Americans like variety. So why is our traditional dining-out move to simply pick an entree and hope it’s better than what our friend ordered? For freedom-loving diners, small plates are the fix for food envy. Here are a few places that do them well.
The Greenhouse Tavern
It changes with what’s available, but Jonathon Sawyer’s build-your-own-meal menu of Firsts, Seconds, Thirds and Halfs allow for plenty of sampling.
ORDER - Crispy Chicken Wings Confit with roasted jalapeño, lemon juice, scallions and garlic; $11. If Sawyer’s version of wings with a kick are on the menu, get ‘em. The garlic and scallions tame the heat. 2038 E. Fourth St., Cleveland, 216-443-0511, thegreenhousetavern.com
Shawn Monday equally divides his menu into Smallest Plates, Small Plates and Not So Small Plates. You get the idea. For those who want to sample lots of little tastes, Downtown 140 is the place.
ORDER - Gulf Shrimp Cocktail, Downtown 140 cocktail sauce, lemon, celery hearts; $3.50 per piece. Offerings change seasonally, but this monster shrimp is a recurring favorite. 140 N. Main St., Hudson, 330-655-2940, downtown140.com
Sergio Abramoff’s deep menu of Street Plates touches on flavors spanning the globe. Order three for $12 daily 5-6:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays after 9:30 p.m.
ORDER - Sarava Burgers, two thin plancha-grilled mini beef burgers with caramelized onions and ketchup; $6.95. Yes, they’re small, but calling them mere sliders just doesn’t seem right. 13225 Shaker Square, Cleveland, 216-295-1200, sergioscleveland.com