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Mar 29, 2009 07:56 PM

Michael's Genuine is slipping. Agree?

We were visiting Miami last year this time and had dinner at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink based on the great press here on Chowhound. We were not disappointed — absolutely loved the place. Here now and dined there last night and tonight. Last night was good, but not as good as it was last year. But still a cut above the typical Miami fare. Tonight, we were kind of stumped as to where to go and ended up going again by default. Honestly, it was a real disappointment. First of all, the service was terrible. The panzanella salad was awesome, but the pasta I ordered was almost inedible (meat sauce and escarole mixed together — just didn't work) and I wanted some cheese and had to ask for it three times. The place just seems to have lost its magic. The menu seems unfocused and all over the place. The service last year was so earnest and caring. This year, it seems kind of loose and average. Not like the staff is loving what they do and cares about your experience. The ice creams and sorbets last night was truly lackluster. Last year, I ordered a dish with a baked onion, ground lamb and raisins. This year, it wasn't even tasty. Onion was undercooked, filling was kind of tasteless.

Michaels, I loved you and told all my NY friends to visit. This year, I have to reconsider. Hey, any other ideas out there for exciting dining in MIami. We have one more day!

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  1. Michy's. I think Michelle Bernstein is still going very strong. If you want to splurge, try Azul in the Mandarin Oriental. I am a transplanted NYer and have real issues with the dining options in South Florida - those are really the two I find most enjoyable in the Miami area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sethny

      I'm sorry that I have to agree with you on this one. I stopped off in Miami for 36hrs before heading off on a cruise and Michael's was the one place I *had* to go to based on posts from here. It saddens me to report that my experience there was nothing more than average (at best). The beef cheek I had was dry and underseasoned, the sweetbread dish was cold, the pizza only had topping on just over half the base (yes, one part of the pizza really was just the base). Fortunately, the desserts lifted the experience a little but the damage was already done by then.

      I was so disappointed that I ended up going to Hiro's Yakko-San for a late night snack that was worth the hour's drive.

      I like to think that it was just an off night when I visited, but I too will reconsider hard before going again.

    2. MGF&D has a few veteran waiters who are complete pros. However, they're not enough to service the whole restaurant, and much of the remainder of the waitstaff seems to come and go - not surprisingly, service can be inconsistent as a result. It's a problem throughout Miami for anyplace that has a staff of more than a few people but I can see how it can be a downer at MGF&D because the contrast between the veterans and the tyros is often pretty pronounced.

      As for the food, I don't find the menu unfocused at all. There are several "stalwarts" and the rest of the menu changes with the seasons as different products become available or as the kitchen starts working with new things, and to me this is one of the most rewarding things about going there. My last visit (about a week ago) I had a kingfish served in a big cast iron pan with a harissa-spiced sauce that was fantastic. It's a fish you almost never see served and it was revelatory - big, firm and steak-y, almost like a swordfish, but still completely tender and moist.

      It does seem based on comments here and elsewhere that kitchen execution has some consistency issues - though for the most part I've never experienced it and am there fairly frequently.

      Other dining ideas? Jeez, much as I like MGF&D, there's a great big world out there beyond it. Here's a partial list on this thread ->

      1 Reply
      1. re: Frodnesor

        We had a great meal at Michaels last week. Only our second time there, last time was a year ago also on vacation. It was very crowded, we sat in the room separate from the main room, and they could really stand to lose a table or two in there as the seats were all pushed back against the seats at the adjoining tables. Our waiter (Scott) was excellent, but I do remember from our first visit not being impressed with the service. He paced our meal really well and the food was great. We had the double yolk egg, potato skins with bacon aioli, octopus with gigante beans (this was the best octopus I've had in a long time), the burrata salad w/ heirloom tomatoes, also really delicious, the beef cheeks, pork belly with kimchi (the pork belly is just too fatty for me to enjoy but the meaty parts and kimchi were delicious, fettucine w/ shrimp and leeks (very heavy), and the 1/2 roasted chicken with escarole and mashed potatoes which was just average, but the kids needed a little mashed potato love. Desserts were deiicious, lemon meringue pie, banana caramel chocolate panini (HUGE!) and the chocolate cremosa which I didn't try.
        This trip we ate at Azul which we loved last year and only had an average meal this time, Pacific Time which was good and Sra Martinez which we very much enjoyed and I reported on in a different thread. So, I haven't been to Michaels enough to say if it's slipping, but we had a really great meai with very good service and it's at the top of our list to return to next year!

      2. I've only been to Michael's a handful of times and have suffered from inconsistency from our first meal which was fair (not great, not horrible, but then we all got ill). I've also had some great dishes there, usually the ones I expected to surprise me the least. Service will be an issue in Miami in most restaurants, especially one so popular, even though most DD restaurants have above average service.

        In defense of Michaels' and the poor meals I have had there - Dessert is always good. Few high caliber restaurants in Miami offer delicious and not over-tweaked desserts.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Icantread

          I also ate at Michael's recently and found it to be just as good as the first two times that I visited. That said, I do believe they have service issues. I wrote that in my personal review of the place some months ago and I still believe that to be the case. However, the food is the thing and it remains a top foodied destination here in South Florida.

          I'm always tough on New Yorkers who believe everything is better up north and if that's the case, why even bother to come down this way? I do believe that NY has phenomenal restaurants and way more of them than South Florida has due to the sheer volume of diners up that way. That said, Michael's was outstanding when they first openened, and my recent meals there seal my confidence in the establishment.

          But there are service issues there. I think the layout of the place plays into some of those issues. And hopefully the folks that run the place will see these service issues and correct them. They know how to cook. They just have to get the goods to the table in better fashion!

          Like the sign in my friend's shop says, "NY, 1250 miles north and we don't care how they do it there"


          1. re: LargeLife

            The fact of the matter is food in NYC is superior to Miami in every type of cuisine except central and south american where we rule :).

        2. Have had no problems at Michaels in my many visits. The only complaints I have with their dishes, are on occassion when you turn over your menu that often, things may not work at times. That being said, I was there last week and the duck and shortrib were as delicious as ever.

          1. We ate at Michael's for the first time our last trip to Sobe last month. The food was excellent. The service was ok but the waiter seemed to spend a lot more time at the table next to ours, explaining different things on the menu which he did not do with us. Not a big deal. The only thing that really pissed me off was having a reservation and then having to wait 35 minutes for our table when we were told no less than three times that our table was "just about ready." Will we go back? Absolutely.