Reopening as CENA by Michy, the restaurant Michy's has been completely renovated. Michy’s, the landmark restaurant from James Beard Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein and husband/partnerDavid Martinez, will reopen as CENA by Michy in early-May 2015 with a completely new look, new menu concept, and new spirit.
The acclaimed husband-and-wife culinary power couple closed the restaurant in July 2014, just short of its ten year anniversary. “We had an amazing run with Michy’s and as our anniversary loomed we knew it was time to go back to square one and bring it back refreshed and renewed. The address is the same but fans will find a new restaurant in CENA by Michy; we’re excited about the changes we’ve made and are sure diners will be, too.” Of course, what won’t be changing are the hospitality, warmth, charm and award-winning cuisine that Bernstein is known for.
The menu at CENA (loosely translated from Spanish as “the main meal of the day”) will be approachable yet adventurous, boasting just the right amount of soul-pleasing favorites as well as an array of dishes inspired by Bernstein’s current culinary obsessions. “Michy’s was never meant to be a ‘fancy,’ special occasion restaurant,” Martinez says. “We opened it around the corner from our house because this neighborhood needed a restaurant the locals could call their own.” The new menu reflects that neighborhood vibe but, in keeping with Bernstein’s reputation and creativity, often travels into unexpected and exciting directions.
CENA by Michy re-affirms the spirit of communal dining that was one of the signature features of the restaurant’s earlier incarnation with a menu that offers a cornucopia of small plates, known here as Bites and Starters. Divided into categories – Vegetable, Meaty, From the Sea, and Pasta – these dishes work as perfectly shared communal appetizers or as the basis of a meal, with plates chosen to mix and match. Standout dishes slated for the opening menu include roasted sunchokes with smoked almonds, Parmesan and Jerez; spinach and feta croquettes with Sicilian orange marmalade; crunchy porchetta with braised peaches; sweetbread tacos; fettucine Carbonara with dashi and furikake.
Vegetables will play a starring role here. According to Bernstein, “I’m currently obsessed with vegetables and how different spicing and technique can create amazingly diverse flavors and textures. We’re exploring this versatility with sous vide, braising, and poaching and having a lot of fun. With love and attention there’s no reason vegetables cannot be the focus of a dish, even for someone who isn’t a vegetarian.”
Entrees will include composed dishes as well as nightly selections from the restaurant’s new rotisserie. Dishes in development include a killer burger comprised of brisket, short rib and prime aged ground beef; steak frites; and snapper Moqueca with chiles, peppers, shrimp, and farofa
In addition to a European and Mediterranean-centric wine list (“They offer the right acidity for Michelle’s food,” says Martinez, who has overseen the list) CENA will offer a full bar, serving classic cocktails as well as a handful of signature selections. Projected check average per person will be $50.
Gone is the eclectic, cottage chic décor and bright colors Michy’s was known for. The restaurant’s design, like the food, IS stripped down, rustic yet sophisticated. The space’s original terrazzo floors have returned and the roof has been raised, supported by exposed wood beams coated in a polished gray hue. A clean white color palette is complimented by a trio of dark chrome starburst chandeliers. The bar has moved to the front of the restaurant, its glass bar-back overlooking bustling Biscayne Boulevard. In the bar’s original space is a food bar, seating six and offering a fabulous view of the kitchen and the rotisserie. The restaurant will seat 62 both indoors as well as on the intimate back patio.
Joining Bernstein in the kitchen will be chef de cuisine Mikey Mayta, a Michy’s alumnus and Johnson & Wales graduate.