By  on April 17, 2007

The Miami area has long been a bastion of food and fun. Newcomers to the cultural mix continue to add fresh elements, giving guests attending Material World Miami next month the chance to sample a range of new restaurants, clubs and museum exhibits around the area. Here are some suggestions of things to do and see during the show's three-day run.

COMING ASHORE

After more than a decade of co-owning restaurants in Miami Beach, chef Michael Schwartz has jumped the Intracoastal Waterway. A culinary fixture with a following, Schwartz knew his restaurant in Miami's Design District required his name, but it also had to convey the sense of a no-nonsense refuge to South Beach's overstimulated and high-priced dining scene.

"I called it Michael's Genuine Food & Drink because ‘genuine' is a measuring stick for all its elements, from furniture to vibe to the menu," he said, standing between a wood-burning oven and rows of heirloom tomatoes from a local farm. "I wasn't interested in doing Asian fusion again, either."

Dishes change daily, with the exception of signatures like hominy simmered for hours in broth, dusted with chili and served with a lime wedge for $4, or breaded beef cheeks with whipped celery root and bitter chocolate sauce for $13. On a Friday in mid-April, Schwartz carved swordfish freshly caught off the coast of Fort Lauderdale to be grilled, topped with chunky Provencal vinaigrette of Meyer lemons, roasted peppers and capers, and plated with roasted cipollini onions and broccoli rabe. The evening's special cost $26.

"The wine list has a low markup, too, with most bottles being in the $40s," said Schwartz, who is a partner in the restaurant with Jim Clendenen, owner of Au Bon Climat winery in California, to secure lovely vintages at reasonable prices.

Pointing out his pastry chef with a rolling cart piled high with desserts, Schwartz said choices ranged from such mainstays as lemon meringue tartlets to an offbeat cremoso chocolate that has the consistency of ganache or fudge, with sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and a sourdough crostini.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, 130 Northeast 40th Street, Miami. Phone: 305-573-5550. Web site: michaelsgenuine.com. Hours: Monday-Friday for lunch and daily for dinner.

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