Schwartz Readies His Beachside Manor Announcing New Restaurant at COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach

The back porch at lobby and restaurant level.

COMO, estás. Today Michael is excited to announce a partnership with COMO Hotels and Resorts to open a new restaurant at COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach later this year in the Traymore Restaurant and Gin Bar space at 2445 Collins Ave. In addition to rolling out new breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch menus, The Genuine Hospitality Group will oversee food and beverage throughout the property including in-room dining service. We have already begun to immerse ourselves in this beautiful new environment and are inspired to be back on Miami Beach where the spirit and soul is layered and strong. Opening is planned in time for the 2018-19 season.

“For us, it’s always about more than the food. But the food is really important!” Michael explains.  “We feel a kinship with what the COMO brand represents.  There is a commitment to both personalized service and reflecting the location of the property and its history in the space.  It’s about a holistic approach to creating a thoughtful experience for guests.”

As restaurant people, we are driven by the opportunity to create and feed off this energy, whether it’s an experience inside one of our existing spaces or developing a new one.  Despite the many projects that come across our desks, there are few that make sense to pursue — the right mix of timing, inspiration and resources, and of course how it impacts our people and the growth of the business at large.

COMO Metropolitan’s terrace, fronting a boardwalk the runs north between beach and the backyards of the buildings down Collins Ave (here facing south)

Name and concept will be announced soon, with an approach grounded in food you can feel good about eating, natural and balanced with global influences. Michael will collaborate with longtime partners at award-winning design firm Meyer Davis Studio – designers of Amara at Paraiso and the forthcoming restaurant at Park Grove – to refresh the space, celebrating its art deco past and the integrity of existing design elements.

The view from the pool (behind) back to the hotel (facing west).

COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach is a 74-room hotel occupying an original 1930s building located in the heart of the city’s famous art deco district. The hotel has direct access to the beach and a private swimming pool, two restaurants, and a COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa. Located on Collins Avenue and 24th Street, the views stretch across the Atlantic to the east or the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, flooding rooms with Miami Beach sunshine. Interiors are by the Italian designer Paola Navone, who preserved the hotel’s art deco heritage and contrasted it with an urbane, contemporary spirit in shades of peppermint green and dusky grey with surfaces of cool white marble and shining chrome. Traymore, the hotel’s headline restaurant, offers fine Floridian seafood and the signature Traymore Bar showcases over 30 artisanal gins. The COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa features four treatment rooms and a rooftop hydrotherapy pool.

The COMO Group, headquartered in Singapore, represents Christina Ong’s unique vision of contemporary living. The Group encompasses the hospitality collection, COMO Hotels and Resorts, which offers personalised luxury travel experiences through individualised service, a commitment to holistic wellness, and award-winning cuisine. Each hotel is developed in response to the destination it inhabits. The Group also includes the international luxury fashion retailer Club 21, the award-winning wellness concept COMO Shambhala, and the philanthropic COMO Foundation. Get a glimpse of their beautiful destinations and follow along for the adventures on Instagram @comohotels.

Three New Ways to Focaccia at Harry’s Pizzeria®… Genuine Sandwiches!

Mark your calendars, Miami!  After rolling out at Genuine Pizza® Aventura and Atlanta, three new sandwiches are closing in on the tender, freshly-baked focaccia at a Harry’s Pizzeria location near you.  You’re going to need both hands!

Chicken Pesto, Fresh & Roasted Veggie and Meatball launch next Tuesday, July 24 for $12 each in Downtown Dadeland, and the following Tuesday, July 31 Coconut Grove and Miami Design District.  Along with the new Sandwiches section, more new menu items include two new tasty pies, Italian Sausage and Four Cheese & SpinachBaby Spinach Salad with tomato, walnuts, roasted red peppers, egg and bacon tossed in a creamy feta dressing, and Red Pepper Cheese Dip, a beer-worthy snack to spread on toasty focaccia soldiers.

Visit the Harry’s Pizzeria’s Instagram to watch how the Sausage Pizza and Meatball Sandwich are made, featuring super delicious, high quality pork and beef you can feel good about eating from Niman Ranch (rasied with care!)

 

Plant Based? Plant Yourself at Genuine Pizza™ and Harry’s Pizzeria® with New Vegan Mozzarella Cheese

For Chef Schwartz quality is king and so are happy guests.  With 93% of people in American eating pizza at least once a month, and many with dietary restrictions, it is important our restaurant menus make guests feel at home — just like our dining rooms.  Now Genuine Pizza and Harry’s Pizzeria are more vegan-friendly than ever, thanks to the introduction this week of vegan mozzarella “cheese” that can be added to any pizza. The choice was popular brand Daiya, an industry leader in plant-based products and also serious about quality, to provide us with their premium Mozzarella Style Shreds.

