The “small plates” trend of the aughts, cynically borrowed from Spain’s wonderful tapas tradition, was usually just an excuse to charge full price for tiny plates of food. Although you still find (appropriately) small, sharable plates in wine bars, or on a menu section devoted to snackables in some restaurants, it’s been a while since we’ve had a truly minuscule plate of food that costs $15.
But last night at Recette, a newcomer to the corner of West 12th Street and Greenwich Street, the Lilliputian dishes came straight from 2006, when everyone but us was feeling so flush that they didn’t mind spending stupid amounts of money for doll-house food.
The hamachi crudo looked like an amuse bouche, but was priced like an entree ($15): a single, paper-thin slice of the fish, topped with a tiny dab of orange sea urchin, a thimbleful of blood orange, and a few precious baby mache leaves. We split it into one bite each, or $7.50 a bite. It was less substantial than a single piece of sushi. Actually, it tasted terrific–each component of the dish balancing the other. But for the price, you could have an entire plate of pasta at Maialino.
Then came a roll-up of duck carpaccio, the size of a long cigarette, stuffed with chicken liver pate. Again, it was delicious–as you might expect of duck-wrapped pate!– but cost $12. Tiny bites of food kept coming, although the sweetbread dish thankfully yielded one gland each. Finally, we asked for a piece of bread because we were starving.
It was like eating in a bizarre time-warp, like we should have run out and put money on the Steelers. The bill for two came to $100, with one glass of wine each.
328 West 12th Street