Don’t let their humble stature fool you; small plates come out bursting with flavor and are made for sharing. Ordering a few small plates to sample with friends or that special someone sets the table for great conversation. I’ve scouted the area for some of the most delightful restaurants that know how to couple space with taste.
Tullulah’s, Bay Shore
Tullulah’s kisses the notion of entrées goodbye. The laid-back hideaway’s recipe for success consists of three or four small plates off the seasonal menu that can be eaten solo or shared. Must-try dishes include the pan-seared scallops, bacon wrapped dates and the chorizo with brown sugar glazed apples. Go.
Swallow East, Montauk
Keep it simple at The End with new American small plates. This hip eatery features the likes of mac & cheese with orzo and bacon, coconut curry mussels and Angus sliders with tomato jam. Feast on the lauded crispy fish tacos made with fresh local fluke and pineapple pico de gallo while taking in views at the large waterfront windows that have earned high marks and large crowds. Go.
Chef Noah Schwartz brought a West Coast sampling mindset to Long Island. The small plate concept allows him to be more creative in flavor profiles highlighting different areas around the globe. Get a taste of Europe with the roasted beet risotto with crumbled feta and Crescent Farm duck BBQ with aged white cheddar polenta. But the chef doesn’t stick to one flavor package. Send tastebuds for a ride with the burrata cheese stuffed squash blossoms with the filet mignon sliders. Go.
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Garden City
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas is constantly creating new small plates that put modern twists on Italian classics. Sample the filet mignon tartare made with spring shallots, grated horseradish, basil and lemon zest. Insiders report the dish is perfect when paired with the 2013 Estate Chardonnay, a bouquet of pineapple and honey followed by crisp green apple finish. But save room for the seared tuna bruschetta served with arugula, red chili pepper and olives all on rustic toasted bread. There’s no reason to stay hungry. Go.
Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar, Babylon
This cozy, dim-lit eatery helped spark the tapas trend by offering standout seared tuna, polenta fries with a honey dipping sauce and grandma pizza on smaller plates. Barrique’s extensive cellar features the likes of 150 wines by the bottle and 30 by the glass for a well-deserved night out. Go.