Michelle Bernstein Reappears With Panache at Seagrape

Inside Seagrape's dimly lit dining room at the Thompson Miami Beach, a meticulously plated starter dish is revealed courtesy of our waiter's iPhone flashlight. Veiled in foam are locally grown squash blossoms infused with mousse derived from Florida shrimp. Underneath is a sauce prepared from the shellfish's heads plus plenty of Tabasco. It's a pristine appetizer that the harsh light makes only more alluring.

The restaurant's executive chef is Miami's culinary darling, Michelle Bernstein, who -- like the shrimp dish -- has been briefly lost from view. Michy's, her acclaimed eatery in the MiMo District, is closed for an extensive face-lift, and her Design District tapas spot, Sra. Martinez, is a thing of the past. Seagrape marks the James Beard Award-winning toque's return to the spotlight.

See also: Ten best tacos in Miami

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.