Exclusive: First Tour of The Forge in Miami Beach

While we first reported that The Forge was reopening on March 29, that date has been pushed back two days to Wednesday night. The legendary eatery is relaunching with little fanfare and without a mega gala. Owner Shareef Malnik is trying to retool his party-crazy hot spot into a serious restaurant without relying on promoters, fashion shows and celebrities, all of which were hallmarks of the past Forge era (especially on Wednesday nights).

Short Order received a hard-hat tour of the revamped space on 41st Street and we were blown away. Malnik has completely changed the flow of the 42-year-old restaurant, moved bars and created a new seating scheme. Ninety percent of the restaurant has been gutted and renovated. While we weren't allowed to take pictures or notes, we can tell you that the design scheme resembles something out of Alice in Wonderland. Designer François Frossard's innovations include low-slung couches in what used to be the main dining room, a tree-trunk communal table and a back wall of bubbles outlining a sexy silhouette.

The Library, which used to be Siberia in terms of power-dining, is now a cozy room with more couches, a fireplace, eclectic books and gorgeous chandeliers. In effect, it's exactly where the Mad Hatter would host a tea party. All of the furniture has been custom-made for The Forge.

Furthermore, the bar has been moved from the back of the restaurant to the right of what used to be the main dining room. Lining the square bar is a state-of-the-art wine serving system, whereby oenophiles and newbies can sample small (and large) pours of pinot noirs and sauvignon blancs. Diners can also partake in this wine system (which features over 80 bottles) if they desire.

While new chef Dewey Losasso's menu has not been released yet, during our tour we saw the classic Forge salad being prepped, as well as a gorgeous wedge salad with bacon dressing. We tried to stick around for the entrees, but no such luck.

Overall, there's a sexy vibe to the Forge 2.0, which eschews its formerly traditional flavor for a modern spin. We can't wait until it reopens its door next Wednesday night.

The Forge
432 West 41st St., Miami Beach