Small plates are fun for diners—and chefs enjoy the creative
prep. But, best of all, they can positively affect the bottom line.
By Karen Weisberg
Menu small plates and “they” will
come, according to a cross section of
restaurateurs who offer them. They’re pretty
much guaranteed to entice newly penny-pinching customers to venture in, and,
surprisingly, rarely cannibalize entrée sales.
In fact, while nothing is quite as much fun as
dessert, small plates come very, very close.
And the casual, festive mood associated
with dining in tapas bars or grazing “street
food” outdoors can be easily incorporated
into most any small-plate menu.
Executive chef Mathew Lake is so convinced
that menuing small plates is the way to
please today’s consumer that he ditched his
regular menu, and now exclusively offers
small plates at 160-seat Honu Kitchen &
Cocktails in Huntington, N. Y.
In 2007, when the then 5-year-old Blue
Honu restaurant needed some renovations
(and a name change), owner John Tunney
and Lake decided a menu revitalization was
in order, as well.
“We both love to order small plates
ourselves, so we figured, why not? It’s
worked out to be a good thing in this
economy with our lower price point,” Lake
says. “It allows the customer to control
expenses instead of being locked into
Jason Ziobrowski puts a meatless spin on
the slider trend with this red quinoa/farro
The National Culinary Review | October 2009