Scrappy & Cypressy: Superstar Staff Meals by Tony Galleno

The evidence lay strewn before me.  Bones, picked clean save two plump, flakey morsels of rabbit leg.  Crispy brown bits scattered on the towel-lined hotel pan.  A squeeze bottle, quarter-full of red something-or-other.  A pool of cream, maybe a cabbage stick and radish slice or two left to swim with lonely raisins.  From the looks of the shrapnel, line cook Tony Galleno had done it again, and these shadows of 15 minutes prior were all fair game as I settled in with my laptop at The Cypress Room’s bar.  He had whipped up another simple, lick-your-fingers-scrumptious staff meal, and I, arriving at 4:45, scavenged what I could.  I’m sure it was every bit as delicious as it had been at the moment of service, and I implored to know more.

Tony crabs

Tony doing his clam routine, with scoopers.

Tony was cleaning clams behind the line, so I moseyed up to the pass of the open kitchen to ask a few questions before things got hairy.  After all, this seemed akin to one of those assembly line jobs I’d overheard him say he’d love to have in the land of make believe, like we all dare to dream to pretend having.  But Cypress isn’t a place for brainless activities.  Not even cleaning clams, so nimble Tony multitasked.

“My go-to formula for family meal is simple, quick, and delicious. ” he explained.  “The first step for me is I think of a cuisine.  What do I feel like eating? Then I see what I have to work with, and it comes together pretty easily.  It kind of has to.  It’s all about efficiency.  You can’t spend too much time making it since you are in the middle of prep for service. Chef would not be happy.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Explains chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia, “One of the perks of working at a high end restaurant is high end scraps.”   So for last night’s family meal extravaganza, presented on battle-scarred sheet tray, Tony began by soaking the rabbit legs in buttermilk, lemon juice, thyme, Tabasco and black pepper for two hours.  He then dredged them in a mixture of all purpose flour, salt, and paprika.  They were left to sit for 20 minutes, a very important step (“drying them out a little this way makes them fry better”) before frying at 325F for 15 (“maybe 17!”) minutes.  They’re removed from the oil, hit with some finishing salt and drained on paper towels to serve.  The hot sauce is a kicking combination of Sriracha, Tabasco, a little honey to thin it out for perfect dousing, and a touch of red wine vinegar. Any slaw will do. Shredded green cabbage, shaved radish, mayonnaise, plumped raisins and a touch of red wine vinegar.  Build your bowl and come back for seconds.  If there is anything left!

Tony is off today, but we post now in his honor, as the clock strikes 4:36, and we wonder where and what family meal is tonight.

Genuine Miami Spice 2015 | Restaurant Michael Schwartz & The Cypress Room

12017017386_d80cc98f91_o (1)

Enjoy Miami Spice care of chef Michael Schwartz whether you are beach bound or on the mainland. We all look forward to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual promotion each summer as hungry restaurant goers look to explore new restaurants or take advantage of new menus at old favorites. Here’s what’s in store from August 1 – September 30.  As usual in #Genuineland these prix fixe menus serve as examples, as offerings may change daily within the format. Tax and gratuity are not included in the prices.

The Raleigh Miami Beach
1775 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 612-1163

Choose one from each course

LAMB CARPACCIO green harissa, lemon confit, feta, mache
ROCK SHRIMP PO’BOY savoy cabbage, chili aioli, smoked-pickled spring onion
GRILLED PEACH SALAD hickory almonds, shaved jalapeno, honey-bourbon vinaigrette

CRISPY EGGPLANT SANDWICH tomato-pepper jam, parmesan aioli, arugula
GRILLED HANGER STEAK SALAD watercress, roasted and shaved beets, radishes, walnut vinaigrette
FLORIDA CIOPPINO coconut broth, chiles, cilantro, tostones, ginger-lime aioli

LEMON MERINGUE TART blackberry-tarragon compote, meringue sticks
ROASTED WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING chantilly cream, summer berries

