Forging Ahead

Our friends went the beef route, one ordering the grilled prime rib (18 ounces at $19.95; 24 ounces at $24.95) and the other the aforementioned "Hobo Steak" ($25.95). While I am of the school that says a steak is a steak is a steak - if it's a good cut and cooked carefully, it doesn't benefit further from any exotic seasonings, sauces, or special cooking methods - the Forge proves me wrong. Beef here is marinated in a variety of herbs, seasonings, and balsamic vinegar, and the combination of marinated meat and an oak-fire nuance does add distinctive, complementary flavor.

Our carnivorous visitors so enjoyed their entrees that they didn't save ample room for the Grand Marnier souffles they chose for dessert. The same was true for my dining companion and me with our individual chocolate souffles, which were as warm, runny, and rich as they are supposed to be, but we were so full that we lost the strength to raise our spoons to our mouths.

The Forge is back, Miami. Risen from the ashes like an opulent phoenix, it's back, it's fat, and it's sassy, and as grand as ever. A little belated, perhaps, but we'll raise a New Year's toast to that. Another bottle of Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 1968, please.

And put it on the other guy's tab.

THE FORGE
4432 41st St, Miami Beach; 538-8533. Hours: Daily from 5:00 p.m. to midnight.

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