Food

Way less pig, much more vegetables: Michael Schwartz’s new Coconut Grove restaurant is open

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink celebrates 10 years

Michael Schwartz built one of the most beloved Miami restaurants — in a part of town no one thought could work, at a time when the Design District was even more of a gamble than a young Wynwood — and became a Miami success story.
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Michael Schwartz built one of the most beloved Miami restaurants — in a part of town no one thought could work, at a time when the Design District was even more of a gamble than a young Wynwood — and became a Miami success story.

If Michael Schwartz had opened Michael’s Genuine today instead of 12 years ago — when it won him a James Beard award in the gentrifying Design District — it would be very different.

It would be less of a gastropub, where rich, heavy meat dishes paired well with his own craft beer (and even the restaurant logo echoed a beer label). There would be fewer ingredients on the plate. Way less pig, much more vegetables.

Today, he says, that restaurant would be Tigertail and Mary.

His newest restaurant — his third, sit-down flagship restaurant — opens May 24 in the base of the first Park Grove Tower in Coconut Grove. The restaurant opens up to a garden park to bring in the Grove’s lush, Bohemian atmosphere.

And it represents the kind of cooking he prefers now, whether he’s cooking at home or eating out. The largest section of the menu is titled Vegetables and highlights 14 different entrees based on greens. Yes, the veggies are at the center of the plate.

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“The older I get, the more simple I want things,” he said. “(This) restaurant is a great representation of how my cooking and my palate has evolved.”

Think baby heirloom beets with creamy stracciatella cheese and pistachios. Roasted carrots with curried cashew creme and Fresno chiles. Roasted sunchokes with spicy harissa and crunchy sunflower seeds.

Dishes that are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free — and there are many — are clearly labeled.

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That’s a long way from the menu that landed him on the New York Times’ best restaurants in the country more than a decade ago. Then, vegetables were a farm-to-table garnish where an onion was stuffed with ground lamb. Hominy nuggets were deep fried. And capers and parsley served to slather a roasted pork shoulder.

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His menu at Tigertail and Mary has changed because Schwartz has changed. He’s old enough, 54, to have raised a vegetarian-leaning-vegan college-aged daughter (and, he grunts, old enough to be on AARP’s mailing list. “Keep that on the down low,” he says.)

“Her voice is over my shoulder, in my head, ‘What about the vegetarians? What about the vegans?’ This menu checks a lot of those boxes,” he said, referencing his middle child, daughter Lua.

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Tigertail and Mary’s opening comes as Schwartz parts ways with Fi’lia in Brickell, expands Michael’s Genuine to Cleveland and created the menu at a new restaurant, Traymore, on Miami Beach.

Want to know how he’s eating at home? Look deeper into T&M’s menu.

Dishes titled Small include a celery, fennel and onion salad. But also crab toast and even a roasted bone marrow with burgundy snails along with a Coddled Egg, where lobster is the garnish.

Upgraded versions of his stellar pizzas from Harry’s Pizzeria make their way onto this menu (rock shrimp and chorizo with Manchego cheese) and pastas like “fideos” with littleneck clams, chorizo and saffron aioli. And the Large section includes one of each kind of meat (including suckling pig with charred ramps and a roasted heritage breed Poulet Rouge chicken that may be his specialty) and two fish dishes.

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A Family-Style section includes dishes that might have otherwise been a single serving: a whole fish and 24 ounce prime dry-aged rib eye.

His devotion to advanced cooking techniques hasn’t changed, he said. Just his expression of them.

“The more simple the better for this guy,” he said.

Tigertail and Mary

3321 Mary St., Miami; 305-722-5688

Open 5-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

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