Schwartz says, “Making our pizza restaurants more welcoming to more people is a win and something like vegan cheese is a big deal to a lot of folks.  We’re mindful of that. We’re also excited about how well the mozzarella-style melts.”

The margherita and “cheese” pizzas can be made vegan — adding caponata to either makes for a tasty combination. In addition to the vegan options on the pizza menu, we make a number of colorful salads with satisfying grains and beans, and a roasted eggplant entrée that can also be made vegan.

“Plant-based is no longer a fringe movement—it is now mainstream,” says Michael Lynch, Daiya’s vice president of marketing. “Today’s consumers have an appetite for foods that not only taste great, but are also better for themselves as well as the planet.”

We added a gluten free dough last year and the response has been great, not just accounting for a 4% slice of pizza sales, but especially to how good Wild Flour’s crust eats.  Whether you suffer from allergies, are dairy-intolerant, living vegan or simply choosing a healthier lifestyle you can still enjoy a better pizza. We leave the choice in your hands!

Chef Ravi Kapur Has One Serious Poke Face

Ravi Kapur has strong feelings about poke. As he should.

“In Hawaii it’s kind of… Well, it’s really a treat,” Ravi explains. “It’s not this mass-consumed, everyday thing necessarily, because really poke should be pretty expensive if you’re using high quality fish. For me growing up, it’s a celebratory thing.”

At now 3 year-old Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco, this Oahu-born chef not only takes inspiration from his Hawaiian-Chinese-Indian roots, he takes them quite seriously.   Right off the bat this was pretty clear, even as we stole just few minutes in between phone tag on Wednesday.  There’s a sense of responsibility that informs his approach.  I have neither been to Hawaii nor eaten in his restaurant, but I have read Kapur is a chef-owner known for his cool, collected demeanor in the kitchen.  Schwartz had a great meal there. I get the feeling this attitude is an expression of the strength of his intention, to cook with principle and represent his culture correctly and with confidence.

Fresh fish, the best fish. From @liholihoyachtclub’s Instagram.

This means something to Kapur, that he stand for something and that his expression is one true to his identity as a Hawaiian.  We can relate to this — MS also stands for something, and akin to that.  It’s about quality and doing it right, or not at all.  This is in part why I began our conversation with poke. To poke a nerve.  With the relentless stream of DIY, paint-by-numbers, flavor-of-the-moment poke shops UberEatsing on my Miami doorstep, it’s also hard to ignore.

“The most important element for me is that the fish is extremely fresh and you let that flavor shine without covering it up with too many seasonings,” he continues. “The traditional version would not have soy sauce.  It would be Hawaiian salt, and sweet onion, and inamona or ground kukui nut.

From there he explains it can be embellished, which is fine, with a measured hand, as with most things. Seaweed, sure.  Still no seasoning though. You take this highly perishable product and then need to mask it when it’s inferior.  Often, when it’s about preserving meat or fish, something common all over the world to extend a product’s lifespan — typically out of necessity — it can be quite good.  But it’s transformed.  It’s no longer the thing it was.  For true poke, if you are using good quality there’s just no way it even can be mass produced — which is basically the benchmark for what my exposure has been to date, fast casual-style.  It becomes more about what you are putting on it, than what it is.

“I popped in one day to one of these places, because I’m interested in how they operate, how it flows,” Ravi explains.  “I understand the model, how this came to exist, but I’ll never do it because it’s in direct conflict to what I believe poke is.  I can’t wrap my head around culturally appropriating things for profit.  You won’t find sesame oil in traditional poke. I use some, but for me it’s always going to be all about the fish.”

The fish is Ahi traditionally, but now you can find all types, like Striped Marlin and large bill fish. It’s more sustainable too.  Ravi admits he just got back from Maui, and even there, there is a range of quality. Previously frozen… unknown origins at the supermarket. The place he goes to now, Kaohu store, will run you about $17, 18, 19  a pound.

“To me I taste the difference,” he adds.  “And you can see the fish.  It’s undressed.”

I don’t know about you, but I need my own #alohafloorselfie moment.

Ravi won’t know what species will greet him when he walks into Michael’s Genuine® on Thursday February 22, but he knows it will be fresh and that will produce the best first course on the plate whether it’s Cobia, Golden Tile or Little Tuny.  And there’s pork too, another ingredient that connects our food cultures.

“Absolutely. It’s pretty much pork all the time,” Ravi says.  “In the late 1800s, ranching formed a big part of the economy but beef is more expensive.  Pork is for everyone and it can be great and flavorful – it just depends on the pig and who’s raising it.  I’m doing something off the shoulder.  I like roasting those cuts and still having a little bite to it, so you can taste the meat. Some accents, of course, like chili honey rub for a little sweetness and spice.  I don’t think I told anybody, but I’m also bringing something else with me.”

