The revamped Forge restaurant finally debuts tonight. While the hype has been building all winter, the Forge faithful can finally experience chef Dewey LoSasso's new menu, over 70 wines by the glass and Francois Frossard's modern design scheme. Suffice it to say, this is not your parents' (or grandparents') Forge.
Short Order was at a tasting on Saturday night. This preview dinner was low-key and straightforward. Friends and family of owner Shareef Malnik were given the opportunity to sample the menu, quaff wines from the state-of-the-art pour-by-the-glass wine system and soak in the elegant atmosphere. By our accounts, it was a major success.
We nibbled on many of LoSasso's innovative dishes, such as the smoked salmon croquettes, chicken liver crostini, fig and white bean dim sum and bone-in 18-ounce filet mignon. Yes, the classic Forge specialties remain on the menu, like the chopped salad, giant U2 Shrimp cocktail and oak-grilled "Super Steak." But now there are whole sections devoted to Snacks, Starters and Pastas, Grains & Risotto.
Dishes that caught our interest spanned lobster, peanut butter and jelly sandwich; quinoa pancake stack with fig marmalade; grilled shrimp waffle with wasabi caviar; grilled and chilled calamari salad with lime; three mushroom risotto; kale and spaghetti with slivered garlic and poached egg; spice rubbed duck with sangria sauce and warm grits; and grilled wild salmon with basil mashed potatoes. On the side are buttered fava beans with wasabi caviar; baked ploenta with crispy kale; braised endive with oranges and Gorgonzola; and duck home fries.
The desserts are even more quirky and sublime. However, we couldn't resist The Forge's classic Grand Marnier soufflé, which we've been eating for 17 years. It was still heavenly.
Tonight, there will be no fanfare as the classic eatery swings open its impressive doors and morphs into an upscale foodie spot and wine bar. Despite the fact that there is not a launch party scheduled, The Forge is booked solid this evening. And we assume for many weeks to come.
432 West 41st St., Miami Beach