tonite but they didnt have the grouper cheek...

                                      I did, however try the blackened grouper tataki. Thin cuts of grouper lightly seared around the edges with a nice spice to it. Side of finely sliced radish and a nice hunk of grapefruit which to my surprise wasnt tart at all. Nice light dish to start. I also had a bit of an early evening breakfast with the double yolk egg and Michael's own cured bacon. The bacon came with a frisee salad tossed in a vinegarette and a sunny side up quail egg on top. I would eat anything if bacon was involved but this was very tasty nonetheless. Someone on this board also mentioned the falafel being incredible so I gave that a shot and loved it. Probably the best value on the menu as well.

                                  2. I was in Miami for a few days and based on the rave reviews, I checked it out with a few friends. We tried many things and overall it was quite an impressive experience although I can understand how the experience can be hit or miss. I think the menu overall needs to be slimmed down and some of the more marginal dishes should be done away with. We were particularly impressed with the tuna tartare, giant prawn and the pork belly but the grouper and a few other dishes were definitely only so-so. And while as far as taste goes, the pork belly was unique and wonderful, the pork belly itself was not tender or melt-in-your-mouth.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ywwan

                                      The menu changes very regularly and so "marginal" to one person may be "new and exciting" to another. I think it's a good way of balancing the desires of out-of-towners and locals - particularly important in a seasonal location like Miami. Tourists visiting once a year may prefer to just see a "greatest hits" menu, but to get locals to come back regularly (still the bread and butter of any restaurant that wants to survive long term, IMO) you've got to have variety.

                                      Out of curiosity, what dishes did NOT impress?

                                    2. Speaking of the menu changing frequently ...

                                      I think it's no coincidence that the places I tend to go back to again and again change their menus pretty regularly. There's probably at least a few reasons I prefer these places: (1) it keeps it fresh and interesting for the diner to have something new to try; (2) it shows some range and talent in the kitchen to be able to do more than just crank out the same items over and over; and (3) it often means the menu is shifting with the seasons, focusing on what's good "now." It had been a couple months since I'd been to MGF&D and I was thrilled to find lots of new things on the menu.

                                      New to me were small dishes of fresh sardines, fried pork belly and watermelon salad, a seared yellowjack, homemade rabbit pate, and smoked pork short rib, mediums of a warm eggplant salad, ricotta gnudi, a house-made sausage dish, and a large of king salmon as the Alaska season starts. I suspect there were more, that's just what I can remember - I know there was more than I managed to try at one meal.

                                      We got a chance to try some of the house-cured bacon (rubbed w/ maple and smoked) in a variation on a frisee lardon w/ a couple strips of bacon, frisee (dressed in a bacon fat dressing?) and a couple quail eggs. The bacon is delicious stuff. When we were in SF last summer, house-cured meats were all the rage, and - when done right - this is a trend I fully welcome here.

                                      The yellowjack was a simple elegant dish, a small piece of fish quickly seared, topped with uni (sea urchin roe) and lychee and served in a pool of dashi broth. Speaking of lychees, this local product (grown down in Homestead) was also making an appearance in a grouper & snapper ceviche and, for the purists, completely unadorned, in their shells, in a bowl of ice. Little Miss F happens to be a lychee nut and happily plowed through about a half dozen of them.

                                      I liked the rabbit pate quite a bit, firm but not completely dense like a cold meatloaf, more meaty than liver-y and studded with pistachios. Plated with a little dab of tomato conserve which provided some nice balancing sweetness and acidity simultaneously. Mrs. F liked this until she remembered it was rabbit.

                                      The smoked pork short rib was smoky, tender and good, served w/ a house-made barbecue sauce and a celeriac slaw. Good old-fashioned BBQ flavors, but better. The gnudi (sort of like a super-light gnocchi) were fluffy w/ ricotta, and done w/ green garlic, browned butter, sage, and pamesan. The gnudi themselves were very nice, I could have done w/ less butter. Mrs. F didn't seem in love with the eggplant salad, which I've taken home to have for lunch tomorrow.

                                      Another item I really enjoyed were ramps w/ a vidalia onion coulis. As the season for the nice local spring onions has passed, MGF&D has moved to other stuff including these nice ramps, a wild onion/leek type thing (about the size of a green onion or scallion but with a flavor more like a leek - though judging by my breath right now, perhaps a word of warning is in order).

