A whole spice-rubbed duck all but burst with juicy flavor, and shallot-spotted sangria sauce on the side only enhanced the pleasure — so luscious that even extremely disappointing accompaniments couldn't quite sabotage it. Alongside the bird were supposed to be "warm grits and grilled apple." The latter was half of a thin, dried slice sporting dark black grill marks. The grits were overpowered by unadvertised cheddar cheese and coagulated into a solid mass.

Local mutton snapper stood out as the most tantalizing of the half-dozen seafood offerings. Prepared papillote-style, it is presented in a steamy plastic bag and scissored open at the table. Although slightly overcooked, the fish flaunted a deeply herbed aroma and sweet crown of roasted peppers. Alongside, a gooseneck of assertively smoky tomato sauce contained two peeled white grapes and a filleted white anchovy. Other selections from the sea are Maine lobster, crab/lobster salad, fish du jour, grilled salmon, and black-and-white sesame-crusted tuna.

The Forge's Enomatic wine-by-the-glass system consists of ten self-service machines that allow customers to purchase one-, three-, or five-ounce pours from a choice of 80 bottles from the restaurant's vaunted cellar collection. Information about each wine can be gleaned via a touchscreen, and if you still can't decide, I assume you can just call over a holographic sommelier.

Double-cut lamb chops
Double-cut lamb chops

Location Info

Map

The Forge Restaurant/Wine Bar

432 Arthur Godfrey Road
Miami Beach, FL 33140

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Mid/North Beach

Details

View our Forge Restaurant/Winebar slide show.

432 Arthur Godfrey Rd., Miami Beach; 305-538-8533; theforge.com. Dinner Sunday through Thursday 6 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Malnik has always provided strong service, and the veritable army of staff here gets the job done well. Yet on one visit, things were sloppy, from the table not getting wiped between courses to our being presented, with some fanfare, a bottle of wine we didn't order.

Desserts are designed by Malka Espinel, who for years excelled as Johnny Vinczencz's pastry chef. We loved a tart of creamy lemon curd with a mild fennel infusion paired with toasted almond gelato and fresh biscotti. On the other end of the scale, there's a Fluffernutter dessert — which arguably makes the Forge the only posh restaurant in the world where one can both begin and end a meal with a course based on the peanut butter sandwich.

We skipped the 'nutter but not the fluff by sampling a s'more soufflé that arrived sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs; the waiter then poked a hole in the center and spooned in marshmallow sauce. The deep, high-quality chocolate taste delighted, but the center was overbaked. This dessert is a blend of something old (soufflé), something new (marshmallow sauce poured in), something borrowed (concept of s'more), and something blue (how we felt upon discovering the lack of moistness). The restaurant likewise features some things old, new, borrowed (a couple of tricks from North One 10), and — well — let's say still shaky on execution. Yet there is no denying the Forge is back, and it matters once again.

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