Choose one from each course

MARINATED SUMMER SQUASH SALAD house-made ricotta, pickled sweet peppers, curry vinaigrette
GRILLED CALAMARI shishito pepper romesco, castelvetrano olives, gigande beans
CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE whole-roasted garlic, pickled vegetables, dijon, grilled crostini

PAN-ROASTED LOCAL FISH house-made kimchi, fingerling potatoes, caramelized onion broth
GRILLED SKIRT STEAK local long bean salad, cucumber, tomato, pickled fresnos, ginger-tahini vinaigrette
PAN-ROASTED HALF CHICKEN smoked calabaza, farro risotto, kale, spiced pumpkin seeds

MANGO UPSIDE DOWN CAKE sweet basil ice cream, tart cherry sauce, crème fraiche
MILK CHOCOLATE CREMOSO tangerine parfait, toasted sourdough crisp

3620 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami Design District, FL

Choose one from each course

WHITE GAZPACHO almonds, green grapes and royal red shrimp
VEGETABLE TERRINE chèvre and toast

BERKSHIRE PORK CHOP grilled leeks, bell peppers & romesco
THE CYPRESS BURGER jasper hill landaff and onion marmalade
LOCAL FISH charred vegetables and caviar beurre blanc

CHOCOLATE SOUFFLÉ sea salt and creme anglaise
SEMI FREDDO seasonal fruit and puff pastry crisps

Summer at The Cypress Room Shines in The Beverage Book

Cool off from Miami’s heat with something new and refreshing at our elegant American dining room and bar in the Design District!  Beginning today, The Beverage Book at The Cypress Room features six new cocktails from Aperitifs and Classics to Specialty Housemade. Also, for the first time the restaurant offers nightly-changing cocktail and spirits pairings for its 5-course Tasting Menu in a “Bartender’s Choice,” available for $40 additional, plus tax and gratuity.

Inspired by the classics and summer in the Magic City, TGHG Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed reimagines old school cocktails through a modern American lens.  Pouring into vintage bar books and cocktails lists from as early as 1895, Goodspeed can usually find a home for a new idea he’s had or a new ingredient he’d like to feature.

“The beverage program at The Cypress Room is unabashedly spirit driven and careful calculation goes into each drink,” says Mr. Goodspeed.  “Cypress cocktails have a depth and texture to them. They are well-mannered, but get straight to the point!”

Beginning with light and refreshing Aperitifs (11), Four Rosés blushes with Chef Schwartz’s favorite, featuring rosé wine, Lillet rosé, Dillon’s gin-based rosé liqueur, rosebud and hibiscus flower water and a lemon twist. Lonely Negroni combines Miller’s Westborne gin, Campari, Aperol, JuJube syrup, lemon and orange peel. Classics (12) add a Whiskey Sour with WhistlePig rye, Cardamaro, lemon, simple syrup, egg whites and orange bitters, and Singapore Sling shakes Fords gin, Cherry Herring, Cointreau, Benedictine, pineapple, lime, angostura and a maraschino cherry. Specialty Housemade (14) includes Brewster highlighting the final harvest of the lychee season with vodka or gin, simple syrup, lime and cilantro. And every summer needs an anthem, so for Cypress it comes in the form of Summer’s Soda, a clear-as-a-summer’s-day elixir packing a punch with Highwest Silver Rye, Dolin Blanc, lemon, and lemongrass-lavender-chamomile syrup.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 11.40.18 PM

Christian and Ryan, a meeting of the beverage minds over the TCR bar.

Cocktail and spirits pairings at The Cypress Room change nightly based on the 5-course tasting menu of the evening. Each day before dinner service our chefs review the dishes with Bartender Christian Carnevale and General Manager Amanda Su who perform some improvisational magic exercising their smarts and a little creative license for good measure.

Christian says, “The guests at The Cypress Room are looking to see what we can do. They are genuinely interested in what they’re drinking – whether it’s from a wine glass or a highball. They want to test our knowledge. These pairings give us an opportunity to converse with the Tasting Menu, show off what we can do and get creative! Our focus is on guest experience, everything is thought of beforehand, needs are anticipated and tailored to you.”

