Saturday, September 09, 2006

Miami Restaurant Review: Michy's

Michy's, 6927 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33138. (305) 759-2001

Michy’s makes the case for fine dining on Biscayne Boulevard. And from the looks of the dining room on recent weeknight – filling up steadily before 7 pm, there is definite demand for high end cuisine on Miami’s ever-gentrifying strip of hourly-rate motels and funky antique stores.

The restaurant’s décor is at once playful and sophisticated, making use of mismatched white chairs, cheerful wallpaper and orange suede banquettes. But the food is the reason those tables fill up quickly. They’ve come because of the buzz, because she might be in the kitchen tonight, the namesake, the chef with the golden whisk. Michelle Bernstein has certainly proved her mettle as a chef helming The Mandarin Oriental’s Azul and winning against male competitors on TV’s Iron Chef.

The proof is on the plate, or half plate as the case may be with this eatery. Each selection can be ordered either as a full or half portion allowing diners to graze among a sea of carefully crafted salad, seafood, and pasta dishes, never quite forcing you to commit to traditional appetizer/entree dining paradigms. There’s a nice selection of wines available by the glass adding to the casual choose-as-you go dining odyssey. The white gazpacho ($7/$11) was hearty and smooth composed mainly of pureed almonds, cucumbers, grapes, and topped with herbed croutons for a welcome textural distraction. Those grapes showed up again in a fresh watercress salad ($8/$12) with goat cheese and tarragon, clean and crisp as English morning. The truffle infused polenta ($7/$11) topped with a poached egg (sans bacon for us, to the dismay of our server, but hey, that’s how we roll) was rich and decadent, the egg adding layers of creamy goodness to every satiating spoonful. The miso glazed cod ($16/$25, pictured above) though not the most creative selection (an homage to Nobu, perhaps ) was delicate and piquant, with flash fried bok choy and mushrooms providing appropriate heft to the dish.

Our server was extremely knowledgeable about the menu (and the recipes which he easily shared) and incredibly attentive but seemed to take offense when we ordered only half portions or passed on his suggestions, but it appeared to stem more from a love of the food than a desire to pad the bill. And Michy’s certainly is pricey but well worth it. Just make sure you go before Art Basel when the hordes will be sure to descend.

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