The James Beard-winning chef and husband/partner David Martinez will unveil Cena in the former Michy's space at 6927 Biscayne Blvd. in early May 2015.
Michy's closed last June, with the chef noting that "it's time for us to change the look and feel of the restaurant and provide our guests with a fresh, new concept. We embrace new projects and feel the Michy's space and our restaurant team deserve something new and exciting."
Cena, which roughly translates to supper in Spanish, is Michy's transformation into a more approachable restaurant in style. It will house a blend of chef Bernstein's favorite dishes along with some new creations. Chef Bernstein notes that when she launched Michy's about a decade ago she never meant it to be a "fancy special occasion restaurant." The chef says that she and her husband "opened it around the corner from our house because this neighborhood needed a restaurant the locals could call their own.”
Cena reaffirms that original vision. The semi-formal and decidedly feminine decor of Michy's has been replaced with a simple, rustic sensibility. A peek behind the door shows a white open kitchen with a chef's bar. The restaurant will seat 63 people indoors and on the back patio.
The kitchen will be helmed by Bernstein, along with chef de cuisine Mike Mayta. a Johnson & Wales graduate, Mayta previously worked with Bernstein at Michy's and is best known in Miami as co-owner of Illegal Bakery. Mayta's partner at Illegal Bakery, Keily Vasquez, has jumped on board as pastry chef.
The menu will continue with Michy's spirit of communal dining, featuring a menu of small plates, called bites and starters, divided into vegetables, meaty, from the sea, and pasta. The menu will change seasonally, but items on the opening menu include roasted sunchokes with smoked almonds; Parmesan and Jerez; spinach and feta croquettes with Sicilian orange marmalade; crunchy porchetta with braised peaches; sweetbread tacos; and fettucine Carbonara with dashi and furikake. Entrees will include a burger made with a brisket, short rib, and prime-aged ground beef blend and a snapper moqueca with chiles, peppers, shrimp, and farofa.
Bernstein will also showcase vegetables on her new menu, saying, “I'm currently obsessed with vegetables and how different spicing and technique can create amazingly diverse flavors and textures. We're exploring this versatility with sous vide, braising, and poaching and having a lot of fun. With love and attention, there’s no reason vegetables cannot be the focus of a dish, even for someone who isn't a vegetarian.” Though prices aren't available yet, expect dinner for two to be around $100.
Michy's was known for its solid wine list, and Cena will keep that tradition, with a focus on European and Mediterranean selections. In addition, the restaurant will offer a full bar of classic cocktails, along with some selected signature creations.
When Cena reopens in the next few weeks, dinner will be served nightly, beginning at 6 p.m.
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