We’re not giving that one away.  You, co-guest chef Derek Damman and hosts Michael and Tim will just have to squirm.  Now isn’t that cause for celebration? And some poke!  Find out for yourself.  For tickets and menu, visit sobefest.org/michaels.

Amara at Paraiso, Miami’s Quintessential Waterfront Restaurant, Opens Thursday, January 11

The time has come to welcome our newest restaurant into the world. Amara at Paraiso opens Thursday, January 11 in Miami’s East Edgewater neighborhood. Located directly on Biscayne Bay in the Paraiso District—the latest master plan development by The Related Group—Amara at Paraiso brings together all the elements of the quintessential Miami waterfront dining experience from environment to cuisine to vibe. The bayside enclave has inspired Schwartz and the team led by Executive Chef Michael Paley to cultivate a menu influenced by the bold flavors of Latin America, coastal ingredients, and the diversity that underpins the city’s cultural identity. The restaurant opens with dinner service, with Sunday Brunch following shortly after. Make a reservation here.

“The dynamic energy, local ingredients, and natural beauty that define why we live and visit here are what Amara at Paraiso is all about.  It couldn’t exist anywhere else,” says Schwartz. “This restaurant is in the unique position to bring it all together.  It’s our love letter to Miami and why we are proud to call it home.”

 

Highlighting the open kitchen’s wood grill and Josper charcoal oven, the vibrant menu celebrates clean-eating food and cooking techniques centered around the flame.  Dinner is divided into Snacks, Small, Medium, and Large plates, Vegetables/Sides, and “From the Wood Grill” dishes that are paired appropriately from amongst six complementary and signature Amara Mother Sauces.

Snacks include Grilled Flatbread with chimichurri, fried oregano and lemon; hand-formed Empanadas with Short Rib with olive, raisin and chimichurri, baked in a flakey lard crust; and Corn and Leek with roasted poblano, mozzarella and smoked paprika aioli, fried in a yuca crust. Dish highlights include Banana Leaf Wrapped Cobia with mashed yuca, pickled vegetables, coconut chutney, and grilled lime; Grilled Beef Short Rib with shaved cabbage, Marcona almonds, grilled peppers, and sour orange; and the Amara Feijoada, a beautifully composed spread built around a cazuela filled with layers of specially cooked-ingredients tied together on a bed of deep red, savory Domingo Rojo beans from heirloom purveyor Rancho Grande. Sides include Long Cooked Broad Beans with breadcrumbs and basil.

The beverage program by Assistant General Manager Maria Pottage mirrors Amara at Paraiso’s menu, inspired by Latin American ingredients, artisanal producers of spirits and winemakers, and Miami’s lively melting pot. Cocktails are served on-tap, as single servings or punch bowls, bottled, and shaken or stirred. Calm Before The Coconut recalls a sense of tropical place with Diplomatico Planas rum, Velvet Falernum coconut crème, coconut water, pineapple, lime, salt, and nutmeg, served in a chilled coconut.  Pisco Cafecito is bottled and combines Barsol Quebranta pisco, Don Ciccio Nocino, Luxardo Angioletto, cold brew and chocolate bitters.  La Fresa is served in a coupe, with fresh, local strawberries infused in Plantation 3 Stars rum, ginger, lime and a strawberry garnish. Sommelier Amanda Fraga’s wine program highlights selections from North and South America, with iconic favorites from Europe to round out the list.

Designed as a key part of the Related’s Paraiso District to complement the resort-style living for the soon-to-be residents of the Paraiso development, the restaurant occupies the ground floor of the free-standing Paraiso Beach Club and will soon be flanked by Paraiso Park and boat slips.  Amara at Paraiso is ideally located  just two blocks east of Biscayne Boulevard, offering the public unimpeded access to its entrance with street and valet parking.

The 4,500-square-foot, indoor-outdoor space designed by Meyer Davis Studio, with direct input from the Related and Schwartz teams, celebrates the tropical, bayside environment as an effortless design element to unify the natural beauty of the restaurant’s surroundings. The restaurant includes main dining room and bar seating for 150, with floor to ceiling windows offering dramatic Biscayne Bay views, as well as deck seating for 70 on the water.  Its stunning location and versatile menu make Amara at Paraiso an ideal venue for private dining and events. The approach is warm and inviting, drawing the outside in with white washed paneling, natural woods, and graphic concrete tiles. Detailing is open, honest and relaxed with exposed trusses, and an open double-height steel stair.

Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33137.  The restaurant will be open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 6:00 to 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday 6:00pm to 12:00am, and Sunday 6:00pm to 10:00pm.  For reservations visit amaraatparaiso.com, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or call 305-702-5528.  Amara is available for private parties and events; for groups larger than 12 guests email lindsay@michaelschwartzevents.com. For more information including menus, please visit amaraatparaiso.com and follow @amaraatparaiso on social media (where there are lots of Instagram Stories to catch up on!)