3.5 stars for superb food & elegant setting at Michael Schwartz’s Cypress Room

 

3.5 stars for superb food & elegant setting at Michael Schwartz’s Cypress Room

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Jodi Mailander Farrell

Just when we’ve grown accustomed to sharing small plates and accepting the willy-nilly randomness of food hitting our tables whenever it’s ready, leave it to Design District dynamo Michael Schwartz to throw a white tablecloth on it all and remind us of the pleasures of fine dining. Bone up on your cutlery etiquette, Miami, because there hasn’t been this much silver in front of you since the season finale of Downton Abbey.
Just blocks from Schwartz’s other wildly popular Design District restaurants, Michael’s Genuine and the 2-year-old Harry’s Pizzeria, Cypress Room is the latest addition to a rapidly expanding Genuine empire that includes restaurants on two cruise ships and outposts in Grand Cayman and the Raleigh Hotel on South Beach. The James Beard Award-winning Schwartz and his chef de cuisine, Roel Alcudia (fresh from New York and Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto), salute the latest food trends in their precise menu. While the new digs are decidedly more formal, the food sensibility remains the same, with an emphasis on quality, local-if-possible ingredients and dishes of contrasting textures, colors and temperatures that are the product of a disciplined imagination.
Ambience: In keeping with Cartier, Hermès, Prada and the other luxury brands boutique-ifying the Design District, Schwartz’s latest creation, The Cypress Room, is fashionably upscale. Waiters in vests and ties sharply synchronize the delivery of dishes beneath glittering chandeliers and wall-mounted deer heads in a charming, Victorian dollhouse of a space. A sherbet-green banquette hugs the pecky cypress wall. Wooden casks behind the bar hold the promise of barrel-aged liquors in cocktails named for a bygone era. Bone china and pink floral toile wallpaper add a dainty touch.
 

What Worked

  • Sweet, tender bits of royal red shrimp with cucumber, coconut, lime and puffed rice
  • Striking beets prepared three ways — raw and shaved, roasted and smoked — and matched with soft Italian robiola cheese and crunchy pistachios
  • Lamb tartare that tastes clean and smoky on toast and sports  a quail egg top
  • Braised bone marrow mellowed by preserved lemon and a delicate flower petal salad
  • Braised and chopped antelope that games up baby turnips, apricots and Japanese mizuna greens
  • Firm, lean tilefish that soaked up the flavors in a slurp-worthy bouillabaisse of garlic, fennel and artichokes
  • Rack of lamb that was crackly on the outer edges and melt-in-your-mouth warm and juicy on the inside
  • Woodsy bean ragout and eggplant caviar
  • Executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s petite, knockout desserts.
  • Florida citrus chess pie with roasted white chocolate, tarragon, huckleberries and buttermilk
  • Stunning toasted hazelnut parfait with dried caramel, puffed faro and pickled cherries

 

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