Dining With a Napoleon Complex

For whatever reason, the phenomenon of eating multiple small plate dishes (also know as tapas) as a meal has taken over dining in the District. There are some food trends that we moderately enjoy: Cupcakes, we can deal with those. Wine bars, they work for impressing dates and for the wining and dining of summer associates from big law firms (lucky bitches). And we can even deal with the influx of fro-yo shops. But this fascination with small plates is just beyond us. Either the city is (not so) subtly trying to convince everyone to be anorexic, or someone needs to come up with a new, more filling, and less expensive food trend, fast.

Small plate dishes tend to be, well, small, and therefore not very filling. And because we're in America and food normally comes in huge portions, anything small undoubtedly will not satisfy. Inevitably when eating small plates, you run into the problem of ordering more because you think you're still hungry, and by the time you may actually be full, you're broke. And food isn't automatically better, or even good, just because it's on a small plate.

This is a city of people who work hard, play hard and sometimes do illegal and wrong things, and who consequently need real, big, hearty meals. Below is a list of restaurants that serve small plates, and we've even taken the liberty of providing a larger food alternative.

  • Policy: One of the newest restaurants trying to assert itself in DC, Policy (isn't the name so creative? DC is where people make policy, so they named the restaurant Policy ... Get it?) serves small plates of American classics like short ribs, mussels, burgers, and lamb. Your bigger, non-pretentious food alternative: get a burger and fries from 5 Guys and call it a day.
  • Meze: This Mediterranean restaurant nestled in the lovely Adams Morgan neighborhood serves little little little dishes, including chicken meatballs with eggplant, grilled shrimp, and red peppers stuffed with cheese. A better and bigger Mediterranean food option: Levante's in Dupont Circle.
  • Zaytinya: Greek, Turkish and Lebanese Cuisine are served at Zaytinya, and, aside from the lovely decor and the fancy award winning chef, it also serves tiny plates that are particularly expensive. Menu options include a bite of slow poached salmon, a handful of roasted cauliflower, or mini candy bar sized pieces of slow cooked veal cheeks. If you want Greek food, and a lot of it, eat at the Parthenon Restaurant in Chevy Chase.
  • CoCo Sala: Fine, the dessert at CoCo Sala may be out of this world, especially the peanut butter selection, but we strongly feel that dessert should be an over the top, LARGE, unnecessary addition to the meal and we will not be fooled into seeing it any other way. We're sticking with the Diner and Afterwords Cafe as our dessert providers of choice.

Other small plates restaurants in the District that you can visit at your own risk include: Jaleo, Oyamel and Tabaq Bistro, and Panache.


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