PLATTSBURGH - It's international flavor in a local setting.
Michele's Fine Dining, 5131 U.S. Ave., opened its doors last month, with an expansive offering of upscale cuisine.
"The menu's completely different from anything you've seen," said owner and chef Howard Fleisher.
With selections like Chinese five-spice rubbed Brome Lake duck breast and lemon-thyme-crusted free-range Statler chicken breast, Fleisher and colleague David Allen, who serves as executive chef, have been developing a following.
"It's been pretty steady," said Allen.
"The brunch, especially, has had great success," said Fleisher, referring to the restaurant's Sunday brunch.
The popularity of Michele's in such a short span of time is something Allen credits to the menu and high-quality service the restaurant offers.
"We have a smaller menu but that's because we take a lot of time with the presentation and the quality," said Allen, who added Michele's also makes their own dressings and breads.
It's also key that the food Michele's presents can be boiled down to one word, "fresh."
"We don't have a specials board when you first come in like a lot of restaurants do. That's because in other restaurants that's an outlet for them to get rid of things they need to get rid of," explained Allen. "We don't do that. We have a smaller menu because everything's done fresh. We don't have that need to get rid of things."
Michele's also has a tapas menu, which offers a menu of eight to 10 items that changes every week, said Allen. That constantly evolving menu, paired with consistent selections like 31-day-dry-aged grilled bone-in rib steak and Kobe-style Wagyu beef burgers, is what gets people hooked and coming back, said Allen.
Desserts made table-side like Bananas Foster and cherries jubilee, don't hurt either, said Fleisher.
Though the food they serve piques the interest of their patrons, it's also bringing them into the experience of preparing the meal that is of interest to some, he added. A chef's table, which seats four as you enter the restaurant, has become a popular attraction, allowing those dining at Michele's a chance to see first-hand how their meals are prepared.
"They can sit and watch the chefs create all the food for the night," said Allen. "When it's slower and we have more time, we can interact with them. It's a good thing, especially for people who really want to learn about cuisine."
Eventually, Allen said Michele's would like to expand upon the educational aspect of the business.
"In the future, we'd like to do some competitions and do other things with other local talented chefs to develop this area on the culinary end," said Allen.
The business is also currently in the process of obtaining its liquor license. When it does, Michele's will have a wine list featuring more than 150 selections.
Michele's Fine Dining is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and live entertainment is offered Thursday through Saturday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The business is closed Mondays.