The Year in Food 2007

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All who proclaimed the small plates trend dead, for shame! Restaurants are finding that the flexibility and informality of small nibble-centric bar menus appeal to younger diners, and new small plates places keep opening. At San Francisco’s Laïola, appetizers outnumber the main courses by a long shot. In New York, Bar Stuzzichini does it Italian style. And Minneapolis’s Obento-ya is popularizing tiny charcoal-grilled skewers called robata. Los Angeles chef Govind Armstrong has published a cookbook called Small Bites, Big Nights in keeping with the craze. “If I am given the chance to get a bunch of small things without having to commit, I am in heaven,” he told CHOW. “I cook the same way I like to eat. I end up spending more money, and trying more things, but I leave with more tastes and textures than ever before.” What’s good for the customer, therefore, is also good for the owner. —Ella Lawrence

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