September 16th, 2017
432 W 41st St
Miami Beach 33140
I hate when longtime favorite restaurants repeatedly disappoint.
Whether simply dining in, celebrating special occasions in their wine cellar, dancing the night away at their next door reinvented nightclub du jour, or attending special dinners (such as the Caymus & Wakefield ones and for SOBEWFF), I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited in the last two decades. For me, The Forge was always a class act with deep Miami Beach roots, offering exceptional service and food.
Several years ago, after a night of too many changes (dinner felt like a South Beach club with music at unbearable decibels, and even a bathroom attendant addition-you know, since dining can be so strenuous one might need assistance touching up and washing hands), I decided to take an extended break.
I finally returned to check out the Miami Spice menu and attempt to reconcile with this former love.
What I tried:
HIT: Although I’m still very much against their ban on offering a corkage fee for outside bottles, I loved finding Inglenook’s Cask offered at $105: not a bargain, but not too terrible of a markup. In addition, the cocktail list offered some fun drink options and outstanding by-the-glass options.
Service. Except for a sommelier incident, the staff worked in unison to serve and professionally tend to our table.
The Parmesan Truffle Fries. Granted, I’ve never met any I haven’t liked, but I couldn’t stay away from these thin and crispy sinful ones.
MISS: Everything else.
When the waiter said “the sommelier will be over to open your bottle,” he really meant another waiter would open it. The way our bottle leaked and our glasses were constantly overly topped, there’s no way he was a “somm.” I remember when the sommelier at The Forge wore a suit adorned with pins based on certification and a tastevin around his neck. But hey, guess which DJ is spinning tonight?
The food quality and options left a lot to be desired. Chocolate Lava Cake? Are we still on that train?
The steaks ($10 supplement for each 12oz Strip), while I admit quite photogenic, lacked any substantial flavor. At The Forge? How is that possible?
When told our steaks came alone, we ordered the fries as a side. Does it look like the steak was actually plated alone?
The famed Lava Cake lacked any flowing “lava,” a dormant volcano. When picked up by the waiter virtually untouched, he quipped “Yes, must be a Miami Spice thing,” after I inquired about the passé menu addition.
Which leads me to the following, why even participate if you aren’t willing to go all in and let that menu showcase your restaurant in the best light? Just to fill seats during a less-than-busy season? What about repeat customers? Isn’t it equally important to make the best impression and allure those same diners back the rest of the year? This is why I continuously rave about restaurants like Bourbon Steak and Pied a Terre; offering a Miami Spice menu has never changed who they are; it’s just an extension of their top-notch existence.
I don’t like being hard on any restaurant, especially icons such as The Forge, but it kills me to see such blatant disregard for excellence. Color me not impressed, again, as I dive into another long heartbreaking hiatus.