Austin Powers would feel right at home at this 50-seat storefront tapas-style restaurant on a hardscrabble stretch of Biscayne Boulevard.
Local darling Michele Bernstein earned her top-chef reputation at the haughty dining rooms of the Mandarin Oriental, but has opted for a more casual approach at her eponymous neighborhood bistro. Just as “Michy” suggests something small and delightful, the portions served at this colour-crazed cafe are small enough to give each person just a taste of the dish and the opportunity to try many different things.
The mix and match dinner menu changes frequently and includes 30-35 different dishes which can be served as full or half portions. Starters as simple as gazpacho brightened with fresh grapes are light enough to pair with braised short ribs over mashed potatoes, house made ham croquettes or a hearty polenta whisked tableside with a tiny just-poached egg. Crisply fried baby quail and tender pink lamb chops make safe choices, but the crispy sweetbreads served with veal ravioli are a revelation.
The wine list is carefully selected to include both full and half bottles so that the appropriate choices might accompany the patchwork variety of fish, meat and fowl available on any given night. Better still, there are over 20 different wines available by the glass and listed from lightest to darkest. Few restaurants in Miami go to such great lengths to make wine pairings as accessible.
The best desserts on the menu are the baked Alaska and the fresh, whipped-creamy strawberry shortcake. Both choices reveal the intense personal effort that goes into so many of the dishes that make Michy’s a little taste of heaven.