Your First Taste of Michael’s SLS Brickell Restaurant, at Cypress Tavern.

SLS Hotel Brickell Splash

How does a chef develop a concept? Eating and cooking a lot of food.

We are proud to announce A Taste of Brickell at Cypress on Wednesday, June 22, an evening celebrating a first taste of what’s on Michael’s plate as he prepares to open a new restaurant at SLS Brickell early this fall.  Tickets are now live HERE!

Join us at Chef’s American Grill & Cocktail bar for a 4-course prix fixe dinner with wine pairing. Ticketed reservations ($89 plus tax and gratuity) are available for purchase exclusively here, with seatings throughout the evening beginning at 6:30pm. Your experience begins with an amuse and welcome toast.

The SLS Brickell Hotel is now accepting reservations for October 3 and beyond. At the center of it all – the newest addition to the SLS brand, takes its standards of style, luxury and service to transform Miami’s skyline. A feast for the senses. A creative cocktail of sophistication and playfulness. A hotel with elements of creativity and community, SLS Brickell will be an irresistible retreat in the city’s center. Featuring 124 rooms, including 450 residential suites, world-class décor, unforgettable dining and nightlife experiences, exclusive access to the sbe Collection and global concierge—this unprecedented destination and ownership opportunity can be yours soon in Fall 2016.

We can’t wait to share more on the concept soon, and welcome you! Staycation anyone?  See you for the first of many memorable dinners inspired by the newest addition to The Genuine Hospitality Group family.

Bernardo Fort-Brescia: Architect, Tangerine Farmer, Tavern Tastemaker

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If there is one person who has their finger on the pulse of this city, this magic, ever-changing city, it is an architect. Better yet, a founding principal of Arquitectonica, the international architecture and urban planning firm founded in 1977 in one of the least developed, original villages in this parts – Coconut Grove.  It has grown to over 500 employees in 11 offices worldwide since then, and Bernardo Fort-Brescia’s awards and accolades have kept rolling in.  Still, he will be the first one to tell you that it is with each new project he faces that his career is rebuilt, just as each new project changes the face of that city.

As our final Tavern Tastemaker, it was fitting that Bernardo was full of surprises. It wasn’t until after their lunch of various fruits de mer that we learned Bernardo knows a thing or two about fruits himself. He is a tangerine farmer in South America and as we discussed the ways that the United States prefers perfectly shaped fruit while Europe prefers blemished, we sipped on the “Sunshine State.” Named for its main squeeze, the sumo tangerine, and rosemary cordial, with sake and Plymouth Gin.   “I like this cocktail because you feel the fruit, but also the pure,” Bernardo added.

We hope you have enjoyed these brunches and lunches with Ocean Drive Magazine Editor in Chief Jared Shapiro, and each of our Tavern Tastemakers. Just as Bernardo’s projects shape his career and a cityscape, we like to think our cocktail hours are an opportunity for people to come together with friends and family for a taste of the tavern and maybe the start of something special. One thing is certain, there is a place at our table for artists, producers, chefs, models, architects, television stars, and you.

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[Chef at Home] Schwartz’s Summer Grilling Tips & Recipes for the Grate Outdoors

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, America’s backyard grill masters are looking ways to impress their guests with their favorite go-to meals off the grill.  This summer, Michael is teaming up with Lynx Grills to bring you his essential grilling tips and recipes, many of which can be found in MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat (Clarkson Potter.)


“Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook,” says Chef. “You’re only as good as your ingredients and in this case, it’s a great grill!”

Here we offer his cookbook’s cover recipe, Grilled Skirt Steak with shaved fennel, orange, and green olive tapenade (pgs. 93-94.)  During the summer, steak and potatoes won’t always cut it.  This main course salad is hearty without being heavy and contains all of the elements of a balanced meal—meat, starch, and vegetables. Grilled beef, crisp fennel, chewy fregola, and bright oranges are finished with a drizzle of briny green olive tapenade in this Mediterranean-inspired skirt steak salad.   It’s colorful, light and refreshing, everything you want to see on our plate during these long, hot days.

“Varying texture and temperature play a powerful role in the makeup of this dish, adding a whole other dimension,” Michael explains. “I’m a believer that opposites do attract; hot and cold—the grilled meaty steak and the cool crunchy salad— play off each other.”

