#thisisMGFD: Short Rib Croquettes | Roasted Vegetable Salad | Pan Roasted Snapper

 

As our new menu settles in, we’ll be highlighting dishes on the blog a few at a time as we taste through them all, with menu descriptions provided by the chefs so you can get to know them, too.  Here are some highlights from last night’s first Dinner service:

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Short Rib Croquettes with smoked paprika aioli — These tasty three-bite nuggets are made with an ingredient common to the Miami table: yucca.  I like to think of this as a take on what one might find at Palacio de Los Jugos (a known palace of inspiration for Chef!) where they’re sprinkled with pork bits.  Here, the tuber is boiled and mixed into a batter with flour and egg, filled and balled with slow cooked short rib and all the good flavor-making stuff — mirepoix, white wine, tomato, orange, cumin and oregano — fried until brown and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and nestled in a pool of smoked paprika aioli.  This sauce is a keeper, and you can whisk it up with egg yolk, lemon juice, and a slow steady stream of olive oil.  The creamy condiment is transformed into a vivid shade of orange with the intoxicating addition of smoked paprika.

img_0146Roasted Vegetables with seeds & grains, tahini, cilantro — So not all of us may be in agreement that this is a salad, but we are definitely on the same page that it’s a flavor-packed winner. Share it with a friend as a starter or make a satisfying meal of a bowl including red quinoa, bulgar wheat, wild rice, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and toasted, spiced pumpkin seeds tossed with roasted heirloom carrots, cauliflower and petals of caramelized onions.  Sitting atop a cushion of tahini and topped with fresh picked cilantro, this one’s gonna call you back.

Pan Roasted Snapper with clams, bacon, green onion, green sauce  Umami bursts from the plate here in perfect balance. A 6oz filet of snapper (or what’s light and flakey and running locally, like tilefish perhaps) is pan roasted skin side down until crispy.  That’s important for contrast.  Braised in the pan with butter, thyme and garlic, it’s served on a bed of grilled scallions and a pool of green sauce.  It’s just heaven, combining clam juice, garlic, thyme, white wine, spinach, parsley, tarragon, and basil all puréed and mounted with butter.  Good lord is it lick-your-plate-clean good.  Adding crisp chunks of house smoked bacon and a few steamed clams in their shell to guild the lily, this is sure to be a keeper.

Follow #thisisMGFD on Instagram as we continue to tour the news.

Welcoming New Menus & Chef de Cuisine Saul Ramos at MGFD

Welcome Saul

MGFD’s new CDC in our favorite spot.

At 10 Years, there’s just so much more Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink to taste with a new chef de cuisine, Saul Ramos, to helm the kitchen.  On Tuesday, September 13, the next chapter in Michael’s Miami Design District flagship unfolds in menu format and content changes most notably at anchor services — first Dinner on Tuesday evening, then Lunch and Afternoon on Wednesday, with Brunch following on Sunday.

“When this little restaurant was still an idea back in 2006, we dreamed of cooking and serving food that would bring people together and make them happy,” Schwartz explains. “This is what drives us, the end goal. How we get there — to the root of what it means to be MGFD — changes, inspires us, and keeps us on our toes.”

Banh mi packed with shrimp paste and fried into a crispy crostini, with customary julienne pickled carrot and picked herbs.

Banh mi packed with shrimp paste and fried into a crispy crostini, with customary julienne pickled carrot and picked herbs.

Leek and Potato Crostada

Crostada as seen on @chefmschwartz’s instagram, with flakey, golden crust nailed to perfection by Pastry Chef MJ Garcia.

Our new Dinner menu begins in a familiar place with eight Snacks, where zesty newcomers like shrimp toast “banh mi” (9), sprouted lentil fritters with yogurt & watercress (8), and short rib croquettes with smoked paprika aioli (9) meet go-tos like classic deviled eggs (8), thick cut potato chips with pan fried onion dip (8) and crispy hominy with chile & lime (7).  Working the way down on Dinner, dishes are listed by size from small to large, starting with Salads, Vegetables, Pizza & Pasta, Fish and Meat, offering a variety of sizes and preparations within each section.

