So yeah, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve been eating a LOT in sunny, beautiful, gorgeous Miami. The fancier of the places we’ve been to is restaurateur Shareef Malnik’s The Forge.
Yeah, I know, it looks like you’re walking into a palace. It kinda feels like that too. The grandiose exterior matches the opulent interior.
They seated us at a long table with the largest plush leather chair at the head of the table (that we gave to the birthday girl, Shahla!). The waiters came around and put our handkerchiefs on our lap for us and served us drinks immediately. We were then handed the fanciest mother-of-pearl menus I’ve ever seen:
Usually, I don’t talk too much about the starter bread baskets (they’re mostly all the same), but this one is definitely worth mentioning. The bread rolls were soft and warm the outside and gooey and tender on the inside. They could have been a meal in itself. It also had thinner crispy bread sticks with melted asiago cheese. Delish.
And soon we began a barrage of orders:
And those were just the appetizers. Our waiter made absolutely no fuss about some of us wanting to have a few appetizers instead of one plate as a meal and gave us honest recommendations about portion sizes which I thought was pretty cool. I would have expected a little more of a pretentious atmosphere but they were so accommodating and patient. My favorite was probably the crab cake, though they were all really tasty. But the appetizer they’re really known for is the Lobster, Peanut butter & Jelly sandwich…I know, it sounds all sorts of crazy:
It has crunchy peanuts and tasted like the peanut sauce in Thai dishes. To be honest, you can probably taste more of the peanut butter than anything else. I also wasn’t expecting it to be a cold sandwich, but it’s worth trying.
I think I really appreciated the interesting mix of flavors and textures. More than that, you can taste so much of what they put in each dish. I ordered the Bell & Evans Chicken, only after deciding I didn’t have quite enough room for the steak I really wanted to try. It comes with a homestead tomato salad (I’m not big on tomatoes, but my friend Sana took them off my hands and said they were the best she’s had), purple potatoes, and lemon confit. It’s a huge plate, so I had to share, but every bite was as good as the first one.
The Three Mushroom Risotto was another one of my favorite dishes. It’s made with two ingredients I die for: mushrooms (obvi…roasted shiitake, portabello and porcini) and truffle oil. It’s a very very flavorful but heavy dish. I think it can almost be overwhelming as just a dish on it’s own, so I would split it with a meat dish if you could. It’s so worth ordering if you go though! A pretty elegant pick of a restaurant — couldn’t have expected anything less from our equally elegant host, Shals :).
432 41st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33140-3504