I've seen photos of many of the dishes featured in high-end restaurants like Per Se and Alinea. One thing that strikes me about them is how much white space there tends to be. The average dish is an enormous white plate containing a small concentric circle of food.
My question then is: to what extent is this just a trend? I've been reading about high-end dining for only a couple of years so I'm not familiar with less recent practices. Were (literally) small plates once popular? Colored plates, etc.? I have heard that sun-dried tomatoes were very "in" during the 80s: is an abundance of white space on the plate just a 00s/10s thing?