The Forge Miami Spice is Magical
Walk into Miami Beach’s historically-famous haunt, The Forge, and it’s like time-warping into a fairytale. Inspired by the “Mad Hatter” from Alice and Wonderland, its subdued, classic architecture opens up into a purple-lit, eclectic and extravagant restaurant and wine bar that very much resembles the inside of a 1920’s mansion. Once an actual forge, now it’s home to long wooden tables, plush, throne-like chairs, strands of crystals hanging from the ceiling, whimsical chandeliers — the main one being from the Paris Opera House — a fanciful library, light fixtures straight from the Kennedy-era White House, and the same sconces that once hung on the wall of Napoleon Bonaparte’s bedroom.
In a place as magical as this, anything can happen; so it’s fitting that the wine bar has a state-of-the-art, enomatic wine machine and that mesmerizing musicians mystically entertain guests from hidden openings in the restaurant’s central wall. Complimenting the ambiance, The Forge’s world-renowned food and wine menu has kept its tables filled with A-listers, celebrities and popular entrepreneurs since the early 1900s — and don’t even get me started on the wine cellar. (But really, get me started on the wine cellar.)
Speaking of magical, I had the chance to try the restaurant’s Miami Spice menu and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. To kick-off the evening right, we started with a round of cocktails, an assortment of warm, home-baked breads and herbed butter, and a bottle of Chardonnay handpicked by Gino Sommelier at The Forge, who’s overseen the restaurant’s wine cellar for 40+ years now. Next on the menu were the Miami Spice appetizers: a light, lemony-Kale salad with dried currants and pine nuts; in-house cold smoked salmon; and, the winner of the night, the flavorful Jamaican jerk bacon with tropical salsa. The bacon’s plump, juicy texture perfectly complemented the cool, citrus taste of the Florida-inspired salsa, while the jerk seasoning added a spicy punch that rounded out the dish in a truly global way.
As the night went on, so did the courses. Our entrée options included the pasta orecchiette with spicy sausage and broccoli rabe, Mediterranean dorade with green olive tapenade, and my personal favorite, the petit filet mignon with BBQ beef jus. Perfect for summer, the BBQ-tinged marinade as an ideal fit for the filet’s buttery, easy-to-cut texture — creating a rich flavor profile just right for its plain, but satisfying crispy fingerling potato and asparagus sides.
And though the chocolate lava cake with blackberry sauce, coconut streusel and mango sorbet or the toasted pecan tart with banana bread could easily have been the grand (delicious) finale, the night didn’t end with dessert. Before we left, the General Manager, Miki, and our new friend Gino gave us an in-depth tour of The Forge and wine cellar like we’ve never seen before. Taking us through the locale’s hidden rooms of millions of dollars worth of wine — all locked away and divided by region, grape and age — it gradually made sense why this haunt is easily one of the top choices, in both quality and value, for Miami Spice 2015. Dining at The Forge isn’t just about a meal, it’s an experience; one with glitz, glam, elegance, mouthwatering cuisine, unbeatable service and all the delectable wine you could ever desire.