Small Plates Going Out of Style?
Evidently Graze recently closed (after recently opening). Ditto X/O, the small-plates style restaurant in Lakeview. The chef at both restaurants (and isn't that a bad run of luck?) opines:
"I don't think the city of Chicago wants it," he says of diminutive plates. "They're great in concept, but it's a hard sell. Everybody still wants to see a big steak."
What do you think?
I think that the demise of Graze has more to do with the execution than the concept. I went there once, just a couple weeks ago. My friend and I ordered about 7 small plates combined. Of those, only two were memorable, and a couple were bland to the point that we didn't even want to finish them.
There are a few Chicago restuarants that are doing well with small plates. Besides the obvious, longstanding tapas places, Quartino's is thriving with small plates.
My personal take is that you can pretty much count on an uneven experience the first time you try any small-plate restaurant. The pace of the meal, how much to order, what goes well with what, what to drink with so many different types of food. And with so many other options, I rarely make it back to give a restaurant a second chance unless I'm really happy with the experience the first time around.