Archive for January, 2010
While news about The Forge’s relaunch has been slowly trickling in (such as the hiring of Dewey LoSasso as the head chef), owner Shareef Malnik has been tight-lipped about the legendary eatery’s extreme makeover. It’s a marketing strategy he stands by, as he doesn’t want to ruin the surprise of the official unveiling, which will happen sometime at the end of February. Nevertheless, he took the time to reveal several exclusive details to Short Order.
“We are telling a new story,” says Malnik, who has gutted ninety percent of the space since the eatery’s closing this summer. “But we are being careful because The Forge has a history and evolution. It’s a living thing. The inspiration is the world we live in. The world has changed enough from where we were at to warrant a substantial change. We are not married to anything from the past. If we did use something from the past, it was because it works not because it was already there. There are a few iconic design components left there to pay homage, but it’s a new restaurant. We are creating a new classic.”
Expect the previous incarnation’s over-the-top décor to be toned down. Even all of the furniture was been custom-made.
Similarly, the menu has also evolved. It’s no longer solely focused on carnivores hankering for porterhouse and potatoes. “Don’t call us a steakhouse,” Malnik divulges. “We will have a great selection of steaks, but we have this culinary ambition to be more than that. Anyway, there are enough typical steakhouses in town to satisfy anyone looking for that steakhouse template.” Furthermore, Malnik remains mum as to whether entrees will still be dramatically presented with silver domes, as in the past.
The Forge 2.0 is also jettisoning its hedonistic Wednesday evening parties in favor of becoming a destination for foodies every night of the week. “In the early ’90s, it was very avant-garde to combine fine dining and having a good time,” he remarks. “It was eclectic, phenomenal and beautiful. Now, it’s passé for me to be doing that. Maybe I’ve grown up. Not to knock it, but I want to be a pioneer in the direction we are going. It’s about access. In years gone by, it was about excess.” Despite his modest claims, however, expect to see Malnik’s fabulous friends like Madonna, Brett Ratner, Shaquille O’Neal and Sharon Stone rubbing shoulders in the Francois Frossard-designed dining room.
“We paid attention to detail in all areas, from food, architecture and design, to layout, menus, pricing and wine,” notes Malnik. “Prices are more reflective of the economy. We want The Forge to be open, friendly and accessible. It’s an out of the box philosophy.”