Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“Cheen-Huaye” – Mayan for “Only Here”

When I planned our 2014 winter trip to southeast Florida, I researched places to go, sights to see and things to do.  Of course, I also did a lot of research using Trip Advisor for restaurants we might want to try during our visit.

This is Cheen-Huaye…which translates from Mayan to mean “only here”.  In Trip Advisor, this restaurant had received 83 excellent or very good reviews vs. only 1 poor or terrible.  The odds were with us!

The first thing we learned was that this restaurant was a long drive up Biscayne Boulevard from the ‘design district’…and downtown Miami where Dawn Marie lives!

This is the interior of the restaurant… There was some seating on the other side of the wall near the bar but we were seated in the larger of the 2 rooms.  The restaurant was clean and orderly and they were fairly busy.

Cheen-Huaye is the creation of executive chef Marco Velaszquez and his wife, Magna Vieira.  Marco is a native of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.  After working as a chef in several South Florida restaruants, he decided to cook what he loves.  The restaurant serves authentic Yucatecan dishes made from fresh ingredients.

Our waitress, Lizeth, started us out with the ubiquitous basket of warm tortilla chips and salsa.  The chips were good and the salsa was a step above the usual!

All 3 of us love Queso Fundido so we ordered it as an appetizer.  We had our choice of chorizo, rajas de poblano or mushroom with the mix of Oaxaca-Gouda cheeses, pico de gallo and flour tortillas. ($9.00) We went with the chorizo… We’ve had queso fundido many times.  Sometimes it comes with tortilla chips, sometimes with soft tortillas and sometimes with both.  We are used to a liquid to semi-liquid mixture laden with chorizo… We were surprised that in this case, it was a baked semi-solid.  This queso fundido was quite flavorful and the cheese mixture was very interesting but we decided that we prefer our ‘normal’ version.

Dawn Marie ordered the Carnitas. ($14.00) This pork dish is marinated overnight in a house recipe marinade made with spices and oranges.  It's cooked slowly to pick up the flavors and Dawn opted for it to be accompanied with onions, rice, refried beans and a green chile sauce.  She told us that it was good but that she could find better Mexican offerings much closer to where she lives….

Laurie ordered the Enchilada Verdes. ($14.00) She had 3 soft corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and topped with tomatillo sauce, melted cheese and cream.  Laurie really liked her enchiladas!

She had been tempted to order ceviche, specifically the Pescado and Camaron…fresh fish and shrimp marinated in lime juice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, avocado and mango. ($12.00) We haven’t had ceviche since we left Chicago.  We used to order it regularly…

I almost ordered the Al Carbon tacos…filled with my choice of steak or chicken. ($13.00) Instead I went for the Carne Asada A La Yucateca. ($16.95) This is a marinated skirt steak in achiote and grilled.  It was served with Mexican rice, refried beans and sweet plantains.  It was quite nice if a little bland for my taste. (FYI…I do realize that most Mexican dishes are not spicy hot)

My other dining option would have been the Carne Al Tamarindo…marinated grilled skirt steak topped with homemade roasted tomato and tamarind sauce and accompanied by a (small?) Tulum salad. ($21.00) The Tulum salad includes a little marinated chicken, fresh corn, black beans, cheese, tortilla strips, tomato and mixed greens…tossed in Cheen-Huaye’s homemade cilantro-lime peanut vinaigrette. Both the steak and the salad sound interesting!

I must say that our service was very ‘spotty’.  At times we thought that our waitress had left for the night… We had to wait for her to show up or return with something we’d requested too many times.  On a positive note, when I requested some ‘heat’ to spice up my food, she eventually brought this bowl and pestle to the table...nice presentation.  It contained some spicy if not particularly ‘hot’ peppers partially ground up in the bottom of the bowl.

I haven’t completed a review of Cheen-Huaye for Trip Advisor… When I do, the best I’ll be able to rate this restaurant is “Good”…service issues with an interesting menu.  If they were in our neighborhood in East Tennessee, I’d go back and try other menu items and give their servers another chance…

Cheen-Huaye is located at 15400 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami Florida.  Phone: 305-956-2822.  You can check out their website and menu at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. A shame you drove so far, but you made a good decision to give it a try after reading the reviews. I've gotten skeptical of on-line reviews, especially when I heard that friends of the owners often write good reviews just to help their friends.

    Hope you and Laurie have a lovely Easter.

  2. You all do a good job when you travel of checking for good restaurants. We don't always do that ---but are always looking for something we recognize... I love 'trying' new places (especially local places)---but sometimes, they turn out to be POOR... Guess the good ones usually always outweigh the bad ones though...


  3. My only experience with the Yucatan area was Cozumel and, as I recall, the food there was quite different than the normal Mexican, which your meals sound like.

  4. Dear Dave, Skirt steak is one of my favorites, though I don't have it very often. I would have gone with that too.
    It sounds like you were a bit disappointed though not that much. I suppose when you are on a holiday each meal should rate great, at least it would be nice if they did.
    Have a beautiful and blessed Easter to you and your family. Catherine

  5. Wow what a meal! That queso fundido looks fantastic. All in all it doesn't sound like too bad of an experience. I just hate when waitresses disappear like that though, never the less, being a person who does not like spicy I think I would have enjoyed that skirt skate, beans and plantains immensely. And it is pretty cool that they bring the mortar and pestle.

    Wishing you and Laurie and your entire family a wonderful Easter weekend. God bless you all! Hugs!