“Daily changes highlighting seasonal ingredients have always dictated our menu, but we wanted to facilitate guest engagement with it and call out things important to us like Vegetables and Salads,” explains Schwartz. “With Saul leading the back of house, we’re connecting with what we love about this place: making great food, cultivating talent and creativity in the kitchen, and exciting our guests in the dining room like they expect.”

Click for the new dinner menu (subject to change of course!)

Click for the new dinner menu (subject to change of course!)

Because Salads occupy an important place at the Schwartz table, there are five including Fennel & Celery Root with mint, arugula, almonds and pecorino (11), Gem Lettuce with pickled vegetables & tuna sauce (11), and Bitter Greens with apple, walnuts and blue cheese. The long time staple highlighting what’s fresh and in season, Stracciatella will continue to draw from ingredients on restaurant’s iconic food bar wall accented with basil, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. Vegetables include six dishes, from a three bite Leek & Potato Crostada with mozzarella & roasted garlic (9), to savory and satisfying Beluga Lentils with curried calabaza & pumpkin seeds (11). A current favorite, Wood Oven Roasted Eggplant, holds court with chickpeas, preserved meyer lemon, tahini, cilantro and freshly-made, piping hot pita from the hearth (10).

Always willing and able to make eggplant the star it truly is.

Always willing and able to make eggplant the star it truly is.

Ramos, who joined Michael’s Genuine earlier this year as Sous Chef, worked closely with Chef and The Genuine Hospitality Group Executive Chef Bradley Herron to hone the dishes.  Born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, from the very beginning Saul was the product of cultures at a crossroads, like the city he currently calls home. His sisters would say that when Saul was little, he would always talk about wanting to be a chef when he grew up. It’s not hard to imagine, since he was surrounded by inspiration in the Ramos household of his youth, filled with delicious aromas of his mother and grandmother cooking (always cooking!) Of all the meals shared at home with family, the one that sticks with Saul the most is Thanksgiving. The turkey was the star of course, but there was whole fish too, and an abundant spread of vegetables, side dishes, and sweets that the whole family participated in cooking. After all, his family immigrated to the U.S. 40 years ago, while some of his mom’s side still reside in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

Saul entered restaurant life at 13 when his elder sister Berenice pulled him out of school. He was distracted in school, and she was dating a restaurateur at the time. So that’s where Saul’s story in the kitchen began, like the many others like it — thrown to the wolves at 14 to figure it out. He’ll talk about his mentor David Blonsky, and his importance to the arc of his career, but in the beginning it was all about steak. Lots of them, and he learned how to cook them perfectly on the line of a steakhouse in Chicago, by not overthinking it. He also loves making pasta, from the technique for mixing and sheeting dough, to shapes and the best ways to sauce them, especially noodles with a good Bolognese. After opening Siena Tavern in Chicago in 2013 under the guidance of chefs Fabio Viviani and Kevin Abshire, he moved to South Florida without a plan, which is sometimes the only way to have one.

And Pizza & Pasta have always been a part of the Genuine experience to look forward to, so now is no exception with two dishes each: Calabaza Agnolotti with house smoked bacon, cipollini, piave vecchio and thyme (18), Bucatini with roasted mushrooms, garlic, parsley, parmigiano and black truffle (18), Shiitake Mushroom Pizza with roasted leeks & fontina (18), and Braised Lamb Pizza with harissa, manchego, charred scallion and cilantro (19.)

Fish incorporates the Raw Bar’s oysters selection with a crudo and ceviche, adding tender, decadent Alaskan King Crab with green sambal (23). What’s local and running in Florida waters continues to form the foundation of dishes like Pan Roasted Tilefish with clams, bacon, green onion and green sauce (25), Wood Oven Roasted Grouper with red chermoula, fennel, tomato and olives (24) and of course the Wood Oven Roasted Whole Snapper with castelvetrano olives, calabrian chiles, parsley and grilled lemon (PA).

TGHG chef assistant Megan Hess holding it down with Saul in the kitchen.

TGHG chef assistant Megan Hess holding it down with Saul in the kitchen.

