What’s in the Walk In? Great White Winter Predators.

Golden Tilefish at Trigger Seafood.

Golden Tilefish resting pretty at George Figueroa’s Trigger Seafood.

“Striped bass, trout, and stuff like that. Scallops… That’s the ocean I come from,” Fi’lia chef de cuisine Tim Piazza begins.  “When I was working at (Michael’s) Genuine, I began figuring out what South Florida has to offer as far as local sustainable fish. Golden tilefish is one we really look forward to.”

Coming from New York, Tim had to learn the seasons, the ingredients, all over again, and same goes for the sea as it does for land.  With grouper out until summer, the arrival of swimmers at the top of the food chain is the perfect trigger for the kitchen to revisit fish dishes on the menu.  Changing the set up is always on the table, but so is a switch more subtle yet maybe even more significant. Tim turned up the volume on one of my favorite dishes simply swapping snapper for golden tile.

“You get something a lot cleaner, with a little more firmness and structure to the fish. Which means a higher fat content, so the bite is a little more luxurious,” he explains. “I had to wrap my head around it but it’s just a constant thing and part of the process for our kitchen, menu development. It’s just about getting smarter as a cook down here. You flip the script like 100%.”

Talk to fishmonger George Figueroa of Trigger Seafood, Michael’s good friend and dispatch of what’s running since Genuine’s early days, and he’ll yarn a tail as only his dying breed can, one that makes the fish leap from the plate with context essential to the understanding – and therefore ultimate enjoyment – of the ingredient.

“Right now the season opened on the golden tile and the long liners are out off Florida’s north Atlantic coast, even at Pulley’s Ridge about 140 to 160 miles northwest of Key West in the Gulf,” he explains. “It’s where these guys like to be, deep in the trenches. That’s why they have this angled head, to bury in the sand.”

#whatsinthewalkin

#whatsinthewalkin

NOAA’s commercial season began on as appropriate day as any, January 1. Midnight on New Year’s Day the boats George works with went out from Port Canaveral. We received our first delivery last week. Deep sea fisherman like these are the real deal. They’re allowed a 4-5,000 pound haul per boat trip, each lasting about eight, sometimes 10 days. This is serious fishing, with in some cases five miles of hooks gleaning specimens of 20 to even 60 pounds from downwards of 1,000 feet. In keeping with regulation, the boats must be at least 200 miles from nearest land mass. This is a better fishery than close to shore, and where you can find the queens (snapper,) snowy groupers, wreckfish… basically all the stuff that keeps things interesting and cooks on their toes amidst schools of mutton, yellowtail and mangrove snappers. People will be fishing golden tile hook and line for the rest of the year, after the long liners finish their allotment.

Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink chef de cuisine Saul Ramos will receive 200 pounds this afternoon from Wild Ocean Seafood and, not unlike a whole pig, he’ll work through every inch, using the bones for a fish fume with lemongrass, the cheek on the grill with scallion, ginger and lemon, the fillet into the wood oven or pan seared. The scraps will go into ceviche at the raw bar, and the collar will be served crispy on the outside with fatty flakes of juicy white flesh in the nooks.

“These big fish are more fun. Carrying it, you feel the weight, and from the moment the knife cuts into the flesh,” he says. “One of the things I love about golden tile is that it has a subtle flavor of lobster and crab.  Cooked perfectly, you really get a nice flavor of shellfish.”

Saul explains that when breaking down these big guys, you need to know where to enter and be precise, following the cuts to get the most yield.  He uses three knives — a fillet knife, which is more fragile and has two different blades for a cleaner cut.  Then there’s the chef’s knife to get at the bones. A pairing knife goes around tighter places like the neck.

Chef Saul and Sous Randy showing off their mutton snappers from George a couple days ago.

Sous Randy (left) and Chef Saul (right) showing off their mutton snappers from George a couple days ago. Today we will trade peach for speckled golden.

Because of the challenges of this fishery, especially how long the fish are out of the water compared to shallow dayboat catch, George is careful who he works with despite what would seem to be a task only for the most seasoned, simpatico professionals.

Size and quality are top priority. First, you’ll want to put the fish into a chill brine, which is basically what it sounds like – a slushy mix of salt water and ice which really drops the temperature quick – and then on ice. And you must bring to shore as quickly as possible, not camp out for more yield when it compromises the catch.

“You have to stick to your guns, when some customers want fish that just isn’t available from sources you trust,” he reflects. “That’s how my business started. I can only work on small scale, because you’ll get old fish, and it’s going to hurt. I don’t want to get any bigger. You have to be willing to say it’s not available. Everyone wants the fish, but there’s only so much and we can’t just be like everyone else. When grouper season closed it was like disbelief. It’s like take it off your damn menu already! Take what’s available, the best product. Be flexible.”

Valentine’s at Cypress: Love is in the Tavern for Dinner & Brunch

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Follow up Valentine’s Day dinner by toasting a special weekend brunch.

