Fi’lia-ing the Love | Michael’s First Italian Concept Opens Wednesday at SLS Brickell

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Puttanesca! My personal favorite pizza, with Pistachio Pesto not far behind.

Meet the newest member of The Genuine Hospitality Group family.  Our beloved James Beard Award-winning Chef and Restaurateur now brings his straightforward approach to ingredient-driven Italian cuisine from the hearth with Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz!  Click here to make a reservation.

The restaurant opens for dinner Wednesday, October 26 at the corner of South Miami Avenue and 13th Street at the brand new SLS Brickell Hotel (1300 South Miami Avenue) in the heart of the neighborhood.  Breakfast and lunch begin the following day.  Valet is available at the hotel entrance off 14th Street connected to the restaurant through its lobby, supplemented with metered parking and street entrance on South Miami Avenue.  Fi’lia is managed and operated under the Disruptive Restaurant Group umbrella of sbe.

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“Fi’lia is ‘honest Italian,’ an expression of the simplicity that I love about this style of food,” Chef explains. “It’s not specific to a particular region. This is the way I like to cook and eat Italian — straightforward and with handmade touches.”

In keeping with Schwartz’s ethos that good food should speak for itself, the premium at Fi’lia is unpretentious food and the experience to match, highlighting the freshest ingredients from the hearth and the attention to warm hospitality for which he’s known.  

Chef and Tim getting their pasta on!

Chef and Tim getting their pasta on!

I overheard this sformato (like a savory Italian custard on the delicate cakey side) with pecorino crema "a memory"... a standout from the Small section.

“A memory” for sure:  sformato (like a savory Italian custard with a delicate cakey texture) with pecorino crema.

Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza comes to Fi’lia from his post as Sous Chef at Michael’s Genuine, bringing to life Schwartz’s food and approach in this new kitchen. Dinner draws guests in with irresistible Snacks including Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta with stracciatella and basil and Charred Eggplant Spread on freshly grilled bread with grated bottarga. Working down the menu, dishes are conveniently listed by size, ranging from light but satisfying Small dishes like the bright Citrus Salad with pistachio and aged piave vecchio, to a bold and flavorful traditional cut in the Extra Large 42oz Bisteca Fiorentina executed simply on the wood grill with Meyer lemon and rosemary.

A special, not-to-miss part of the Fi’lia experience is its Tableside Caesar, a classic salad presented the old school way – made right in front of the table, dressing and all, which is the point – and tuned to perfection with garlic croutons toasted on the cart.

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Pillows of perfect agnolotti.

Fresh, daily-made Pastas are an important part of the menu and guests can enjoy this handmade touch in a few ways. Delicate, filled bundles of mouth-watering Corn Agnolotti are brought up with a zesty roasted lobster sauce and decadent Braised Short Rib Crespelle are Italian crepes baked to crisp, bubbly decadence with béchamel, taleggio and fontina. There is a nod to the classics in Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe with black pepper and pecorino coating the noodles with just the right amount of sauce, and a more modern approach in Bucatini with the salty, briny punch of bottarga to balance the comforting heat of chile flakes, garlic and breadcrumbs.

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Chicken in the window.

Pizza has pride of place on the menu with perennial favorites like Margherita with tomato, mozzarella and basil in perfect proportion and finished with the restaurant’s own first press, cold press Italian extra-virgin olive oil blend. A taste of something new comes in combinations like Leek & Potato with pancetta, rosemary and trugole, as well as Pistachio Pesto with house made ricotta, charred onion, pecorino – all of them created using the freshest ingredients and Schwartz’s signature restraint.  LargeExtra Large and Sides highlight proteins and vegetables that ground the meal, like Wood Grilled Chicken with savory bread pudding, mustard greens, pine nuts, currants.

Sangreal grey goose, punzone blood orange liqueur, lemon 14 cocktail glass

Samgreal, a nod to sbe Chairman and CEO Sam Nazarian, featuring Grey Goose, Punzone blood orange liqueur, lemon

Nothing at Fi’lia is extraneous, especially in the beverage program.  Drinks are a personal favorite part for me, featuring Cocktails (including chilled lovely bottles of them popped at the table) and Spritz.  At the open kitchen’s bar, cocktails offered are refreshingly uncomplicated—less about complex recipes, and more about how perfect a Spritz is on a July or December afternoon.  There is a section devoted to this Italian afternoon pastime with six including Bicicletta with Campari, white wine and soda water – one of the lowest in alcohol, normally drank before getting on the bicycle and riding home for the evening.   Lacuna with Knob Creek Rye, Carpano Antica and Angostura bitters is one of the bottled delights to love.  Lupa 35 is presented in a flute with Hennessy VS, Averna, Luxardo apricot, prosecco. A beer list of craft and seasonal styles complement a focused wine list of Italian regional varietals and American wines with an old world sensibility.

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The airy décor designed by Philippe Starck also skews towards unadorned simplicity, with a focus on clean lines and unobtrusive, sleek teak furniture and vertically stacked citrus planters that frame the room. It’s a modern take on restrained elegance that allows the food to take center stage.