Comprised of eight dishes, Meat showcases the kitchen’s love of building layers of flavor, beginning with Stuffed Cabbage (12) where pork and beef are braised with spices. Posole Rojo (14) is dialed in with a rich broth and juicy pork belly, topped with a fried egg. Crispy Lamb Neck with chickpeas, cucumber, yogurt, dill and preserved lemon (16) and Braised Rabbit with saffron, apricot, green olive, cous cous and mint (19) hit an exotic note. The Genuine Burger is back, optimized with house smoked bacon and cheddar, lettuce, tomato, brioche bun and fries (21). Bigger dishes bookending the section include familiar, high quality proteins that drive flavor like Poulet Rouge Chicken, pan roasted and served with bitter greens & mustard sauce (22.) Slow Roasted & Grilled Short Rib gets the Vietnamese treatment with nuoc cham, bean sprouts, crispy shallot and peanuts (23.) Show-stopping 32oz Wood Oven Roasted Porterhouse with sour orange-onion marmalade (79) was chosen as a luxurious cut matched by rich, deep flavor.

Saul’s style is dynamic; he likes having fun in the kitchen, challenging himself to identify areas for improvement and innovation, and then research and find a solution. He believes in leadership that empowers his people and jumps at the opportunity to get down and dirty with the team in the trenches. “Understanding where this restaurant comes from, like sourcing its product, is key to embracing new ideas and the evolution to come. It’s all about dialing in the new menu now.  Then there’s season.”

 

Michael Schwartz is Now Hiring Our Next Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Chef de Cuisine!

It has always been one of our goals to hire and groom young talent, and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has always the beneficiary of the new ideas and energy that come along with that.  Michael is now looking for the next leader to step up and take the reigns of his flagship kitchen, as chef de cuisine Niven Patel moves on to pursue his own restaurant.  What an incredible three plus years he has shared with us.  From his commitment to local sourcing – a passion so strong he grows his own ingredients – to his gentle command of the kitchen, Niven has shined brightly as Bradley Herron did before him, helping this seminal restaurant evolve and innovate while always staying true to Michael’s vision.  The launching pad for young talent is primed.

MICHAEL IS NOW HIRING  for this key position, looking for a leader driven by integrity and respect for his fresh, simple, and pure approach, who can build on and strengthen this established legacy as the restaurant heads into its milestone 10th year of business.

Requirements:
– A minimum of 5 years of kitchen management experience
– A minimum of 2 years of experience as chef de cuisine or executive chef
– Highly organized and fiscally responsible
– Strong leadership and management skills, empowering the success and growth of subordinates
– Passionate about sourcing of product and its utilization in the kitchen; understands creativity is about common sense as much as it is about talent
– Clear communicator
– Dependable
– Works well under pressure

To apply, email your resume directly to Chef at michael@thegenuinehospitalitygroup.com.

The Genuine Hospitality Group also is hosting its quarterly job fair from 10am-4pm at its headquarters in the Design District tomorrow, March 26.  Find details here.

Spring Job Fair | The Genuine Hospitality Group is (Always) Hiring

TGHG Job Fair_newsletter

The Genuine Hospitality Group Spring Job Fair will be held Wednesday, March 16 from 10am-4pm at 3936 North Miami Avenue in Miami’s 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, host/hostess, barista, pizza cook, line cook, sous chef, chef de cuisine, server, bartender 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).

Questions? Email careers@thegenuinehospitalitygroup.com.

Expediting The Genuine Kitchen | A Method to the Madness

One of the many qualities of a successful restaurant is the art of timing a table’s meal effectively, so that courses are properly paced and for guests to receive their meal at once, without compromising freshness. It sets the tone for the entire dining experience. But how exactly? The expediter position, or “expo”. The person tasked with this role is in short, a conductor of the kitchen. The expo monitors the scheduling and quality of the dishes, such as the appropriate temperature, texture, and presentation, and orchestrates the stations behind the line in concert. I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’s Chef de Cuisine, Niven Patel, to take a closer look at these intricacies and let you inside the controlled chaos of our back of house to see how the magic happens during service!