And if you were to ask Ryan, what makes a good cocktail? He’d say, “if you keep going back for more!” And we sure will, see you at The Cypress Room!  What will be your summer cocktail go-to at The Cypress Room? Follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @thecypressroom and tag us on your next visit. New summer hours offer dinner Monday through Thursday, 6-10pm and Friday and Saturday 6pm-12am. The restaurant is closed Sundays.

The Cypress Room is located at 3620 Northeast Second Avenue in Miami’s Design District. Reservations recommended by calling 305.520.5197 or emailing For more information, including current menus, please visit

All The Genuine’s a Stage with TGHG Events

It’s summer, and we’re ready to help you party. Enjoy Michael Schwartz’s restaurants for your next event. The Genuine Hospitality Group Director of Special Events Lindsay Guidos will plan it — on or off site.  She’ll even make you pretty menus (^^) and send you samples to view as you’re figuring things out!  Email her at or call 203.313.4503. James Beard Award-winning food & hospitality, customizable prix-fixe menus for all occasions, and fully-staffed experiences with decor… amazing!  You can flood your smartphone right now with beautiful captures from past events by using the hashtag #TGHGevents on Instagram.

TCR_e blast header_private dining_artichoke

Book an event with The Cypress Room by July 31 and receive a champagne toast for your party!  Our intimate dining room shines from the first glass of wine and amuse bouche to dessert, petit fours, and everything in-between. We can help craft your Cypress experience from a simple, elegant evening to a magical affair to remember.  The restaurant can accommodate seated dinner parties up to 45 guests, or reception-style up to 75 guests. The Beverage Book’s 124 wines and classic cocktails and spirits selection are at your disposal.

unnamed (11)

MG_HP_e blast tile_escabeche3Michael’s Genuine offers fresh, simple, pure food and drink at home or on the road.  The restaurant can offer festivities for up to 150 guests as a buyout or separately in its bar room (18 seated or 35 standing cocktail party), main dining room (60), or outside patio (68.)  We event have a Brunch prix fixe party menu available with the special treats we do on Sundays made for your guests!

HP_HP_e blast tileHarry’s Pizzeria is all about fun and parties are no exception.  Michael’s casual neighborhood joint seats lunch or dinner parties for 40 inside, or 20 additional outdoors.  It’s a perfect fit for happy hour gatherings, pizza parties, bachelor parties, and more!  Menu options include snacks, salads, pizza and entrées from the wood-burning oven.


Ella_private dining_footer

Tick Tock: A Day in the Life of ella


Owner Michael Schwartz and TGHG Wine Director Eric “café manager” Larkee find common ground on sangria thanks to a chef favorite, the quart container.

As you get to know ella, so are we.  In fact, a job for everyone from cashier to owner is to learn what makes her tick.  This exercise will never end and will only get more difficult as time passes.  A good restaurateur knows what works and that he or she will have to look a little harder to see what doesn’t.

In the beginning, it’s as plain as daylight to professionals like Misters Michael Schwartz, Eric Larkee, and Bradley Herron.  Issues leap at them like Stereograms from the page the moment they enter a new restaurant environment.  There are the things that are obvious, maybe even to laypeople. Tables that need to be cleared, pastries that need to be stocked, maybe the garbage can needs emptying.  These are things that make up the daily routine, the rules of the road that make the restaurant function.  Employees are given “sidework” to ensure they happen in a timely manner.  Everyone keeps busy and the place runs smoothly.

ella_Roel & Brad

Roel Alcudia, chef at The Cypress Room, talks back of house shop with Bradley.