                                      Fried pork belly and watermelon salad will have to wait for next visit.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                        We were there last night and enjoyed the tomato salad and also the warm eggplant salad. We both had mussels with a side of cauliflower and a side of brussel sprouts........everything was superb, as always.

                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                          Pork belly & watermelon salad dish is THE BOMB. The flavor combo is great as is the texture combo. Thats what I love about this place. The focus is on flavor and the dining experience as it relates to consumption along with a multitude of options depending on your tastes and the amount of $$ you wish to spend. Its nice to have a place in Miami that doesnt throw a bunch of glitz and glam at you then overcharge for some crap food.

                                          1. re: Blind Mind

                                            Speckled Ocean Trout. Even though it is a small portion, the flavor will stay with you-it is completely unlike fresh-water trout, more meaty and tangy. Recommend you go there tonight....Also, African Pompano. Both fish are local...

                                        2. Tried a new dish last night. A fried green heirloom tomato with sliced fennel salad. Did not like it. The serving was one very thick slice of tomato, so thick that the breading to tomato ratio was vastly tilted toward the tomato. The breading was very good and the parsley/fennel salad was refreshing, but the tomato didn't really have much flavor and because the breading could only go so far, some bites tasted great while the others were bland. I hope the dish gets a onceover, but then again maybe others may like it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: lax2mia

                                            I went last thursday and had the house salad and I recommend that one 150%. Its incredibly good. One of my favorites, however, fell short. I got the double yolk farm egg and it was over cooked. I mentioned it to Chris, the bartender, and he commented that "chef" was out of town for the 1st time. Everything else was good though and the amount of pork belly in the pork belly w/ watermelon salad was HUGE and delicious.

                                          2. I hate to grandstand when I like something but MGFD has been effing awesome lately. Im on a once a week schedule now for cryin out loud! 2 weeks ago, I popped in for my weekly intake of awesomeness and had 2 new items that were incredibly good. I started off with my double yolk egg, of course, which was cooked perfectly. Ive finally figured out a way to make getting some of the greens in each bite easier too so they dont fall off en route from dish to mouth haha. After that I had ordered the bacon wrapped figs stuffed w/ cheese (I think it was bleu cheese but I cant remember exactly). Have you ever heard someone say, "Its so good it make you wanna slap yo momma!"? Well, its a good thing my momma lives in Boston because Id have been slappin the heck outta her hahaha. The dish was that damn good. Then came new item #2 for me, thanks to a recommendation from the bartender who mentioned Michael had procured some burrata from Chef Pietro Vardeu at Sardinia. I ordered said burrata and it was awesome. Id never had this cheese before and I couldnt get enough. I finished all of the cheese (which was a HUGE portion) and all of the tomatoes. It was a great dish, very simple, and incredibly tasty.

                                            This week I had the egg (of course) and the duck confit, which Id never tried before. Both were great and I left nothing but traces of juice on each bowl/plate. The guy next to me remarked that I should just walk to the hospital to have a stent put in after that meal haha. Ok, so it was a little heavy on the cholesterol but it was still great. I left proud to be still in possession of my membership to the Clean Plate Club.

                                            Bottom line is that this guy is killing it big time. When something doesnt work, he fixes it. He listens and comes up with ways to keep the customer guessing what will be on the menu next week. Ive yet to have even a "luke warm" dish - everything comes fresh out of the kitchen fire. The food runners, waitstaff, and bartenders are all great. Ive yet to have a "dud" and they all seem to have a personality to share along with good service. The clientel are cool too and Ive met many a beautiful woman at the bar. Its great to have a place like this in Miami.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Blind Mind

                                              Thought I'd add another recent opinion. I'd been in the camp of slightly underwhelmed by my previous experiences, but went again Sunday as my wife lifted her boycott of the place (which stemmed from Michael's a-hole-ishness on Top Chef Miami).

                                              This meal matched the best we've had at Michy's. Most of what we had has already been covered in this thread, but our fav was a small plate of gnudi. I know this is one of the "hot" menu items around the country for 2008, but it was my first time having it. Wow, just wow. At $18 for only five tiny balls of goodness it seems expensive, but the delicate texture, explosion of yum from inside with a bite, and the shaved truffles on top were a fantastic combination. Highly recommended.

                                              We also had the hominy and the deviled eggs snacks, four Kumomotos (very fresh), the house salad, the beef cheek and the pork shoulder and finished with the choclate peanut butter banana split.

                                              Service was great - and go get the gnudi!