The Who: Miami favorite chef Michelle Bernstein branches out with Seagrape at the new Thompson Hotel. Chef Steven Rojas, who earned a Michelin star at Saddle Peak Lodge in California, leads the kitchen.
The Space: A multilevel, 267-seat dining room with retro furniture, green marble bar and tiled outdoor patio. Cushy semicircular banquettes buzz with sophisticated locals and Thompson guests.
The Dishes: Locally sourced goods with regional influences. “Michelle wanted me to cook they way we do in California, by using local farms and purveyors,” Rojas says. “It’s great because now I can finally cook the way I want to.” Up-there prices reflect the immaculate sourcing: starters $10-$21, mains $21-$39.
Dinner starts with fluffy Parker House rolls served with fish dip, pickled veggies and butter. Maine lobster ravioli are three delicate pasta pillows stuffed with lobster in a red curry emulsion with fried ginger. Roasted beet salad comes with avocado hummus while delicate squash blossoms are stuffed with shrimp over creamy grits. Larger dishes include lamb chops served with yogurt and fried sweetbreads. Fish dishes stay on the lighter side, like halibut with grapes and Swiss chard, and red snapper with a paella “cake.”
For dessert, scoop into berry angel food cake with frozen yogurt, guava and cheese-stuffed doughnuts.
The Bottom Line: Chef Michy is back in a hotel setting, with upscale prices and cooking to boot.