Monday, September 9, 2013

Vacation Adventures at The Forge

We spend a lot of time in New York, but when we do get a chance to get away, we don't change our habits much. Good food, good wine, and always looking for something new. When we end up at the resort hotels in Miami's South Beach, we find a bit of a mixed bag. With a handful of excellent restaurants under one roof, we have options, but over the course of a long vacation, we can get bored of the same few choices.

Thankfully, hidden behind a non-nondescript storefront on a quiet retail street not far from Collins Avenue, there is a wonderful option. The Forge is an historic fixture of Miami, a steakhouse from the earliest days of the Miami resort scene. After a major renovation in 2010, it has re-invented itself as a high quality farm-to-table restaurant with a unique menu for the area. Thankfully, through all the changes it has maintained its world class wine menu. Taking advantage of the renovation, they even made the wine more approachable, with an amazing Enomatic system dispensing a wide range of self-served wines by the glass.

We enjoyed a winter menu without the bone-chilling cold of our home city. The winter dishes meant we could pick some bold red wines. A beet salad with Gorgonzola and  pumpkin seeds worked well with a fruity Merlot. The fruit notes of the Bordeaux were unexpectedly well balanced against the popular crab claw dish, as the mustard sauce brought a spice that pulled out the sweet fruit of the wine the match the sweetness of the crab flesh. The main courses were big and bold, and needed to be paired with bigger, more aggressive wines. A venison steak piled with smoked mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, and juniper berries was suited to a big, fruity Californian Zinfandel.

The Forge was a great change of pace. The hotel restaurants are great, and convenient. But for us, a menu that never changes from year to year can grow wearisome, so to find a great restaurant with a focus on seasonal ingredients is just what we need to make a vacation that much more special.

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