Small serving, big bite

Trends in dining are like trends in fashion. Some trends, like cheese fondue and stiletto high heels are gladly brought back in vogue. Other trends, like hot dogs on a stick or puff paint T-shirts just don’t seem to have the same long-term appeal.

One trend that is a good idea: small plates. Small plates are good for several reasons, among which:

  • They aren’t overly filling, so you can have several and taste different dishes.
  • They are meant for sharing and when you share, relationships are established and friendships are born.
  • You can order to both your level of hunger and level of indulgence. In other words, it can be budget-friendly.

Here are a few of my favorite spots to indulge in smaller portions with big flavors.

If you’re in CityCenter, check out two of Aria’s restaurants, American Fish and Julian Serrano.

American Fish

Tuna-raspberry skewers at Julian Serrano

Tuna-raspberry skewers at Julian Serrano

American Fish offers a happy hour in the lounge area, Sunday – Friday from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. when small plates created by Chef Sven Mede are just $5 each. Choose from tasty dishes like truffled mac & cheese, foie gras “poppers” and yellowtail sashimi.

Julian Serrano

With innovative Spanish-style tapas, nearly everything on Julian Serrano’s menu is designed as a small plate (with the exception of the Paellas and selection of larger plates.) Most of the dishes are between $8 – 15 and have a Spanish flare. Pan manchego, stuffed piquillo peppers, ceviches, gazpacho and Serrano’s signature tuna-raspberry skewers are all delicious ways to enjoy this superstar chef’s culinary genius. Open nightly.


If you’re at Mandalay Bay, try Aureole’s small plate menu. With mouth-watering small plates like roasted peach tart with Saint Agur cheese, mache salad with vinaigrette or lobster corn dogs, the small plate menu is a great way to sample Charlie Palmer’s upscale cuisine.

The small plates menu at Aureole is offered nightly in the lounge or in the dining room. Most plates are between $10 – 12, but happy hour is in the lounge from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and offers two-for-one small plates, for an even better deal.

"A Sweet Cart Named Desire" at Lakeside Grill

"A Sweet Cart Named Desire" at Lakeside Grill

Lakeside Grill

Wynn Las Vegas is a food lover’s dream. But sometimes, you just need a bite of dessert after Le Reve or a small bite before heading to the Wynn Esplanade. After all, you still have to fit into the Chanel quilted mohair coat you’ve been drooling over for the past month.

Lakeside Grill, opening tomorrow, offers a few shared plates perfect for just the occasion. Perhaps a bit of Iberico ham or truffled arancini will hit the spot without the feeling of over-indulgence. Save that for Chanel.

The truly special item comes in the form of a “Sweet Cart Named Desire,” a custom-designed cart full of one and two-bite desserts broken down into four categories: fruity, nutty, chocolaty and creamy.

These restaurants offering small dishes will hopefully encourage you to try something new while in Las Vegas.