Ah, the shareable, infinitely interesting small plate. It’s been a national trend forever, and is slowly being embraced locally.
This year, we welcomed a couple of new small plate-centric restaurants, to the delight of diners who crave varied flavors and textures over the course of an evening. Solera features a lengthy hot and cold Spanish tapas menu. And Chow Yum Phat translated its food stand concept into a restaurant focusing on the Japanese tapas equivalent, izakaya. It offers lots of lively, inventive dishes that borrow from different Asian traditions. These bites are just a few of what you’ll find at each restaurant.
Opened August 2019
4205 Perkins Road
Honoring Spain’s Moorish influence, this dish features ground lamb mixed with Arabic spices, skewered, grilled and served with Romesco sauce, a traditional tomato-based sauce for grilled meats.
Solera’s version of this tapas mainstay is a parboiled fingerling potato, flattened and pan fried, creating a crispy exterior and a tender center. Dip the potatoes in a spicy, housemade ketchup called Bravas sauce.
Mejillones en Azàfran
Steamed mussels have been a popular menu item at Solera, and this version deploys a compound butter made with saffron, garlic, shallots, thyme and rosemary. Sop fresh crusty bread in the buttery liquor that pools around the tender mussels.
CHOW YUM PHAT
Opened September 2019
2363 Hollydale Ave.
From left to right:
Soft-Shell Crab Bao
Baton Rouge has fallen in love with bao, Chinese buns traditionally stuffed with semi-sweet barbecued pork. Here, the springy, tender dough is paired with fried soft-shell crab and fragrant and citrusy yuzu slaw to create an exciting nibble that’s at once mellow and crunchy.
Drawing inspiration from Chinese soup dumplings, these tender packages are filled with beef tinged with five-spice powder, hoisin, chili oil and pickled jalapeños. They’re topped with herbs and signature peanut-based “crack crunch” (which you can buy by the jar).
Cygon Rib Stack
Chow Yum Phat has earned praise for its braised pork ribs both in the restaurant and through local barbecue competitions. Here, the ribs are painted with sweet-spicy chili-garlic sauce and served with pickled root vegetables. A sprinkling of crispy shallots and crack crunch gives the finishing touch.
Click here to head back to our Hot New Restaurants cover story from the December 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.