Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Eve at Forge, SOBE

Christmas Eve, 2008.

432 W 41st St
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 538-8533

After manning the helm the entire trip, D took the wheel and had our concierge Josh (loves) make us reservations at the Miami Wednesday night hot spot Forge. Let these facts inform your reading of this post:

1) Forge is both a restaurant and a nightclub. All tables in the bar were reserved for bottle service when we got there at EIGHT o'clock.

2) Mickey Rourke was there with an entourage. He is short. As I walked past, his eyes met my cleavage. Lucky for him, they were pretty much eye-to-eye.

3) Forge's other branch of supper club is a hot spot in....wait for it....DUBAI!!!!

Anyhow, we had dumb fun.

The interior is rococo deluxe from the front door all the way through many chambers and antechambers to the very back rooms.

Forge had previously been Phillip Dino's blacksmith forgery, turning out decorative gates and fences for Miami elite such as the Vanderbilts and the Firestones in the 1920's. In the 30's he turned it into a popular dining, dancing and gambling venue. It eventually fell into disrepair, and in 1968 Alvin Malnik, a local attorney with links to mafioso Myer Lansky, bought the space and did a million dollar makeover that includes a sconce from Napoleon's boudoir. You know the kind of place I'm talkin' 'bout.

Initially, when we checked in we were escorted to the back room. A very back room. Illicit things happened in this back room at some point. Murder, extortion, bribery, kidnapping, poker. So secretive even people with secrets were not let in on these secrets. That's how secret. Too secret for me. Nobody puts Lizzie in a corner. So we asked to move.

On the second attempt we were seated in the wine room, near the bar. We were informed that people might be dancing very near our table later in the evening. That's a laugh. That's a laugh because service was so fast I barely had a chance to chew my food. Later in the evening. HA! We were served our bill 15 minutes after we ordered.

I kid, I kid. (Kinda). Truly, Forge is stunning.

We were assisted in our wine choice by our sommelier. He was not good at his job. Maybe they have so many wines he doesn't really know all of them, but he deftly guided us to one at the top end of our price range, stating it was well worth the price and it was not. It was not worth half the price on my first day drinking after a month of sobriety. This experience inspired us to search for wine apps on our iPhones. I chose one called Wine Snob. It allows me to record vintage, provenance, vineyard, etc etc, as well as a photo of the label.

While starting our martinis and watching the wine breathe (yes, they served our wine as we started our martinis, which was OK because this wine really needed breathing) they served us our stone crabs and oysters. Delicious. Every bite. And the claws were thoughtfully and carefully well cracked.

As the staff cleared the shells, the waiter stood in the wings with our starter. He was literally standing there with my starter and set it down as the plate with the shells was removed. I was not halfway done with my martini.

However, this tuna tartare was delicious. It was served with a mango salsa and a reduced balsamic glaze. The flavor combinations were intense and wonderful. One of the best tartares I have had.

And because one fascinating experience is not best had once but best repeated, as they cleared our appetizer plates they served out entree. Literally, cleared with one hand while serving with the other. I was close to being done with my martini.

For entrees we both had a filet mignon. Nothing fancy or interesting but definitely good and cooked perfectly. Both had fried onions topping. Good steak.

And for a side we shared one dish of grilled asparagus. Nicely done.

By the time they cleared our entree dishes we had each just finished one small glass of wine and had more than half a bottle of wine to finish. I wish the check out line in Target was this efficient.

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