Then there are the unknowns — the things that reveal themselves as you go through the motions of operations and herein lies the fun.  How can the café work better and how can its employees work smarter? Sometimes, support staff has a light bulb, management listens and the idea is implemented on the spot.  A suggestion is made to maximize the efficiency of table clearing and free up the food pass so guests and servers can collect their orders without interruption.  Three small potted palms later, and ella has a new bussing station outside, stage left and conveniently waiting in the wings.  Find yourself with leftover croissants, as par orders settle in?  Skip a savory bread pudding special in favor of a tuna salad sandwich on one of the most delicious vessels True Loaf bakery has to offer.  It’s about finding rhythms and knowing when to make a change and test something that could be the next new rhythm.  Yesterday a Larkee breakthrough consisted of strip-tying fish boxes for a safe wine storage rig on the back room’s aerial metro shelving.  That’s a day in the life of a new restaurant.  Here’s what ella’s looked like yesterday:

7:45am —  True Loaf’s delivery of assorted baked goods walks through the back door, including wheat bread rounds, plain and almond croissants, and cookies like oatmeal raisin, phantom, and walnut-chocolate.  Staff arrives to the front door shortly after.

8am — Kitchen manager Vanessa Nunez is at The Cypress Room’s back door picking up ella’s daily order, including Roel’s Everything Bagels.  Meanwhile, setup has begun in preparation for opening back at the café.  The barista station is fired up and pastry displays are made pretty.  “If Chef is around and we have new items and specials to write out, he’ll be the scribe,” Eric explains.  “If he isn’t around, we do our best to impersonate his handwriting!”

9am– Doors open for breakfast.  Panther Coffee Cold Brew is the most popular espresso beverage and people love their fresh-squeezed orange juice. Toasted and served with Beet-Cured Salmon, heirloom tomato, whipped cream cheese, onions and capers, Roel’s everything bagels are the current contender for most popular item sold during the café’s breakfast service from 9-11am, tied with the buttered and extra-virgin olive oil drizzled (triple fat, the Michael Schwartz method!) Avocado Toast on True Loaf wheat.  These two items are also available on the menu throughout the day.  The most popular breakfast-only item is the Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, egg and white cheddar on a toasted Bay’s English muffin.  It’s perfect but only available during the two hour morning window.  Yesterday Bradley sold two at 11:09am, so there are exceptions.

ella_Chicken10:30am: The lunch transition begins.  Sometime between now and 10:50, Roel will hand deliver beautiful rotisserie chickens from The Cypress Room. Brad ordered 12 half chickens for Wednesday.

11am: Lunch begins and people order said chickens. They get a treatment of hemp seed pesto which is super fragrant and delicious.  A tasty, satisfying lunch with a side of bitter greens like frisée and radicchio. Yum yum.  This is a bright time of day for the restaurant, which is bathed in easterly sunshine until about 2pm.


Ella at the ella pass with Tristan, shift leader.

1pm: The first sangria of the day should be ordered by this time and was thanks to Mademoiselles Fowler and Torres.  Take one for the team, ladies!  The current flavor is lychee-cucumber and the ratios are fool-proof, until Chef’s Sharpie directions smudge off their quart container due to use, which may also signal it’s time for the next flavor.  I hear blood orange Dry Soda will figure somehow into that mix which makes me happy.

1:30-3pm: ella is in the heart of her lunch rush, the busiest period of the day. The sun has begun to recede behind our building, and cooling shadows begin their afternoon march to the east through Palm Court.

Bradley and Eric, a 4:15 break and recap. Something about if we need to order a third cup size.

Bradley and Eric, a 4:15 break for reflection. Something about if we need to order a third cup size.

4pm: The terrace has cooled off quite dramatically and a cool breeze flows through our patio.  Larkee wants to pop open a bottle of rosé.  Conversely, Bradley says going into the Pack Rat at this time — the storage pod in our back lot affectionately referred to as the Rat Pack by the staff — is akin to baking in a sauna warmed by the western sun.  That’s ok because you’ve done your Pack Rat foraging in the morning for this very reason, and it’s time to start getting ready for the next day, communicating with vendors and The Cypress Room to place orders.

The 5pm chill,

The 5pm chill,

6pm:  The team begins winding down, doing pre-closing things like keeping things organized and stocking up for the next day.

7pm: Close for the day and lock-up.

What will today bring to the café?  A blue masa taco delivery from Taquiza, perhaps?  We shall see!