Alvin Malnik’s Son Keeping The Forge Tops In Miami Beach

Taken from Esquire

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For four decades the Forge was America’s most flamboyant restaurant, room after room filled with Tiffany glass, crystal chandeliers, and funhouse lighting. It looked like an Austin Powers set. The Miami Beach clientele wore diamonds and Lily Pulitzer dresses, the men wore pastel leisure suits with white shoes. Wednesday was for “Disco Night Dinners,” drawing the Tony Maneros and Crockett-and-Tubbs types in white suits. It also served the best steak in Florida.

In 1991 Shareef Malnik took the operation over from his famous father Alvin Malnik, and in 2009 shut it down for a $10 million rehab, keeping the Tiffany glass but toning down the glitz… a little. Now, with huge, varnished tables made from Indonesian wood, Papa Bear-sized wingchairs, and a state-of-the-art Enomatic wine wall where you can pour your own wines by the glass — from Château Haut-Brion to Opus One — the Forge is still a wild-and-crazy restaurant. But Malnik, who with his pencil mustache looks like a pumped-up Gomez Addams, wants a younger crowd that comes for chef Dewey LoSasso’s terrific eats, starting with a witty lobster-peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich made with chunks of lobster, chopped peanuts, toasted brioche, and onion marmalade. His food is as lavish as the restaurant — try the grilled double cut Colorado lamb chips with plum salt, vanilla-pear-ginger chutney, quinoa pancake, and a mint-tangerine salad. And they still serve the 16-ounce prime “Super Steak,” but the “Coffee and Eggs” — ribeye, coated with ground coffee and served with a goat’s cheese frittata — is truer to form. (I had this the other night and was in awe!!!)

Everything is so large here — the giant U2 shrimp cocktail, the platter of duck home-fries, the steaming hot soufflés — and of course the captains come running when you lift a finger, and Mr. Malnik is always there to make sure you’re having a hell of a time. Don’t be surprised if he spends time talking with you at your table. Fast cars, fashion, art and wine are always good topics.

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