After months of excited whispers and foodie chatter, this week the Genuine Hospitality Group unveiled its latest Design District haunt, The Cypress Room, inside the former W Wine Bistro space. The restaurant gives an elegant nod to 1920s American fine dining, while also elevating the dining group’s project roster. Tapped by Michael Schwartz to man the kitchen, chef Roel Alcudia will lead the team along with beverage director Ryan Goodspeed and dessert queen Hedy Goldsmith. Here, Goldsmith, up (yet again) for Pastry Chef of the Year at the 2013 James Beard Awards, gives us the skinny on the restaurant and its pastry program.
What is the concept of the restaurant?
HEDY GOLDSMITH: This is a departure for Michael and I from what we've done over the years. We always wanted to have a small format restaurant to focus in on flavor. I wanted to focus on aromatic-type flavors—things that are growing now, seasonal fruits and vegetables. I have a chocolate dessert that is incredibly aromatic, and actually very exotic. It has Thai basil, coconut water, yuzu, fresh ginger, and curry leaves.
So you’re going for a multi-sensory approach.
HG: Absolutely. There are so many senses that come into play when you are eating one of these desserts. The first thing the diner gets to experience will be either a tangerine dust that's on a plate, or a bit of curry—they all have are going to have a different kind of fragrance. The toasted hazelnut parfait has a very strong, pickled sour cherry on the plate. There's a hint of vinegar and tarragon. It's all about texture and bold, thick flavors.
What ice cream flavors will you be starting out with?
HD: I did a blood orange creamsicle. I have a sweet basil ice cream. I have crème fresh Meyer lemon and pink peppercorn. We're using Panther Coffee, so I'm doing a great chocolate and coffee caramel ice cream as well. We're using Steven Smith bulk tea, so there will be infusions of those teas into some sorbets.
Sweets aside, what are some of the great savory dishes on the menu?
HG: We have the best hamburger in Miami for dinner, hands down. And people always ask at Genuine, ‘Where is the hamburger at lunch?’ and I always say ‘Hey, it is a different concept.’ You can come in at 11 p.m. and have the best burger, great French fries, and an amazing bourbon.
Who did the interiors?
HG: What's so amazing to me is that it is such a stunning restaurant, and Michael did the interior. He chose everything. He's really a remarkable, evolving chef and certainly a wonderful businessman.
How does this year’s James Beard nomination feel different from last year’s, if at all?
HG: It's always so very exciting. It's beyond words. We've been so busy with this restaurant and The Raleigh restaurant next that I haven't had an opportunity to let it set in. May is coming very quickly and my concern is what to wear and who to wear! I was just in New York doing a James Beard event called Sunday Suppers and it was great to see everyone from the foundation and to see these kids get culinary scholarships. It's what I need to do at this phase in my career, give back. The medal would feel wonderful around my neck but I'm up against some stiff competition.
Any news on a second cookbook?
HG: I would love to. I have a bunch of concepts going on in my head. The childhood treats is a phase of what I do, but I'm more multifaceted than that. With each challenge comes a whole new chapter. I would love to collaborate with Michael on a book.