Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th St.) reopens Monday in the Design District after a two-week face-lift that added a raw bar, extended hours and new seating to chef-owner Michael Schwartz’s Miami flagship.
Among the changes:
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• Raw bar. An expanded bar area has allowed for the addition of a MGFD raw bar, featuring a rotating selection of East and West Coast oysters at $3 each, middleneck clams ($2), daily-changing crudo, tartare and ceviche choices, plus shrimp cocktail and chilled lobster as well as shellfish platters with all the fixings at $65 and $130. The raw bar menu is available during all service periods: lunch, afternoon (see below), dinner and Sunday brunch.
• Afternoon service. Schwartz has 86’d the restaurant’s post-lunch, pre-Happy Hour/dinner closed period, opening the doors for a new ‘Afternoon’ service. Noshers can drop in from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday for raw-bar options as well as a concise menu of Schwartz favorites, like fresh stracciatella with Florida heirloom tomatoes; honeycrisp apple salad with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese; sweet and spicy pork belly with kimchee and peanuts; and rotating wood-fired pizzas. About 10 snack options ($6-$8) carry over from the previous Happy Hour menu, including addicting chili-lime hominy, crispy pig ears and bite-size falafel with tahini. Executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith provides her popular milk chocolate cremoso as an afternoon dessert option, along with daily ice creams and sorbets with shortbread cookies ($10).
• New seats. Knocking out the back bar wall into what was previously a private dining area increased bar seating to 25, with spots around the bar and tables overlooking the restaurant’s courtyard.
Schwartz says the touch-ups are intended to keep the restaurant fresh as South Florida heads into the busy season and Michael’s Genuine approaches its eighth anniversary, in March. New luxury retail shops opening in the Design District may be “a game-changer” to the neighborhood, he adds.
“I don’t think any of us can truly appreciate the magnitude of what’s about to go down here, but that’s not going to stop us from being as ready as we can be.”
Michael’s Genuine is not the only top-destination Miami restaurant to retool in recent weeks. Michelle Bernstein (she and Schwartz won Best Chef: South awards from the James Beard Foundation in 2007 and 2010, respectively) temporarily closed her flagship Michy’s in June after eight years; she plans to unveil a revamped menu and interior this fall.
Michael’s Genuine photos provided by The Genuine Hospitality Group.