Death of the Entree?

December 5, 2007

Kim Severson, the fantastic food writer for the New York Times, has an interesting piece in today’s edition about the decline of the entree in American restaurants. People enjoy small plates and like to mix and match their tastes. Look at Jujube’s multi-course offering, the opening of Six Plates, or the huge number of tapas-style restaurants in the Triangle, and you’ll see that this phenomenon is not unique to the huge cities. And frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

Whether it’s family style, a chef’s degustation of single-bite fare, or tapas, it’s fun to eat this way. It promotes sharing. It encourages experimentation, where you’re not spending 25 bucks on something that you’re not sure you’ll like. Chefs like it, too, as Jean-Georges Vongerichten said, “It’s easier for me to please you with three or four bites.” And frankly, it makes more money for the restaurants.

No, the entree is not headed toward extinction any time soon. And as Severson points out, dining has only featured an entree in the last 80 years, so if it does head to the sideline for awhile, we’ll all be just fine.