It sounds like a broken record, but it couldn’t be truer: America overeats. The battle to reverse that trend typically begins at home. However, many fine-dining establishments in and around Boca Raton are doing their part to set a healthier example.
It’s part of a nationwide push by chefs to showcase diminutive dishes—and more of them—instead of pouring all of their creativity into heartier and heavier entrées. Depending on the restaurant, these items are filed under menu headings ranging from tapas to appetizers. But don’t confuse these gourmet offerings with fried cheese sticks and chicken wings.
Chefs around town are proving that big flavor can come in small portions.
• At Park Tavern (32 S.E. Second Ave.) in Delray, the kitchen delivers a substantial small-plate selection that includes mussels in a fennel broth with crostini. The Tavern team also has rotating dishes that feature at least two smaller plates. Try the pork cheek pierogi with crispy oyster mushrooms and herb sour cream.
• The Office (201 E. Atlantic Ave.) scores with its fish nachos with avocado cream and jicama slaw, as well as Spanish toast with manchego and serrano ham.
• Don’t miss the beef carpaccio appetizer or the Calabrese-style octopus at Mario’s Osteria (1400 Glades Road), a long-standing Boca hot spot.
• For true Spanish and Italian tapas, test the waters at Delray’s Ceviche (116 N.E. Sixth Ave.) for signature ceviches or boquerones with roasted eggplant. Boca’s Vino (114 N.E. Second St.) offers a fresh selection of dishes like jumbo prawns or escarole and beans.
Small plates are a great way to help reduce an ever-expanding waistline; the opportunity to try a little of this and a little of that reduces the possibility of overeating, in part because you’re not left grazing. But as talented chefs in the area are proving, size and flavor are not directly proportional.
Hilary Hauser will be contributing blogs to the “Dining” section of bocamag.com as part of a required externship at Le Cordon Bleu in Miami.