Best Restaurants sans Category - 2009
Michy's and OLA
Each year, upon publication of this issue, we hear from readers who want to know how we could have recognized so many restaurants yet neglected to honor such-and-such well-regarded establishment. Usually it comes down to a matter of a certain eatery, even if one of the best, simply not fitting squarely into any specific category — or else, over time, having fit into that category once too often. This year, we asked ourselves: How can we possibly leave out Michy's and OLA? Doug Rodriguez of the latter was among the first to create Nuevo Latino cuisine and put it in a South Florida context, and he still does so better than anyone else. Michelle Bernstein helped locally pioneer the idea of a big-name chef offering high-quality fare in an unpretentious neighborhood restaurant setting — the gastronomic equivalent of a rock star going from arena shows to small venues. The cuisine at both establishments pulsates with vibrant, often surprising flavors and a creativity born of culinary genius. Let's just call OLA and Michy's two of our best. Period.