It’s a Tuesday night. It’s early, 7pm. Sunday was Mother’s Day. This would be a recipe for a slow night at most restaurants but not at Cena by Michy. Cena is packed. Every table full. People waiting. Some eating at the bar. Oh, and did I mention the place has only been open 4 days? Few chefs can pull this off. But then again few chefs are as talented as award winning Chef, Michelle Bernstein — winner of the prestigious James Beard award — and Cena is her newest baby.

Cena by Michy is a reincarnation of her first solo spot Michy’s, on Biscayne Boulevard, in Miami’s MIMO neighborhood. Michelle and her husband/partner, David Martinez, closed Michy’s last July and revamped the space and the menu. It still features some of her signature dishes, like the Jamon serrano and melting blue cheese croquetas with fig jam ($12). But she’s experimenting with what she calls her new food obsessions. In this case it’s vegetables but if you’re thinking “borrrrrrrring” think again. There’s a cauliflower steak (yes, steak) that is to die for ($12). Think of a big, flat roasted piece of cauliflower served on pickled garlic aioli, with marcona almonds, raisins and capers. Even your vegetable hating kids would like this!! The fettucine carbonara ($26), made with jamon serrano and ham hock broth is salty perfection. It’s topped with a poached egg so you “carbonara” it yourself. And for seafood lovers I recommend the whole boneless snapper ($34) filled with sauteed leeks and fennel served on braised greens.

The new Cena by Michy looks and feels larger than the old Michy’s space even though David tells me it’s about the same square footage. Maybe it’s because the new color palette is lighter, the original terrazo floors were repolished and the roof was raised to expose wood beams. Michelle tells me each time she and David set out on a new venture the stakes are higher and so are the expectations and the stress level. Well guys, I’m here to tell you to relax. You got this.

Belkys’ Best Bite: Cauliflower Steak

CENA by Michy
6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138
(305) 759-2001

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