One thing a foodie like myself loves is recommendations! I adore people saying to me, “you gotta try out this place” with conviction that their suggestion is the be all end all to my food research. It’s great! The most recent of my recommendations while in Florida lead me to Michael’s.
Location in “little Haiti” or the Design District of Miami, this dress casual yet contemporary restaurant adds to the flavor in Atlas Plaza. Opened back in 2007 James Beard Award winning-chef/owner Michael Schwartz brought a daily changing menu with fresh ingredients to this up and coming location. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Michael and it was lovely.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (MGFD) is the 1st of two locations. The second location is in the Cayman Islands. Both restaurants are apart of The Genuine Hospitality Group of chef/owner Michael Schwartz. The group includes a total of seven restaurants, two of which are aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise lines (150 Central Park). To add to the line of restaurants, Michael’s also has their own Home Brew that carries a light bodied American ale.
Opened from 11am to 3pm for lunch, I stopped in and had comfortable seat at the bar while getting a sneak peak of pasty chef Hedy Goldsmith involved in a staff meeting. The calm yet upbeat jazz music makes the perfect background and filler adding to the ambiance. Serving lunch, dinner, brunch, and happy hour guests can feel free to stop by three times a day during the week knowing their choices aren’t meager.
The lunch menu is broken into appetizers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, sides, and main entrees. Prices between $6 and $39 (that’s for a 12oz. wood roasted Harris Ranch N.Y. Strip) make it possible for guest visiting able to try a couple options. For my appetizer I had the Crispy Hominy (coarsely ground corn) with chili and lime. I was impressed with the special of the day, the Pan-Seared Jerk Grouper Sandwich, so I ordered it. This sandwich contained spear caught black grouper fish with avocado, mango salsa, mixed watercress greens, and lemon vinegar dressing. Do you see why I feel in love? For dessert I tried the Chocolate Cremoso and I washed all this down with a special from the bartender Brittney.
This was going to be a magical moment.
My drink contained passion fruit seeds and tasted wonderful. If I didn’t have to drive I would have gotten another.
Another “special” the restaurant does is with Double Crossed-Vodka. Everyday bartenders make a new cocktail with it. That’s been consistent for the past 5 years.
The hominy was comforting. I could see myself eating some while watching TV, a great mouth-popping snack. Definitely like crunchy popcorn.
Next up was the meal of the day, the Pan-Seared Jerk Grouper Sandwich. Talk about “wow”. I’ve never had jerked fish before, and I see I’d been missing out. So juicy! The spice was there, perfect with the mango salsa! I do love mango salsa. Using the lemon vinegar on the greens was a good choice rather than predictable balsamic. My only issue with the sandwich was that my fish was trying to escape its fate. It slid out of my bun mid bite, causing me to get a bit messy and required me man-handling it back into place. It was worth every moment!
Now, to seal the deal on my experience at MGFD was the Chocolate Cremoso, which was recommended by Brittney and Andrea (a member of the team). This little number was so exciting to me. Not only was it a mix of flavors (sea salt, olive oil, sourdough crostini, and espresso parfait) but the presentation was beautiful. Turns out Chef Michael actually made this dessert for me himself from how the food was displayed said a staff member. AWESOME!
The Cremoso was yummy. It reminded me of a dessert I would experience in Europe brought to me via U.S.A. The salt and the chocolate had a great chemistry meanwhile the oil was soaking into the crostini and powdered sugar. Heaven. I could have eaten that all day long.
Other perks of this restaurant is the gallery room used for events, private dining and art shows. Want to take the chefs home with you? Well you can’t do that, but you can get their cookbooks for either $27.50 or $35.
As far as parking is concerned there are meters but I went with valet. You can valet starting at $3 for a few hours. That’s cheaper than ANY valet I know of in the north.
Until we meet next time MGFD – and that WILL be on my next trip – I bid the adieu!
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink