It’s Even Better in The Bahamas with Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz

Traveling to The Bahamas just got a whole lot tastier!  Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz opens today just a 42 minute pond jump away on Nassau.  Located on the Baha Mar property in the main casino floor just steps from SLS Baha Mar, the new 299-room hotel our partners at sbe opened last month, this is the restaurant’s first international outpost and second location after opening at SLS Brickell in Miami last year.

The “Mistaken” (a Negroni Spagliato) is a spritz twist on the classic aperitivo that swaps gin for prosecco.

Chef, Bradley, Eric and I were down last week as part of the last wave of visits and some yet-to-depart implants collectively known as “task force”.  This system in place to support Fi’lia’s opening team from start to finish line — think part placenta, part brain trust — involves an orchestra of players from sbe and The Genuine Hospitality group with expertise in front and back of house. On our agenda was mock service, tastings, final menu formatting, food and spacial shoots, and fine tuning the dining room for lighting and sound.  Where the bulk of the important foundational work occurs gradually over a period of months tracked methodically through a “critical path” spreadsheet and meetings to check in on progress, the 11th hour is a critical stage in the process visible even to the untrained eye where everything comes into sharp focus.

The idea is to make sure there is enough institutional knowledge and depth on the ground to have the resources required to handle anything thrown the restaurant’s way. This is an all-hands-on-deck troubleshooting and brain-stretching exercise, where you have planned for everything especially the things you can’t control.  From menu covers stuck in LA to cocktail tags printed from the only Miami vendor that was open and able the week before the holiday to mule with cookbooks in checked luggage, it ain’t always pretty… but this is what openings are all about and why we love what we do.  And then you have a restaurant!

The host with the most.

“The hospitality on island has been second to none, and we are fortunate to have a hard working team that is digging in with a smile in the true Bahamian spirit,” says Chef.  “We can’t wait to share with guests the same incredible welcome we’ve experienced here in The Bahamas!”

We have a particular soft spot for a familiar face — Fi’lia’s Executive Chef Thomas Tennant — veteran of the TGHG culinary family who comes with Caribbean seasoning from his time on Grand Cayman as chef de cuisine of Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink.  Later leading menu implementation, working with international staff and honing his talent for “fixing” provisions from the lower decks with Royal Caribbean, Thomas earned the TGHG title of “Special Ops Chef” for a reason and those skills will no doubt serve him here.

Fi’lia is inspired by the simplicity of Italian cuisine, featuring a menu of straightforward dishes that highlight fresh, seasonal ingredients, housemade pasta and memorable signatures like the Tableside Caesar Salads.  Like Miami, Fi’lia’s dinner menu features Small, Large and Extra Large plates alongside Snacks, Sides, Pasta and Pizza. To start, Beef Carpaccio is Chef Schwartz’s twist on the classic featuring sunchoke, green onion pecorino and mustard vinaigrette, while the Extra Large Grilled Whole Snapper features tomato, Calabrian chile, mint and grilled bread. Rustic pizzas are served with creative topping combinations like Pistachio Pesto with ricotta, charred onion and pecorino.

The Tableside Caesar is prepared from scratch from dressing to grated parmigiano finish on a roaming cart, dispatching delicious smells of toasted garlic croutons in the dining room as it passes. Cocktails are refreshingly uncomplicated with specialties including a section of Spritz. With a focused wine list, Fi’lia celebrates Italian, regional varietals and American wines with an old world sensibility.

Located at One Baha Mar Blvd, Nassau, The Bahamas at Baha Mar Casino, Fi’lia is open Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. serving lunch and dinner. For reservations and menus, please visit filiarestaurant.com or call 242-788-8212.  As part of sbe’s larger movement to bring signature specialties in innovative cuisine and dynamic nightlife to The Bahamas, the group also operates Cleo, Monkey Bar (the signature SLS lobby bar) and Bungalow Pool Bar & Grill at SLS Baha Mar, with Privilege and Skybar coming in early 2018. Additionally, Katsuya (sbe’s modern take on classic Japanese cuisine) opened in mid-August on the Baha Mar Casino floor, and Bond, sbe’s nightlife concept, is debuting December 29th, offering late-night entertainment as the destination’s see-and-be-seen place to be.

SoBe It! Your 2017 Genuine Tickets at the 16th Annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival

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Party game strong at Chef’s house in February.

From one big shindig to the next.  With another Art Basel in the record books, we’re laser focused on finishing 2016 strong, whether with loads of Genuine Gifts (including and especially gift cards!) and New Year’s Eve specials at Cypress Tavern and Harry’s Pizzeria (stay tuned for that announcement on Monday!).  But for now, we’d like to introduce you to The Genuine Hospitality Group’s events at next year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival before they sell out.  Check out the parties listed below with their corresponding participating TGHG restaurants.  Cheers… Training your body to get through it all begins now.  Thanks again to Lee Brian Schrager for inviting Team Schwartz to play again!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23

genuine_0-1MICHAEL’S GENUINE® FOOD & DRINK | 10 Years of Genuine: Dinner hosted by Michael Schwartz, Marc Vetri and Jonathan Waxman presented by Bank of America
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM @ 130 NE 40th Street, Miami, 33137
> Dressy Casual Attire, Indoor, Seated, Wine, 21 years of age or older <
One of South Florida’s most widely recognized culinary innovators makes a rare Festival appearance to celebrate a decade of his much touted Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. A must-stop for both locals and tourists from around the world, Schwartz took a leap on the burgeoning Design District neighborhood 10 years ago to start his empire. Now settled smack in the middle of one of Miami’s hautest areas, Schwartz’s flagship restaurant anchors the array of culinary attractions offered there. Joined by culinary luminaries Marc Vetri and 2016 SOBEWFF® Tribute Dinner Honoree Jonathan Waxman, Schwartz and friends will present guests with a sampling of the signature tastes with staying power they’re known for.  Guests will be assigned seating prior to this event. We can only guarantee guests who purchased tickets together will be seated together. If you would like to be seated with another guest(s), please send your request via email to tickets@sobefest.com. PURCHASE TICKETS 

HARRY’S PIZZERIA® and FI’LIA |  Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach sponsored by HCP Media and the Miami Herald Media Company hosted by Valerie Bertinelli & Alex Guarnaschelli
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM @  the “North Venue”, Beachside at Delano, Entrance at 1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 33139
> Outdoor, Smart Casual Attire, Spirits, Walk-Around Tastings, Wine, 21 years of age or older <
What do Hollywood Walk of Fame stars and Michelin stars have in common? Leading ladies Valerie Bertinelli and Alex Guarnaschelli, of course! Bertinelli’s two-time Golden Globe Award-winning personality now charms on Food Network’s Valerie’s Home Cooking, while Guarnaschelli’s Michelin-starred training in France helped mold the tenacious expert we enjoy today on Chopped. They are joining forces to host more than 30 of the nation’s greatest chefs serving up dishes originating from various regions of Italy as guests enjoy a live musical performance by soft-rock hit makers Little River Band, presented by Magic City Casino. Known as one of Australia’s most popular rock bands, the Little River band has 10 top 20 songs on U.S. Billboard charts, including ‘Reminiscing’, ‘Cool Change’, and ‘Lady’. You can peruse Piedmont, trot through Tuscany, savor Sardinia, canvas Campania, saunter through Sicily, and more – while sinking your toes into the sparkling white sands of South Beach. Whether you prefer a traditional spaghetti and meatballs or a cooler antipasto-style pasta salad or a savory perciatelli and chicken, this is a celebration not to be missed. Grab your friends and gather ‘round under our signature white tents in the sand for a feast of the ages, all complemented by pours from curated wine selections. ADA Assistance: The Festival will have a limited number of beach wheelchairs available at the Guest Services locations. Please check in directly with a Guest Services Representative for assistance. PURCHASE TICKETS

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24

CYPRESS TAVERN | Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best sponsored by Bank of America
7:30 PM – 10:30 PM @ Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 33140
> Dressy Casual Attire, Indoor, Walk-Around Tastings, Wine, 21 years of age or older <
To create the best event during the best weekend of the year, we’ve rounded up 60 of the nation’s top chefs to showcase their most gourmet samplings to pair with over 100 wines rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s scale. The Fontainebleau Miami Beach sets the perfect stage with its own blend of Golden Era glamour and modern luxury to host this grand walk-around affair. Only proprietors and winemakers from each winery are invited to pour their top varietals so you can hear about how some of the world’s greatest vino makes it from their vineyards to your palate. From aperitif to dessert, we’ll make sure your glass is decadently decanted and your plate is full of first-rate cuisine. PURCHASE TICKETS

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26

0226_brunch-andresschwartzFI’LIA | Brunch hosted by José Andrés and Michael Schwartz
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM @ SLS Brickell’s ALTITUDE Pool at SLS Brickell
1300 S Miami Avenue, Miami, 33130
> Casual, Outdoor, Spirits, Walk-Around Tastings, Wine, 21 years of age or older <
Savor brunch poolside at the brand new SLS Brickell under the spell of two of the most coveted names in culinary, José Andrés and South Florida’s own Michael Schwartz. Andrés, this year’s Tribute Dinner honoree, is recognized worldwide for his energetic passion for telling cultural stories through food. His chic and delectable mark can already be found at the SLS Hotel in South Beach at The Bazaar by José Andrés and Hyde Beach, and now at the buzzing epicenter of downtown Miami at Bazaar Mar. Schwartz, whose flagship Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and widely touted for putting Miami’s Design District on the culinary map, will join Andrés at SLS Brickell with his first-ever Italian concept Fi’lia. Guests will be assigned seating prior to this event. We can only guarantee guests who purchased tickets together will be seated together. If you would like to be seated with another guest(s), please send your request via email to tickets@sobefest.com. PURCHASE TICKETS

Chef Pops a Fi’lia-Inspired Dinner at Harry’s Pizzeria on July 26

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Chef sharing what he and Mr. Larkee conceived for Fi’lia bread service at Cypress Tavern’s pre-shift last night — snipped fresh oregano, extra virgin olive oil and grilled, thick slices of crusty, pillowy ciabatta engineered by Tomas of Trueloaf to sop it all up.  Shears down, Nicole noted!

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Spit roasted lamb and creamer potatoes roasting in its drippings.

Our first Taste of Brickell has wrapped at Cypress Tavern, on the heels of last week’s announcement with sbe.  It was a lively, delicious evening and great example of our teams coming together to support Chef and deliver seamless genuine hospitality.  It’s all a part of the process as the restaurant’s future home goes under construction and ideas translate to reality.  So we’re not stopping there.  Get ready because the Fi’lia party is moving to Harry’s!

Tickets are now live HERE for Michael’s Fi’lia Pop-Up Dinner at Harry’s Pizzeria at 3918 North Miami Avenue in Miami’s Design District!  Tuesday July 26, your neighborhood American pizzeria welcomes Chef to pop an all new family-style menu for the evening based on what he’s been cooking and eating to prepare for his first Italian concept.  Fi’lia opens at SLS Brickell when the hotel debuts this fall.  A special perk for event guests? Tickets include a priority reservation at the forthcoming restaurant and a bottle of chef-selected wine for the table!

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In typical Harry’s pop up fashion, the meal will unfold family-style at 7PM with a refreshingly uncomplicated welcome cocktail and four passed snacks, followed by four courses and four wines served all night long!  Like the Cypress event, expect some approachable Italian varietals that pair great with Chef’s straightforward food.  Tickets are exclusively sold through harryspizzeria.com/filia and are all inclusive (no check is dropped at the event) and all sales are final.  Get clicking before they’re gone!

 

Fi’lia, Michael’s First Italian Concept, Opens at SLS Brickell this Fall

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Today we announce Fi’lia opening at the SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences when the property debuts in October 2016 at South Miami Avenue and 13th Street.  Chef’s first Italian concept draws on a way of cooking that has informed his approach in the kitchen since his first days on the line back in Philly.  Fi’lia will feature honest Italian food highlighting fresh ingredients from the hearth and the simplicity of handmade artisanal breads and pasta.  Get a first taste of what he’s been eating and cooking to develop the concept at Taste of Brickell next week, a special dinner service hosted by Michael at Cypress Tavern on Wednesday, June 22.  The menu, including amuse and four courses all paired with wines, is now available here with few remaining tickets for seatings beginning at 6:30.

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Eric Larkee, director of licensing operations, working out the Fi’lia tabletop at The Genuine Hospitality Group offices.

At Fi’lia (a play on the Italian word “figlia” which means daughter), a meal will begin with a crusty loaf, presented with olive oil and oregano snipped at the table. Rustic pizzas from the wood oven showcase beautiful produce in season in special combinations. Caesar salad is tossed tableside in a shower of shaved parmigiano from a roaming cart, with the smell of toasted garlic croutons reminding you of how satisfying and memorable the classics can be. Cocktails are refreshingly uncomplicated – less about complex recipes and technique, and more about how unpretentiously perfect a spritz is on a July or December afternoon. The cocktails will balance a focused wine list that appeals to the knowledgeable diner of Brickell, celebrating Italian regional varietals and American wines with an old world sensibility.  Fi’lia will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner when the hotel opens this fall, with José Andrés presenting Bazaar Mar shortly after making SLS Brickell the only property in Miami to claim two James Beard Award-winning chefs.

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“Coming up on the 10th anniversary of Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, it’s exciting to enter a new, nearby neighborhood exploring the style of food that has been a great influence in my cooking since I first entered a restaurant kitchen 30 years ago,” says Chef.  “I look forward to bringing my straightforward approach to Italian food to Miami for another great project with sbe, and to join José on property.”

At 15 Schwartz had his first experience working at a restaurant, bussing tables at Dilullo’s, a Northern Italian restaurant in Philadelphia. He became fascinated with what was coming out of the kitchen. The place was ahead of its time and really swanky, importing expensive, high quality ingredients from Italy.  After a year, he had worked his way into the back of the house.  His first chef was a huge fan of Alice Waters and her approach to simplicity.  “All her books were in the office,” Michael explains. “I wanted to go see what was going on over there.”  It informed his eventual move out to California in 1986 where he got a job working at Chinois for Wolfgang Puck, and would be a great influence on his cooking in kitchens to come.  We can’t wait for this one!

Hear from from Michael about what’s planned for Fi’lia and his approach to the menu in today’s Miami.com story here.