"You're not preparing yourself for this big entree because you're getting what an entree would be in these little portions," says Kutkut, a native of Argentina. "It's a tasting of something, not an appetizer." She explains that the latter primes your appetite for the main course. Tapas are the meal.
Going solo for tapas is possible (order a couple dishes to start out), but the experience is best enjoyed in a group. Wheeler suggests ordering one plate per person and sampling a bit of everything. "[It's] a lot more social way of eating," she says. "There's a lot more sharing." Wheeler says the small portions are a low-risk way to try new tastes, and she suggests stretching outside your comfort zone. "We want people to experience new food or different food that they don't get everywhere," she says.
Take your time.
The laid-back vibe of tapas-style dining is meant to be an evening in itself. "[We] want people to feel like they can stay here for hours," says Kutkut. German-born Wheeler recalls a group of guests who sat down at 7 p.m. "It was 10:30 when they thought the first time about leaving, and they couldn't believe it."