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Nov 11, 2011 04:45 PM

Are you more likely to order a smaller dessert?

Recent article in the NYT about the popularity of mini desserts:

If you are in a restaurant, would you be more likely to order dessert if it's only a few bites for a few dollars? Or do you want something big to thoroughly indulge in, or do you never order dessert, no matter what?

The theory is that a lot of people just want a bite or two of something sweet, and don't want to spend the calories or the cash on a regular (even if reasonable and not big-as-your-head) sized dessert. Makes sense especially in this economy, and pastry chefs who enjoy full employment would be wise to adapt. Are mini desserts as appealing in a restaurant setting as elsewhere? Does it depend on the formality of the restaurant? If presented with a menu of several small desserts, would it be fun to pick 2 or 3 or 4 to share with your dining companion, putting together your own sampler plate? If you're not a huge sweets fan, would you be more tempted by something smaller?

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  1. I would be more likely to order a dessert if it were smaller. As the article says, often I will just want a "little something sweet" as opposed to following a full meal with a BIG slab of dessert (unless I were sharing with someone, in which case, we would each be getting a little something sweet). The advantage is that if I really want to splurge and get a bigger dessert, I can order extra (and try something different, if I want to, and if I don't, then I don't end up eating a lot of superfluous calories.
    I'd also prefer to have a small-sized REALLY GOOD dessert than an enormous bowl/slice of something mediocre.
    Let me add that I am more impressed by a medium-priced, simply garnished YUMMY dessert than I am with a higher-priced dessert that is surrounded by melted sugar formed into fish and a drawing on the plate made with raspberry coulis.

    1. Absolutely. I usually only want a couple bites, so unless my husband and I agree, I often don't have any dessert.

      1. I am the opposite I think. I usually do not order dessert, but if I do, I rather have a decent size dessert. I don't need something huge, but mini dessert won't work for me.

        Kinda of like beer. I usually do not drink, but if I drink then I want a full glass, not a quarter glass full.

        Nevertheless, this mini dessert strategy can work very well for many people.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Oh, I am with you on the beer! But I do love it when a pub offers a sampler tray of beer, which I guess is along the lines of one way to look at the OPs dessert query.

          1. re: CanadaGirl

            :) Agree. I do remember my school years when we get to sample a tray of tiny glasses of beer. I miss those days. I have also had plates of mini dessert sampler, and those were very nice.

            I think the mini dessert option is great, just like the beer sampler you mentioned. On average, though, I think I will probably still get a full glass of beer or a full plate of dessert. By the way, I usually do not get desserts. I will say less than 10% of the time I get dessert, probably less than 5%.


        2. I have appreciated smaller selections when I don't have the appetite for a full-size dessert, but would like a bite of something sweet after a restaurant meal.

          Years ago, the front room at Gramercy Tavern in NYC had an afternoon menu that included a whole selection of petite versions of the restaurant's desserts with all their trimmings, for a few dollars apiece. It was fun to go and order a selection to share, so we could taste several.

          1. I would be more likely to order something small for sure. I don't have a big sweet tooth, so paying another 10 bux (on average) for dessert is something I almost never do. The first time I discovered mini desserts was Bite of Brownie at Moxies - it's a three dollar white chocolate mini brownie served with a bit of ice cream and it's an awesome ending to a meal.