Are good restaurants allowed to have a ‘bad day?’

Restaurants — By on March 19, 2013 at 8:04 am

“Wow! I’m having dinner at The Forge, I can’t wait to finally be able to experience a restaurant that has such an amazing reputation!”

That is what I was thinking when I was on my way to The Forge, an establishment with such a historical reputation for great food, service and atmosphere.

Learning from past experiences, I try not to go to any restaurant with high expectations. Although I tried to follow my own rule, I just couldn’t. I gave in and could not wait to begin one of the best dinners I would supposedly have in Miami.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was how absolutely beautiful the renovated interior was. It is a great blend of antique design that incorporated modern touches and a warm color scheme.

The server was welcoming, but I felt that a monotonous teacher — who was bored with the subject in a class that would never end — was lecturing me.

Although he was timely and very polite, he was missing the spark and professionalism I expected for a restaurant like this. Then there was the highlight of the whole night, the peanut butter and lobster sandwich, a different and delicious blend of expensive and a past favorite, that I myself, could not have imagined.

In my effort to accept that sometimes a restaurant can have a bad day, but then also remembering that an establishment with such reputation and expensive selection should never have a bad day; I accepted the fact that I needed to be truly honest with my opinions about the evening.

As I mentioned, the highlight of the evening was a small yet delicious appetizer and from then on it was as though the chefs gave up and were just ready to go home.

The second appetizer was the prawns and waffles, another dish I may not have imagined, but a dish that was lacking in the flavor department.

Then my main course, the tuna steak served rare. It was not bad, but I did expect more originality with both flavor and presentation; both for the price and reputation.

My mother, both daughter of a chef and tremendous “foodie” was with me, as well as a few of her friends. She and another diner both ordered the duck, and the instant the two plates touched the table I knew that both were unacceptable and on the verge of being inedible.

They were burnt to a crisp, jet black in color and did not look attractive to the eyes. Cutting them open and taking a bite proved that the initial assumption was correct, dry and burnt duck.

Then came the dessert, something that to me could help fix a meal and end on a happy note. The table had previously ordered two of the soufflé’s, the pistachio and the grand marnier marble. Both soufflés lacked in flavor and texture, and both were more dry and flat than they should have been.

The other dishes ordered by the table were nothing more than OK. With all the history and reputation that this restaurant has and with all the wonderful reviews they receive; I guess I just went on the wrong weekend night.

It really was a shame especially since I walked in with such high expectations. The thoughts running through my head as I was leaving this historical Miami Beach restaurant were “I might give this beautiful restaurant another chance, as long as I am not the one paying.”

– Daniel Hernandez is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and current FIU Hospitality Management student. He can be reached at

The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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