Small plates are all the rage in Dallas, and I'm all for it. The perfect way to share and to experience a given eatery is a variation of the Spanish tradition of tapas. In particular, the newly opened Zaytinya in Frisco--which combines Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines--is leading the charge with excellent plates made for sharing. For those wanting to sample the various items on a given menu, small plates give the diner just enough of an experience without the tendency to over-order. While the cost of ordering, say, 10 plates (several appetizer, crudo, entree and dessert plates) plus drinks can be substantial, it is still fairly affordable.
We were pleased with the appetizers that we tried on a recent visit, ranging from dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) to hummus studded with lamb and an exotic cheese plate that included pairings of exotic cheeses with the likes of honeycomb and dates.
Then the entrees arrived and the Keftedes Kapama (beef and lamb meatballs, feta cheese, rustic tomato sauce, cinnamon, allspice), fried mussels and Lamb Bahar (spice-rubbed lamb kebab, tabouleh, tahini sauce) really impressed. We were very pleased that all of the menu items captured the essence of the Mediterranean with only a few bites.
Other area restaurants are just as hypnotic with their ever-intriguing small plates menus. Si Tapas, Nora, Tacos y Vino, Corrientes 348, Holy Grail Pub and just about any restaurant that offers sushi, tacos or cheeseboards gets my vote. What could be more fun than to linger for hours over the mustardy virtues of Red Dragon Cheddar or the piquant merits of spicy tamale bites. It's a great excuse to put away the phone, pair some great cocktails or beer and engage in meaningful conversation.
The more the Dallas area grows, the more adventurous small plate options will be. As someone who prefers bits and bites to big helpings of steak or lasagna, it is paradise found.