I am apologizing in advance to everyone who will be upset when I tell them I have never been a fan of the James Beard award-winning Chef, Michael Schwartz. I have never found his food that appealing to me. I have also never cared much for his two other restaurants in the Design District. I know he has a legion of fans and a loyal following. The one restaurant that I did enjoy was the former Cypress Room. It was an inviting ambience, white tablecloth cloths, a rarity these days, gorgeous plating in an intimate civilized atmosphere. The food was more upscale, it was sophisticated dining. Maybe with the times changing Mr. Schwartz found it necessary to revamp the restaurant and change the name to Cypress Tavern – located at 3620 NE 2nd Ave, phone number: 305-520-5197.

He got rid of some of the quirky decor, like the stuffed deer heads, although one or two pieces of taxidermy remains on the wall.

He serves American cuisine with French touches. So for instance he serves French onion soup and steak and frites, but he also serves the all-American classic, the Cypress Burger with onion marmalade and thrice cooked French fries (this dish I recommend). Everyone should thrice cook their fries, what a difference it makes. One of my dinner companions enjoyed his steak and frites too.

The wood-grilled giant prawn cooked in garlic butter and lemon was sweet and tender. The Bibb lettuce salad with heirloom tomatoes in a creamy Meyer lemon dressing was very bland and could use a little kick to the flavouring.

The yellowfin tuna dish with haricots verts, heirloom tomatoes, olive, soft cooked eggs and saffron aioli looked like a nice choice if you were looking for something light.

The spit-fired chicken, which is supposed to be a Michael Schwartz specialty, underwhelmed me. I found it dry.

I appreciate the fact that he tries to source his foods from America’s best small farms and fishermen.

For the desserts, I again was not impressed. The chocolate pot de creme was grainy and too salty and the Meyer lemon tart although tangy didn’t wow me. They serve a small plate of home-made chocolate truffles at the end which is a nice touch. By the way, we found the restaurant way too noisy!

The staff is still good and well-trained. Everyone was friendly, accommodating and attentive. We got detailed explanations of all the dishes.

There was a nice handful of wines and a good hand crafted cocktail selection. We enjoyed a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon called K. Goldschmidt from Alexander Valley, California, and it had a good price point of around $60. The restaurant has morphed into a more neighbourhood type of spot with better price points and a more casual approach to dining.

But I am not running back anytime soon.

Happy dining,

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