I met Christian Dominique, the owner of Manjay, a modern Haitian cuisine spot, inside their Miami location at modern food hall, The Citadel. Manjay occupies a stylish space in this modern food hall with multiple restaurants on the first floor of the building. Dominique’s family is in the hospitality business in Haiti. Still, he had personal goals to own and guide the operations of a restaurant beyond the casual variety. With encouragement from his wife, he pursued the desire to represent Caribbean flavors through fine-casual dining and tweaked traditional recipes to create the menu at the heart of Manjay’s 2019 launch.
The restaurant presents itself as a purveyor of modern Haitian cuisine and Caribbean flavors with fusion flair, “celebrating diversity by bringing a fresh, modern approach” to it. Their chef, Jonathan, builds on Dominique’s Haitian heritage, putting a spin on Caribbean favorites.
Jonathan also informed me that they are opening a new restaurant later this year in Wynwood, where they intend to expand their offerings with a few new (but secret), extra special items.
My repast — as designed and recommended by Chef Jonathan — was both attractive to the eyes and extremely enjoyable to consume.
Coco Loco Shrimp
My meal started with pan-seared coconut curry shrimp served with very tender and flavorful rice and crispy banan payzay — pressed plantains with loads of flavor, leaving the taste buds with a spicy and salty after-taste. The coco loco seasoning on the shrimp carries with it a hint of authentic Indian flavor.
Creole-style, slow-braised pork was set atop toasted multigrain bread with an avocado spread and aioli sauce and served with pikliz — a spicy Haitian coleslaw. The dish offered an overall wonderful combination of textures and tastes with crunchy toast, well-seasoned pork, creamy avocado and garlicky dressing.
While the servings are not typically as large as many other Caribbean restaurants, which often present the ability to share a plate or have leftovers for the next day, the meals represent healthy portions for one sitting. I’m not in Miami often enough to become a regular, but I’ll happily recommend Manjay for anyone looking for good Caribbean-inspired casual dining.