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Some other ideas from Chef before hitting the grates?  Give meat an extra layer of flavor by tossing damp woody herbs like thyme and rosemary directly onto the fire; this will lend a distinctive earthy essence (Thyme-smoked Four-Inch Porterhouse Steak (pgs.168-169)  Fish love the grill, too.  Salmon steaks are the perfect cut of fish for grilling as they are shaped sort of like a horseshoe and have the bone left in the center. They’re really thick and meaty, and don’t stick to the grill like fillets, which makes them ideal for grilling. Grilled Wild Salmon Steak with fennel hash and sweet onion sauce (pgs. 132-133)  Mark your salad! Try to buy your lettuce in whole heads and grill it to impart a great flavor and texture to salads. Make sure you cut thick enough on the vein so it holds together. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and season, then use tongs to mark each size of your “steaks”. It’s usually less expensive and fresher than bagged lettuce and you can choose the kinds you’d like, from radicchio to romaine. Dress as you like. I shave big slices of Pecorino on mine.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Shaved Fennel, Orange, and Green Olive Tapenade

Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 as a starter

4 8-ounce skirt steaks
2 tablespoons chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fregola
½ large red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 fennel bulb, top removed, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
8 radishes, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
½ pound arugula
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 navel oranges, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
½ cup Green Olive Tapenade (recipe follows)

Ingredient Note: fregola
Fregola, sometimes called Italian couscous, is a terrific addition to your pantry. It’s much more interesting than regular pasta and has a unique texture. The pasta dough is rubbed by hand to form little pellets, which are then toasted to give a distinctive nutty flavor. If hard pressed, you can use Israeli couscous, but there really is no substitute for fregola. It is worth getting your hands on. It also makes great risotto.

Lay the skirt steak flat on a baking sheet and season evenly on both sides with the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside so the flavors can sink in a bit.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rapid boil over medium-high heat. Add the fregola and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the pasta for 15 minutes until the pellets are al dente. Drain and cool.

Preheat an outdoor grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat. Rub the grill with oil to prevent sticking. Grill the onion slices for 2 minutes, turning often, until charred on both sides. Remove them from the grill and set aside.

Lay the steaks on the grill and cook, turning with tongs from time to time, to sear well on all sides; this takes about 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 2 or 3 minutes to allow the juices to recirculate.
In the meantime, make the salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fregola, grilled onion, fennel, radishes, arugula, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the salad among 4 or 6 plates. Arrange 4 or 5 slices of orange on top of each plate. Cut each skirt steak into 3 equal pieces, then turn each piece sideways and cut into thin slices against the grain, ensuring tenderness. Shingle the sliced meat on top of the salad. Spoon some of the tapenade on top and serve immediately.

Green Olive Tapenade

Makes about 1 cup

2 cups pitted green olives, such as Picholine
4 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times. Scrape down the sides of the processor and pulse 2 more times; the tapenade should be coarsely chopped. It will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Michael Cooks at Osteria to Celebrate 10 Years of Brotherly Love

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Study the few restaurant success stories in our business, and the reasons for staying power may not immediately be clear.  Why a concept resonates, and how it stays relevant, is even harder to understand when so many fail with so much working to ensure the opposite outcome.

Vetri, popping at Harry's in 2012.

Vetri, always working. He was the 3rd (of now 33) guests of Harry’s Chef Pop Up Series, visiting in February 2012 – before there was a Pizzeria Vetri!

In Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink’s story, one I’ll venture has a lot in common with Philadelphia’s Osteria, success can be defined by a zone in which we are challenged daily to hover, vibrating like an atom, staying true to original vision while innovating just enough to stay one click ahead.  Without the microscope, this molecule is fresh, simple, pure equilibrium.  With the right lens, things are – must be – in constant motion.  Everything is fair game, under review.  Responding to shifts in the environment, proactively evolving.   But not too much!

