Small plates must die

Small plates must die

I'm over small plates.  It doesn't matter if you call them sharing plates, crudi, mezze, tapas, appetizers or dim sum.  Two things invariably happen when I eat at one of the "small plates" peddlers: 1) I spend way more than is reasonable and 2) I leave hungry.  There were a couple of Saturdays recently where, a couple hours after eating at this type of trendy restaurant, I ended up at the Taco Bus for second dinner.  My experience mimicked Robin Dorian’s from Small Plates= Big Bills.

In Vegas in May, I attended what was supposed to be an all-you-can-eat tapas dinner at a Spanish restaurant and paid a high per-person “all-inclusive” price.  When it was scheduled the month before, my instinct had told me it might not be an ideal situation.  I hesitated and discussed it with the restaurant, passing over the event organizer, but agreed to attend because it was a reunion.  We had to scrounge for scraps of food off of tiny plates.  I left there sober, hungry and resentful.  I should have listened to my gut.

There are always arguments for either side and many defend this trend.  You might hear “It’s about variety and satisfying culinary curiosity.  Quantity or caloric intake does not determine value.”  Nope, I’m not convinced.  We are spending ever-shrinking money for pretentious snacks.

Kerry Heffernan of South Gate Restaurant in New York: “There are times when you want to try everything on the planet, but more often than not you want to feel like you’ve been fed and nurtured and nourished,” he said. “I think that comes from having your own plate.”  I agree.  If the entrée is on life-support, it is time to resuscitate it.  Particularly in this value- conscious climate.  Bring me real food!

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