We’ve All Dined at This Place

Did you catch the short, masterful Loose Ends piece by Henry Alford, who writes for Vanity Fair, on Sunday’s NY Times Op Ed page titled “Small Plates?” I’m still smiling.

I have been busy writing as well as reading:

In the December issue of NJ Monthly, check out my review of Patria, the pan-Latino restaurant in Rahway where NJ native Andrew DiCataldo runs the excellent kitchen (he of Patria-NY fame).


And in my most recent In the Kitchen column for the Princeton Packet, I profile Richard Lipshanic, the new chef at The Blue Rooster Bakery & Cafe in Cranbury, which recently reopened after being engulfed by floodwaters during Hurricane Irene.

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3 responses to “We’ve All Dined at This Place

  1. Pat, thanks so much for mentioning the article–It really is all too true. We were at the new incarnation of eno terra recently, and my husband ordered scallops with lentil puree. The one scallop sat on a smear of lentil. Well, the waitress did say it was a small plate and we could double it for twice the money. Two scallops on a smear of lentil—give me a break! I followed your blog on NJ health…and am really enjoying your new blog.

  2. This type of menu, which is gaining in popularity, does pose a quandary for those who, like myself (admittedly older), favor the more traditional meal structure (i.e. appetizer/entree/maybe dessert), and served at a “regular” table and chairs. But I think it is part of businesses wanting to appeal to a more youthful market, although I saw people of all ages enjoying various types of seating and meals at Eno Terra when I ate there last week (and it was delicious, and I will definitely return).

    But I am sympathetic to those with robust appetites; the men especially may feel somewhat deprived. And the new menu does require a lot of ‘splaining (as Ricky would say!) by the server, when I’d rather talk to my companions. Sometimes I would like to make a meal of various appetizers, and this type of menu accommodates that, but it can get very pricey, so I would maybe save that for the Taverna menu at Mediterra, their sister restaurant in Princeton.

    On the other hand, have you noticed how so many restaurant appetizers are more like full entrées now, very rich and very large? That bothers me more than these small plates. To some extent, they are probably doing us a favor by right-sizing our portions, and I did think my rib eye steak and my friends short rib “entrées” were adequate portions, as long as you also had an appetizer, and maybe split a salad or, in our case, dessert.

    My biggest concern with this and other dining trends is that going out to dinner anywhere nice has become a bit of an overload of “intellectual” exercise that requires too much participatory response, meal selection strategy, etc. Sometimes you just want to eat.

    • Faith-they must have “upsized” their small plates-I was there right after they introduced their new concept and, honestly, my friend had the steak and it really was just 2-3 bites. We were all ravenously eying the one member of our group who got the burger!!!!!

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