MIAMI (CBSMiami) – James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz is happy to be back in his newly revamped kitchen at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Miami Design District. His popular eatery of 15 years, recently underwent a 4-month major remodel.

“It was a total redo. It turned into really a much bigger scope than we had imagined, but it needed it,” Schwartz told CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

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Michael’s Genuine was one of the first restaurants to open in the once sleepy undiscovered neighborhood of what is now the Miami Design District, which has become home to haute cuisine, fancy furniture and high-end fashion.

“Yes, before the boom there was nothing here. People looked at me like I was crazy to open here,” he said.

“There are many things I’ve never imagined 15 years ago when we opened here, the least of which was that the neighborhood would turn into a high-end couture mecca.”

The remodel resulted in a much larger kitchen, a brighter, lighter space with a total refresh outside.

“Well before the pandemic, it was always more desirable to sit outside. So, with the refresh the courtyard kicked out to the street,” he said.

Petrillo asked him if he could categorize the type of food he serves.

“That’s hard for me. I always leave that up to people like you and people that write about restaurants,” he said. “For me, it’s the same now as it was 15 years ago. The attention is the same fresh, simple, pure and we try to live by that genuinely.”

And so, they get to the food.

First up chef’s signature Truffle Pizza.

“There’s truffle on it and mushrooms, a little taleggio, porcini crema and then a cheese crust,” Schwartz said.

“I always crave Michael Schwartz’s pizza!” said Petrillo. “And it never disappoints, but this is sort of stepped up. This is like a next-level situation.”

Next, Raw Butternut Squash Salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, pecorino cheese and dates.

“It feels hardy. It has a great texture and crunch and the dressing is amazing,” said Petrillo.

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And finally, Wood Roasted Local Grouper with gigante beans roasted red peppers red onions olives and herbs.

“I love the herbs. There’s a little bit of heat a little bit and all the vegetables make it crunchy and delicious,” said Petrillo.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, a genuine stand-out year after year.

The restaurant is open 7 days a week serving lunch and dinner and Sunday brunch. For more info: www.michaelsgenuine.com

RECIPE

Raw Butternut Squash Salad Chef Michael Schwartz Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

(*Serves 4 as an appetizer)

 Ingredients

1 small Butternut squash (about 1.5lb peeled, seeded and julienne)

1/4 cup Sherry vinegar
1 Orange (zested and juiced) 1 Lemon (zested and juiced) 3 tbsp Pumpkin Seed oil
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil

2 Shallot minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley chopped
12 Medjool dates (pitted and cut into small strips)
1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds (toasted and salted and rough chopped)

1 chunk Pecorino

Method

  •  Place julienned squash in a mixing bowl
  •  In a separate bowl combine the sherry vinegar, orange and lemon juice and zest, pumpkin seed oil and olive oil and whisk until incorporated.
  •  Add shallots, parsley, dates and 1/2 the pumpkin seeds to the bowl with the squash. Add enough vinaigrette (reserving the remaining for another use) to dress and toss together. Season with salt and pepper.
  •  Divide into 4 shallow bowls or small plates. Garnish with plenty of grated pecorino (using a micro-plane zester) and the remaining pumpkin seeds
  • Serve
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Lisa Petrillo