Written by: Steve Stover
Date: May 6, 2013

Seared Ahi Tuna, Pickled Seaweed and Red Cabbage Slaw, Wasabi Aioli, Garnished with Fried Wonton Strips!

Bodega’s Seared Ahi Tuna, Pickled Seaweed and Red Cabbage Slaw, Wasabi Aioli, Garnished with Fried Wonton Strips!

Small plates are back in the news, with Crave Magazine’s Spring issue cover story and Jon Christensen’s glowing review of Manifesto in the Columbus Dispatch last month.

The Spanish call them tapas, the Greeks mezze. the Italians cicchetti, and the Chinese have their dim sum. But whatever you call them, small plates are among the hottest items on the Columbus food menu.

Why? Celebrity chef Michael Mina of San Francisco suggests one reason. “The first three to five bites are when people are most interested,” Mina said.

Some people enjoy small plates because they can try more dishes and have more choices. Others like the fact that they can eat just what they like and just as much as they want. Still others like to break away from the salad-entrée-dessert routine.

All of these reasons simply mean more and more people are ordering an array of appetizers instead. Could it be a consumer backlash to the huge portions chefs like small plates because they can experiment with intense flavors in small doses.

Small plates are not new to Columbus. Barcelona, in German Village, was among the first, especially since the city of Barcelona is among the most famous cities in the world for tapas. Rigsby’s Kitchen has offered its cicchetti menu for years, at the bar or your table, and recently unveiled a new small plates menu with a $1 grilled cheese on Monday.

Some of the new and notable small plates offerings:

  • Veritas, in Delaware (Columbus Monthly “best new restaurant of the year”)
  • Manifesto, on Capitol Square
  • Luce, in Powell
  • Barrel 44, in the Short North and Bexley
  • Bodega, in the Short North
  • G Michael’s bar (happy hour)

Also, many wine bars offer spall plates to enjoy with wine flights.

Remember: small plates are everywhere and take many forms, be sure to ask about the appetizer menu as well as the bar menu at local restaurants.

Enjoy!