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Tapas: Revelation or Rip-Off?

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Tapas: Revelation or Rip-Off?

Dinsdale45 | Jan 27, 2009 05:36 AM

I'm noticing a mini-tapas craze going on around New England (and probably around the country). Many new restaurants feature tapas and established places are adding new tapas menus, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Small plates can be most creative, flavorful, and, in theory, it's a fun way of sampling a number of dishes. I was first introduced to tapas in the late 80s at Dali in Somerville MA, when it was one of the only tapas places around. The dishes were standard "appetizer" size, and a couple could make a meal out of 3-5 plates.

Having tried a few of these places lately, I can't help but wonder if this new tapas push is due to a realization in the industry that some people will pay a lot of money (relatively) for VERY little food, if, it's couched in the trendy tapas genre. I've eaten at several local restaurants serving tapas lately, and, for 8-11 bucks a plate, 2 people are served barely 2 fork fulls of food, and that's no exaggeration. Yeah, it may be tasty and pretty to look at, but these portions are laughable. I hate to sound so cynical and think that the chefs are out back chuckling to themselves about what they can get away with. I suppose the market/economy will dictate the survival of the latest tapas craze, if people are willing to pay more for less, the trend will continue. Has anyone else noticed the downsizing of tapas?

EDIT: I should note that the places I've eaten are in NE suburban Massachusetts and not in and trendy high-end Boston restaurants or nightspots.

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