This morning's New York Times featured a review of La Vara, a new Spanish restaurant in Brooklyn that serves food tapas-style—that is, smaller-size portions that are intended for sharing. Critic Pete Wells seized the opportunity to voice his exasperation with the small plates trend: "When will New York restaurants stop peddling the myth of 'small plates meant for sharing'? Small plates are meant for hoarding," he proclaims. (Wells further digresses on the subject in a NYT blog post.) Leslie Brenner echoes Wells' sentiments with a post on Eats Blog, complaining about a recent experience at Snack where her table was forced to hack up meatballs and empanadas to share amongst everyone, leaving some with just crumbs. She takes issue too with the doll-sized plates restaurants often provide for shared portions: "How are we supposed to manage or enjoy that?", Brenner wonders.
Many Dallas restaurants have made their mark on the local dining scene turning out plates intended for sharing, including Samar, Stephan Pyles' downtown Indian-Mediterranean-Spanish fusion spot, the Design District gastropub Meddlesome Moth, and Victor Tangos, which draws late-night crowds to Henderson Avenue for dishes like roasted bone marrow and mini chicken and waffles—not to mention more traditional tapas venues like Cafe Madrid, Sangria, and Si Tapas.
Are diners indeed sick of sharing their food, or are small plates more than a trend? Perhaps the communal, casual feel of sharing a meal with tablemates has become ingrained in our dining culture over the last decade—or maybe it's just an annoying fad that's overstayed its welcome.
· A Reunion of Flavors From Spain [NYT]
· Small plates for sharing: At more than a decade old, it's time for this trend to die [Eats]