Fi'lia's Italian olive oil blend

Fi’lia’s Italian olive oil blend, available for sale at $23/500 ml bottle at the restaurant, along with 8oz bags of housemade semolina pasta in four shapes for $8 each.  Find out more here.

Fi’lia includes combined indoor and outdoor seating for up to 116 people and is open every day for breakfast Monday – Sunday 7-11am, lunch Monday – Sunday 11:30am – 2:30pm, and dinner Sunday – Thursday 5:30-10:30pm and Friday & Saturday 5:30pm – 12am, with bar menu of snacks and small dishes served daily from 3-5:30pm. To make a reservation, call 305.912.1729 or email filiamiami@sbe.com.

From Barrel Aged Summer Spritzes to Special Midcourse Dishes, The Cypress Room Raises the Miami Spice Bar

Ryan and The Cypress Room bartender Christian Carnevale working out the restaurant's new Barrel Aged Spritz recipes earlier this week.

Ryan and The Cypress Room bartender Christian Carnevale working out the restaurant’s new Barrel Aged Spritz recipes earlier this week.

For Michael, Miami Spice is what you make of it and The Cypress Room is taking this to heart beginning August 1 when it participates in the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual summer promotion for the second consecutive year, offering a Lunch (23) prix fixe Monday through Friday, and Dinner (39) Monday through Thursday, with the addition of supplemental midcourses and cocktails at special prices.

“For me, Spice is about doing it right or not doing it at all. We spend lots of time figuring out which restaurant should take on the challenge and how to tackle it – from the content to how it is formatted on paper,” he says. “I’ve been very proud of the work chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia and his team have been doing day-in and day-out with The Cypress Room’s tasting menus, so Spice presents the perfect opportunity to continue to offer fresh, inventive prix fixe menus there, with the stakes raised. We look really closely at what makes the most sense for us at the greatest benefit to the customer.”

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Hedy Goldsmith’s “Coconut” dessert on the Miami Spice Dinner menu, featuring local fruits of the summer season – fresh mango and passionfruit.

For Lunch, Roel offers a first course choice of Tartine of Vegetable Escabeche with avocado mousse and radishes, Beet and Stone Fruit Salad with fontina, or Smoked Local Fish with mixed grains and bitter greens; midcourse supplements at a special price of Royal Red Shrimp with coconut, lime and puffed rice (10), Beef Tartare with truffle vinaigrette, potato chip, and pickled mushroom (9), and Tortellini with rabbit, spinach and parmigiano (8); second course options of The Cypress Burger with onion marmalade and Jasper Hill Landaff, Salt Cod with black bomba rice and saffron aioli, or Poussin with long bean almondine and glazed pearl onions; and the predicament of selecting amongst executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s finely-spun desserts including Floating Island with passion fruit and pistachio or Chocolate with Panther Coffee espresso and tart cherry pâté de fruit.

Dinner brings a first course choice of Vichysoisse with arugula pesto and American caviar, Stone Fruit with charred bread, farmer cheese, pine nuts and herbs, or Oxtail Terrine with pickles; midcourse supplements at a special price of Lamb Tartare with quail egg and toast (15), Marrow Bone with preserved lemon, celery, and garlic toast (12), and Risotto with seasonal vegetables (11); second course options of The Cypress Burger with onion marmalade, Jasper Hill Landaff, and thrice cooked fries, Local Fish with kale purée, shaved zucchini, and anchovy butter, Rabbit Minestrone with chili oil and sourdough, or Porchetta alla Romana with salsa verde and green salad; and Goldsmith’s sweet finish of Coconut Cake with white chocolate crémeaux, mango, passion fruit, and lime meringue or Chocolate and Caramel Torte with candied peanuts.

Spritz

Ryan delivers fancy new Spritz glassware to the delight of  lunchtime bartender Noelle Service yesterday.

For the first time, the restaurant’s Miami Spice menus will include a printed special section of Barrel Aged Spritzes for $9 each, beverage director Ryan Goodspeed’s light twist on his cask program. Each of the four drinks – Old Pal, Pomme Charmé, Bonnie & Clyde, and Viuex Carré – are made to order, served up in an etched cocktail glass with a couple of Kold Draft ice cubes.

“It’s summer and we’re all thinking about drinks with a slightly lower alcohol content, something a little refreshing and that won’t put you away after one or two,” Ryan explains. “We wanted to offer something special just for Spice and Michael thought why not do spritzes? The Cypress Room bartender Christian Carnevale and I fooled around with the barrel aged cocktails as a base, each livened in a different way, and I think they came out pretty great!”

The Cypress Room Miami Spice begins Friday, August 1, and runs Monday through Friday for Lunch at $23 and through Thursday for Dinner at $39. Menus are updated daily and subject to change online at thecypressroom.com, and customers should expect items to change often. Follow the restaurant on Instagram and Twitter @thecypressroom and hashtag #ilovemiamispice for regular posts of what’s new. The restaurant is located at 3620 Northeast Second Avenue in Miami’s Design District. Reservations recommended by calling 305.520.5197 or emailing reservations@thecypressroom.com.