Let us talk about the scenery. As soon as I stepped into the kitchen, I felt a rush. The cooks and chefs work with haste, but most importantly with passion. As the kitchen’s fearless leader, Chef Niven presides with calmness yet conviction. He believes that tone, confidence and respect, translate to accurate and passionate execution in the food. He is as focused, if not more so than his team, to set the example and build the group’s ammunition for a busy Saturday evening. The Genuine Kitchen holds four stations: wood oven, grill, sauté and pantry (otherwise known as salads). Despite the specificity of these duties, it does not prohibit a cook from one station to assist in another region of the kitchen when asked by the Chef. Teamwork is everything in this jungle.

Our Wood Oven

Our Wood Oven fires items or components of items from all across the Genuine menu, at once, delicately moved in and around hot spots until each is ready at different times by the cook on this station. Here it’s about half capacity.

Between 7 and 9 p.m. the circus takes place, as these are typically the busiest hours of the night. Due to the rapidity of this point in service, kitchen language and non-verbal queues are essential. The Chef abbreviates certain dishes when calling them out to his cooks; therefore, every person must be very familiar with the menu to avoid kitchen errors: “two cauli, one pus, one 2.5, one shoulder SOS”, meaning two wood oven roasted cauliflowers, one chargrilled octopus, one 2.5 pound snapper, and one slow roasted pork shoulder with sauce on the side.  “Got it?” “Heard!” This is how cooks respond to the Chef to ensure effective communication; a good memory will serve you well here. Or, the Chef may merely extend an olive bowl and a team member knows that it should automatically be filled with marinated olives, without uttering a word. It all goes down very quickly, but despite the speed, cooks must deliver in order to please the Chef, but most importantly the guest.

As he continues to call out orders, the Chef keeps track of all items using slips, which stick on a long metal line. He uses a twistable blue crayon – Niven is very particular – to mark which items are complete. He groups certain tables to maximize efficiency and separates others to allow dinners to enjoy their appetizers, before bombarding them with the next course. At the expo “seat” (they stand) the designated person must anticipate the cooking time for all items and keep cooks on track. There are no timers.  The Chef and cooks can determine exactly four minutes or seven minutes solely from their internal clock, and precision is key.

Monitoring time does not only benefit the table, but it affects the performance of the entire restaurant. For example, staying on schedule for the first three tables helps with timing on the subsequent twenty tables. The Chef uses key words to hold the reigns, such as “on the fly”, to emphasize speed on a particular dish or “all day” to reiterate the number of the times a cook should execute a particular dish: “…all day, you have four groupers and two stracciatella.”  All five senses are put to the test at the kitchen. The Chef can smell when a wood oven roasted double yolk farm egg is ready, determine the appropriate temperature of a steak by its sight, feel the ideal texture of crispy hominy, hear the printer emit the next order slip, and taste the level of spice on a pig ear. It truly is a science.

A talented Chef or Sous-Chef at the expo position is vital; however, the restaurant only comes together due to our dream team. The conductor leads but the orchestra performs, which is the cooks, as their hard work is what leads to dishes that make you gasp. It also entails the food runners, those who deliver dishes from kitchen stations to the correct person at the table. They recognize any dish with a quick glance and understand its composition in order to inform the Chef of what they see at the window and accurately describe to guests what is presented at the table. In addition, a food runner may take over the expo position, sharpen knives, prepare breads, and debone snappers and chickens at the guest’s request, among other duties.


The front of the house is also an important part of the expo equation, which includes the manager on duty (or MOD), servers, and host. The latter reaches out to the Chef to indicate when a large number of guests have been seated at once, otherwise known as a “push”, so that the kitchen may be prepared. Servers share the pace of their table, along with special requests, so that the kitchen can offer the best possible service. Last but not least, the MOD holds a great deal of responsibility, working to ensure any mistakes are seamless with the guest.  As odd as these procedures may sound, they allow us to raise the bar for an unprecedented guest dining experience. Each role is a dance to develop a cohesive choreography in the restaurant and the expediter position is but one of many. “Teamwork makes the Dream Work” indeed.