Has the small-plate trend met its match? Diners may be shying away from cobbling together endless three-bite dishes that don’t always go well together or pair easily with wine.
Large shared entrées, conversely, have the convivial and comforting feel of a Sunday family dinner. And, of course, one entrée makes wine pairing for the table a breeze.
A.O.C. has long been a favorite for tapas-style nibbles alongside an extensive by-the-glass selection. Its menu now features large-scale platters, like simple whole fish and chicken, a confit lamb breast stuffed with linguiça and mizuna greens, and a heap of beef cheeks with black-olive chimichurri.
Underbelly’s family-style servings showcase limited-availability items from local purveyors. Options might include a whole smoked pork roast with cabbage and sweet potatoes, or crispy whole fish with salt-fish mac ‘n’ cheese and fried oysters.
On the Italian side, Balena serves a 36-ounce porterhouse and whole wood-roasted chicken with roasted fennel and grilled lemon. Maialino has an impressive whole fish baked in a salt crust, but don’t miss the restaurant’s namesake, maialino al forno, roasted suckling pig with meltingly tender meat and crispy skin.
The large plates at laV Restaurant and Wine Bar offer pure comfort, like a huge New York strip steak with black garlic purée and a whole roast chicken with Tuscan kale and duck-fat potatoes. At A.kitchen + bar, the menu takes some international twists. Shareable dishes include Asian-style whole sea bream with green papaya, tamarind and pickled mushroom; and a two-pound T-bone steak with a grilled Caesar salad and salsa verde.