Next month, when Michael travels to Philadelphia for the annual Great Chefs Event, Marc Vetri’s flagship culinary philanthropy event to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the work of his Vetri Foundation, there’s another reason to celebrate — a brotherhood.  It’s coming up on the 10th anniversary of the James Beard Award winning chef and restaurateur’s Osteria, which, like Michael’s flagship, he opened in 2007 in a not-yet-neighborhood that was to become one.  Over 10 months, the restaurant is welcoming 10 simpactico guest chefs for a dinner series celebrating this milestone occasion, and Michael is the second to cook (Marco Canora kicked things off in May.) The format offers guests an opportunity to savor what the restaurant does best with James Beard Award winner Jeff Michaud at the helm, with a culinary love letter from the guest chef — one dish from each, per course.  Marc and Jeff have done multiple dinners at The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants; Jeff for his cookbook launch at Michael’s Genuine in 2014, and the two have taken over Harry’s Pizzeria® for its Chef Pop Up Series in the years prior.  It’s about time Michael does his part for the first time!  Make your reservation ASAP while you still can, at 215-763-0920.


In 2014 for Jeff’s Eating Italy cookbook dinner at MGFD.

The second restaurant to join the Philadelphia Vetri Family fold, Osteria, as its name would imply, draws its inspiration from traditional osterias found in Northern Italy, and is the realization of a dream Vetri Family partners Jeff Benjamin and Chefs Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud had while standing amongst the grapes of the Ca’Marcanda vineyards in Tuscany.  Since opening in 2007, Osteria has become one of the country’s most critically acclaimed Italian restaurants, receiving a 3-out-of-4 bell review from the Philadelphia Inquirer, and earning Chef Michaud the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” for his work helming the kitchen.

Jeff popping at Harry's in 2013, pre-cookbook.

Jeff popping at Harry’s in 2013, pre-cookbook.

Convivial and inviting, Osteria’s heart is its open main kitchen from which its award-winning menu of antipasti, homemade pastas, house-cured salumi, authentic Neapolitan and Roman-style pizzas, wood-grilled meats, seafood and decadent desserts are crafted. Signature dishes include Chicken Liver Rigatoni with cippolini onions and sage; the Lombarda Pizze with baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella and cotechino sausage; and the House-Aged Rib-eye “Fiorentina” for two. And like all Vetri Family restaurants, complementing this menu is a fine selection of wine, handcrafted cocktails and craft beer.

Can’t make it to Philly? Follow our travels and watch the dinner unfold at #Osteria101010.


A Cinco de Mayo Victory | More Tacos & Refreshments at Michael’s Genuine & Ella Pop!

Cinco Tacos

We always appreciate new ways to use Taquiza’s blue masa tortillas, so fresh and tasty.

Salud!  As you hop, skip and toast your way around town tomorrow, you are commemorating the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  But what you are really doing is recognizing and giving thanks for the perpetuity of two Mexican exports — tacos and tequila!  Two of our restaurants in the Design District have a little something special to put a kick in your step and keep the party going, true to form.


Veggies for life.

General Manager Sandra Pepin adds some festive touches to ella’s menu and look, as she always does in good taste and spirit! Two special tacos include roasted pork with grilled pineapple & picked red onions and shrimp with red cabbage slaw, cilantro, and cotija cheese.  Ella will also run its taco in residencia, the veggie, with cabbage, spread of delicioso black beans and avocado topped with pickled red onion.  Tacos are available two per order or a sampler of one of each at a great price. There will also be a fixins station with lots of limes, shaved radishes and cilantro as toppings; a couple of different hot sauces as well! To drink, ella’s sangria of the day will be cilantro-lime, and TGHG beverage manager Amanda Fraga is bringing in some ice cold Tecate, as is the fashionable choice for Mexican beer in a can.

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Rugged and ready to assist.

At Michael’s Genuine, head bartender Craig Welsh has a new Tequila cocktail on the list, joining Magenta Jimador (Avion Silver Tequila, Liqueur di Camomilla, blood orange, lime, egg white) today through the weekend.  Meet the Mexican Mule (pictured) with Ocho Blanco, hibiscus-ginger syrup, citrus, and ginger beer.

To your health!

Battle of Puebla (via Wikipedia) celebrated country-wide with parades, food, music, folkloric dancing.

Battle of Puebla (via Wikipedia) celebrated country-wide with parades, food, music, folkloric dancing.