Favorite Restaurants for Art Basel Miami Beach 2015: Miami Beach
By Terry Zarikian in Azure Azure
A few feet away from the Metropolitan by COMO is a The Continental, a fabulously kitsch eatery by big time Philadelphian restaurateur Steven Starr. The décor screams mid-century modern dining, and it is so inviting it’s hard just to eat and go. The menu—based on his original concept created 20 years ago—offers eclectic but familiar international dishes that can be shared or not. A “wow” dish is the Cheesesteak (a Philly specialty), Egg roll (this is the “ eclectic” part), served with cherry peppers, American cheese and an excellent sweet and spicy sriracha ketchup. Other menu offerings span from an American Backyard Burger, a Cuban Vaca Frita, to Puerto Rican-style Crispy Pork and Korean Fried Chicken with a spicy soy-garlic lacquer and pickles.
Ever since I can remember, during in my early visits to Miami from Venezuela—back in the 1960s—the one place that stands the test of time is the always-reliable The Forge Restaurant & Bar on 41st Street in Miami Beach. The original—a sophisticated restaurant & casino that opened in the 1930s—became a watering hole in the 1950th for the famous and infamous like Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Arthurs Godfrey and Martha Ray. In 1968, international financier Alvin Malnik acquired The Forge, spending a couple of years transforming it into an opulent restaurant showcasing his vast collection of art and antiques. Celebrities kept pouring in as fast as awards, both from the culinary and wine world. The Wine Spectator named The Forge as #1 Steak in America and recognizes its wine list with their highest honor, the Grand Award and Best of Award of Excellence. Today, the accolades continue and food and wine has been updated as well as décor, thanks to Shareef Malnik, Alvin’s charismatic entrepreneur son. All meats, perfectly dry-aged can be accessorized with any of the Forge’s signature spice blends as well as compatible toppings like Seared Foie Gras & Black Truffle (Rossini), Garden Vegetable Chimichurri, Creamed Caramelized Onion with Blue Cheese, or may favorite Alaskan King Crab “Oscar”. Creativity doesn’t stop there. Yellowfin Tuna is prepared Wellington style, an original 19th-century beef tenderloin recipe encased with mushroom duxelles with foie gras, then wrapped in buttery puff pastry. Additional perks: Over 80 wines can be found by the glass, and Veuve Clicquot Champagne is specially priced at almost cost on certain nights.
At Pubbelly, Berkshire Pork Cheeks with Pumpkin Pie Gnudi and pepita brown butter are a culinary triumph, and for those not faint at heart, Veal Brains Meuniere with Blue Crab tartar sauce are a revelation. But don’t be scared if my favorites are out of the ordinary delights, the Pastrami & Sauerkraut dumplings and the Bay Scallops “Bourguignon” with garlic shiso butter can make up for any odd but worth venturing dishes from a menu that offers over 60 items that merit your undivided attention.