Tiny plates, big punch

Tapas, shrunken Spanish dishes traditionally served as appetizers or as a light meal, have sprouted up all over the press. Two new tapas-styled restaurants in NYC, La Fonda del Sol and Txiquito were reviewed in the New York Times this week, with the former getting a two-starred “very good” rating from Bruni. 

They then reappeared in Saveur magazine, as Los Perretes’ dainty tins packed with octopus and baby sardines from Galicia, meant to be served simply with wine or crackers.  Latin America has also jumped on the tapas bandwagon. Macondo in the Lower East Side of Manhattan serves what it calls comida de la calle (Latin street food)  which include piping hot bacalaitos or stuffed codfish fritters decorated with a sweet and spicy guindilla sauce. There are also the creamy yucca fries topped with garlicky chimichurri. How the chef is able to get these so velvety inside and perfectly crisp outside is beyond me–they are a perfect foil, hot in every bite, to one of its clever cocktails concocted with guava and whisky, tamarind and tequila or peach and pisco.

In Dallas, Texas at Aló, another small Latin American restaurant specializing on contemporary street foods of Mexico and Peru,  draws an emphasis on ceviche and tiraditos. Its food menu includes BITES (SIPS and DULCE), and offers thinly sliced yellowtail and tuna which you can dip in Peruvian sauces as well as cold potato causas layered with smoked salmon, grilled shrimp or arepa crusted calamari. 

Are Latin American tapas the next evolution of latin food? Is downsizing stretching into the culinary world in the way of small dishes? I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming months, we see more Latin American tapas, a fresh addition to traditional latin cuisine.

7 Responses to Tiny plates, big punch

  1. Danny H says:

    Next time I go to Macondo, I will try the yucca fries. I had the patatas bravas as crispy on the outside and “velvety” on the inside as you describe above. Tapas feels like a natural progression. At Macondo we actually ate Tapas style, sharing every plate between friends.

    The best way to eat and try everything! Check out my post on Macondo http://tinyurl.com/c6ra8c

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