the forge



last night I started the night with a champagne, sake, ginger and strawberry toast and ended it a little toasted after about half a bootle of wine and a four course dinner at The Forge. The Forge is good old fashioned Miami, the kind you can't really find anymore. It's not the oldest kind of Miami, you know, the quiant railroad town Miami, it's a temple to everything that is and ever was glamorous about Miami. It's a place where framed portraits of Nicole Richie live in a cellar where The Rock had a private party. Where the wine rivals the best collections in the world - because, why not? It's everything opulent and extravagent from a multi-ton mirror from the Napoleon era to a curtain of hand blown glass bubbles in the champagne room. 

The second oldest restaurant on Miami Beach (and perhaps all of Miami, but I will conservatively go with Miami Beach instea) second to Joe's, who was also eating dinner there last night, seated just a few feet behind me, The Forge is truly an experiental restaurant in the age of marketed experiences. 

Dinner alone was an adventure. The menu (the Miami Spice selection) was lovely and decadent, a blend of old and new just like the place itself. Everything was delicious, starting with the assorted bread basket that included a cinnamon sugar crisp, through the pea ravioli (my personal favorite bites) and the duck main served with a pillowy gnocchi. We were treated with the kind of first class service that a place like this really should have, but so many are cheaply emulating. The chef and owner came to the table to introduce themselves and speculate about what would happen when those delicious peas for the ravioli filling go out of season - don't worry, there will still be ravioli, but it will change depending on what's seasonally available. 

The real standout was the tour that our waitress suggested we asked for. I found myself laughing so much at the incredible opulence of the whole place that I apologized to the manager who was giving us the tour, lest he think I was laughing at him. Room after room after room unfolded in a maze of dizzying glam. 

Honestly, you kind of have to see it to believe it. For a special occassion, go see it. For a wild Friday night, kick it off at their $50 Veuve bottle happy hour.