Chef Michelle Bernstein's Cena by Michy has some interesting new offerings for the season. The chef, who is known for her crave-worthy fried chicken during the summer, is plying a selection of menu items filled with the flavors and colors of fall. Dishes like hummus ($14) are turned into tributes to the cooler months with roasted pumpkin, pepitas, pickled onions, and pomegranates. Mussels ($19) are simmered in a broth of Funky Buddha beer with charred chilies, roasted tomatoes, and fennel. I was invited to try some of the dishes, created by Bernstein and chef de cuisine Mikey Mayta.
Cena by Michy's roast beet dish ($13) holds a surprise. The ruby-red beauties are actually pears poached in red beet and served with Swank Farms cress and chèvre.
This PB&J spinoff is certainly not child's play. A piece of seared foie gras ($21) rests on a hoe cake. A generous helping of concord grape marmalade finishes the dish.
Lamb moussaka ($16) is the kind of warm comfort food you want on a blustery day, yet the rich meat is served on baby eggplant for a lighter touch on a traditionally filling dish.
Seared arctic char ($32) is served with potato gnocchi, celery root purée, and trout roe.
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Though it might be tradition to end one of Cena by Michy's meals with the restaurant's amazing bread pudding, just this once, opt for the pumpkin pie ($10), served with brown-butter ice cream, which is a slice of Thanksgiving on a plate. There are also autumn-spiced doughnuts with muscovado ice cream and orange peel caramel ($10)
In addition to the new menu items, Cena by Michy offers a weekly chef's tasting menu. Starting Wednesday, November 11, and every Wednesday in November, Bernstein and Mayta will open the restaurant's six-seat food bar to diners in a riff on traditional omakase dining. The chefs will offer up a multi-course dinner filled with off-menu dishes using ingredients sourced that day. Bernstein says that she came up with the idea because that's the way she prefers to eat at a restaurant helmed by a trusted toque, "I love leaving a meal up to a chef. I love the spontaneity and sense of adventure that comes with it. It’s not something I get to do much of these days. It will be really fun for us to cook this way and truly interact with our diners. We want OmaMichy diners to walk away dazzled and well fed.”
The OmaMichy meals are $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity. A beverage pairing is available for an additional $45. The dinner has two seatings each Wednesday in November at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The menu, of course, is created the day of the dinner, but dietary restrictions will be taken into consideration. Advance reservations are required and can be made by visiting Resy.com.
Bernstein is also hosting a contest to give away the first six seats for the first OmaMichy dinner November 11 at 7 p.m. To enter, tweet chef Bernstein your most adventurous meal (along with what you ate and where you experienced it) to @chefmichy using #omamichy before midnight Sunday, November 8. Bernstein will personally choose the six lucky winners to bring their appetites to the dinner.