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The art of the small plate

A small plate needs an artful touch in order not to seem simply a miniaturized version of a main course.


A small plate needs an artful touch in order not to seem simply a miniaturized version of a main course. Each person at the table may only get one or two bites, but the opportunity to sample a larger variety of full flavors is hard to pass up for the adventurous diner. Rochester’s Restaurant 2Vine has recently revamped its menu to offer an array of small plates. Here are four dishes presenting different takes on the concept. 



Salads are ripe for inclusion on small plate menus, and this tomato version makes sense from a concentrated flavor and sharable perspective. Diminutive heirlooms are paired with slices of First Light feta cheese, Thai basil, and white balsamic vinegar, and it’s easy to get all the balanced, complementary flavors in one forkful.This salad will shine in the fall, when tomatoes are at their sweet, potent prime. 


This rice-based dish walks the small-plate line—it’s big! It’s piled high with sazon-style seasoned rice, a large prawn, and the star of the creation, a hard-seared Andouille sausage. This plate can be shared with two or three people and everyone will get a decent amount of all of the flavors. 


Coming in on the opposite side of the size spectrum, these biscuit-based mini sandwiches are sized just right for one. Carnitas-style pulled duck rightfully dominates the flavor profile of this pleasantly simple dish. 


This optimal small-sharing plate includes crostini to distribute the soft main ingredients and a lightly spicy sambal sauce.The tartare-like presentation works well on the plate, and avocado takes center stage both in flavor and lending a green hue to the salmon-avocado mixture. Chunks of cured salmon are tender, intensely colored, and play as a salt note to the vegetal richness of the avocado. 

Chris Lindstrom is a freelance writer in Rochester.Visit his blog:

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