No need to coax the team at Cypress Tavern to show the love, especially on the most romantic night of the year. These intimacy professionals will set the mood for a flawless experience with a few more special somethings for your special someone for Valentine’s Day 2017.

Prix Fixe Dinner – Enjoy 3 courses including a choice of appetizers, entrées and desserts created especially for the romantic evening on Tuesday, February 14 by chef de cuisine Max Makowski.  $89 per person plus tax and gratuity includes a half bottle of Champagne for each couple, with available truffle supplement to any dish for $15. The complete a la carte dinner menu will also be available. The restaurant opens a little earlier to accommodate all kinds of love birds beginning at 5:30.

The color of love is Bloody Mary.

The color of love is Bloody Mary.

All the Brunch Feelings – Because there’s always more love to go around, each guest dining on Valentine’s Day will feel it with an invitation to return for Weekend Brunch and receive their first bloody or mimosa complimentary on Saturday, February 18 or Sunday, February 19.

To reserve a table, email reservations@cypresstavern.com or call 305.520.5197. Cypress Tavern is located at 3620 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33137.  $5 Design District Valet is available, as well as street parking in the city lot in between 37th and 38th street. Menus and more information are available at cypresstavern.com.

Cypress Tavern’s cozy American Grill and Cocktail Bar offers a warm, welcoming and festive experience in a room like no other, perfect for sharing an intimate meal over candle light on a special occasion like Valentine’s Day.  James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz and Chef de Cuisine Max Makowski of Cypress Tavern bring top notch service, as well as a menu built around seasonal ingredients and a wood grill and rotisserie.

 

The Genuine Hospitality Group Job Fair | Winter 2017 Edition

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It’s that time again!  We are excited to announce our winter job fair, which will take place THIS coming Tuesday, January 17 at our corporate headquarters in the Miami Design District.

We are laser focused on growing the company with great people, and regular job fairs are a perfect way for representatives from each restaurant to meet with potential candidates.  It’s all about finding the right fit.

We are looking for dependable, reliable, passionate and professional staff members with great attitudes and personalities to join the team! If you are committed to delivering an exceptional dining experience and enjoy working in a dynamic environment, apply in person with your resume.

The fair will recruit for all front and back of house positions including restaurant manager, bartender, host/hostess, barista, pizza cook, line cook, sous chef, server, and busser. The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants include Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Cypress Tavern (American Grill & Cocktail Bar), ella (light and airy café), and Harry’s Pizzeria® (neighborhood American pizzeria).  Join team Michael Schwartz!

Questions? Email careers@thegenuinehospitalitygroup.com.

Shop & Eat Genuinely for Wellness in the Schools on Tuesday, January 10

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It’s a New Year’s Resolution that’s easy to get behind.  Shop at Miami-area Whole Foods Markets and dine at any of Michael’s Miami restaurants on Tuesday, January 10 to help kids eat better in South Florida Schools.

As we shared in October, Michael is the South Florida ambassador for Wellness in the Schools (WITS), a non profit dedicated to improving school lunch and educating kids about healthy eating.

As it enters South Florida for the first time this school year, the program is expanding upon a relationship with Whole Foods Market that began in New York City in order to generate awareness, further galvanize the community in support of this incredible cause, and raise essential funds to support its in-school work.

To that end, Whole Foods Market has committed to donate 5% of net day’s sales on Tuesday, January 10 from all six Miami stores (Pinecrest, Coral Gables, Downtown Miami, South Beach, North Miami, Aventura) to Wellness in the Schools. And we’re proud to share that Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, ella, Cypress Tavern, Harry’s Pizzeria® and Fi’lia at SLS Brickell will be doing the same!  Also on this 5% Day, Michael will be teaching a bean themed WITS Cooking Lab at the Coral Gables location, making vegetarian chili with students from Liberty City Elementary.

Fun times and good eating for all.  Every bite counts.  Let’s do this!  For more information, visit wellnessintheschools.org

chili-bean-brochure-winter2016

Caviar Makes Everything Better, Like New Year’s Eve at Cypress Tavern

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ct-nye-supp-card-2017We may have mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating.  There’s something about New Year’s Eve that brings out our taste for luxury and Cypress Tavern will play this out as only it can.  Celebrate 2017 (and say bu-bye to 2016!) with a long, luxurious finish in a half bottle per couple of Jeeper Champagne, Grand Assemblage (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) when you choose the restaurant’s 3-course prix fixe New Year’s Eve menu.  Design your experience by choosing an appetizer, entrée and dessert from our a la carte dinner menu for $89 per person plus tax and gratuity, including the bubbly beginning.  A supplemental menu of a luxury items will enhance the meal.  Choose from among stone crabs, truffles and caviar with the option of full caviar service.  Chef de cuisine Max Makowski’s complete a la carte dinner menu will also be available, including Large Plates for two, with some special dishes added for the evening.  Get your fancy on ASAP.  Book now by emailing reservations@cypresstavern.com or calling 305.520.5197.

Caviar makes everything better.

Caviar makes everything better.