Being a chef/pastry chef, my fellow peers and I often discuss food, and our favorite places to eat. Miami is a thriving city with so much culture and diversity that there is sure to be something for everyone. I asked some of my co-workers to recommend me someplace to go for an excellent dessert, and my pastry chef didn’t hesitate to let me know of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. After hearing that name a few times in my research I inquired about it a bit more before heading that way.
Michael’s Genuine features a great menu of gourmet meals made with the freshest ingredients by an incredibly talented staff of chefs, but the reason I went was to check out some sweet treats. Acclaimed pastry chef and 2012 James Beard Award finalist Hedy Goldsmith calls Michael’s Genuine her home, and after reading up a bit on her history, and seeing her desserts featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” I had to check her out… you know, field research for my own desserts.
We arrived in the heart of the Design District and walked up to a beautiful outdoor seating space with grand palm trees covered in orchid plants and subtle lighting. The commotion carried into the streets but all was pleasant chatter. We walked inside to a romantic and intimate atmosphere displaying a full bar, spiral staircase to upstairs seating, private dining room next door, an exposed kitchen in the main dining room and the pep of jazz music playing throughout. After a back and forth struggle we decided to sit in the main dining room and soak in all this place had to offer. The staff was as the name would suggest, very genuine and knowledgable about everything on the menu and oddly enough one of the servers just happened to be an old friend. They offered us a complimentary bottle of still and sparkling water while we decided what to have, and luckily for us, our old friend treated us to a plate of home made cookies and candies till we were ready. Devouring the treats only prolonged the decision making process but we didn’t mind and happily took our time. The plate featured a mini chocolate chunk cookie that was perfectly crisp on the outside with a gooey chocolate chunk in the center, a home made oreo cookie with the smoothest vanilla flavored cream in between two chocolate wafer cookies, popcorn and peanut ‘Cracker Jack’ brittle, the chefs’ rendition of a ‘Snicker’s bar’ stacked high with chewy caramel, peanuts and milk chocolate topped with a light garnish of sea salt, and a bite sized raspberry liqueur truffle. This little appetizer of desserts prepared us for what we had in store. We decided on two different desserts, just to… you know, compare and contrast. First we got the Tangerine Creamsicle Pot de Creme, which happens to be my celebrity chef crush Scott Conant’s favorite as well. The plate came with two warm and fluffy donuts tossed in anise-sugar next to a blackberry tarragon jam with candied tangerine peels and the creamiest and lightest pot de creme ever. The slight hint of tangerine throughout with fresh whipped cream and candied orange was a reminder of the childhood favorite orange creamsicle in an adult version. While each item tasted great individually layering each atop the soft donut completed the dish. You’d think we would stop there, but no, we went on to order what I like to call the death by chocolate. The Chocolate Cremoso is a what chocolate lovers get to experience a spoonful of heaven. The plating alone is intriguing enough showcasing a scoop of espresso parfait over a toffee crumble and a canele of a thick chocolate ganache drizzled with fruity extra virgin olive oil and sea salt adorned with a sourdough crostini. I know it seems like a weird combination, but chocolate is one of those ingredients that lends itself to the boldest savory flavors while still keeping its sweet integrity. I must admit, that each of the components had rather intense flavors individually however the combination of everything offered a completely balanced bite.
After we barely licked the plates clean, we sat back nearly popping the buttons on our pants. Since I needed to drive home, I required a macchiato to help keep me awake and away from a sugar coma while my friend had one of the Steven Smith Organic tea’s. Nearly drifting into dream world, we came back down to Earth and realized the entire restaurant was nearly empty and they were about to close. Sweet dreams for me, indeed.
This was definitely one of those ‘I deserve to splurge’ desserts, as a $10 pastry is a bit much for me, but we decided splitting the bill of about $30 for dessert was well worth it.
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is located at 130 Northeast 40th Street Miami, FL 33137
Their hours of operation vary by day but feel free to check their website for more information.