24 Small Plates in 24 Hours: Lunch
1:12 p.m.: Till Dynamic Fare
A brief glance at Till's brunch menu confirms I had misremembered Till serving small plates. They have Snacks, which are co-branded as appetizers and thus disqualified, and Plates, which are, for all intents and purposes, entrees. Argh.
I briefly consider cheating and ordering snacks, but decide it's too early in the day to start breaking rules. We order two drinks and revise the schedule. Some quick Googling tells us the newly opened Manifesto serves a small plates-heavy menu all day, every day.
2:15 p.m. Manifesto
Manifesto, a sister restaurant to De-Novo Bistro, is filled with oversized leather couches, deep round booths and flickering chandeliers. In other words, it's a lovely space to cozy up in on this rainy, gray Sunday.
We're the only people here at this in-between-meals hour. That is, until a woman wanders in off the street after peeking through the windows, intent on reading all of the quotes on the walls. Yes, an awful lot of quotes have been painstakingly painted onto these walls, ranging from bits of presidential wisdom to song lyrics to humorous quips.
Manifesto calls itself a Scotch bar, so we ease into our small plates lunch with a worth-it Laphroaig-spiked Smoked Bloody Mary ($12).
Our first plate, the beef carpaccio ($18), is the most expensive of the day and also the best. This striking dish embodies the wisdom of treating quality ingredients simply, allowing them to shine.
Thin ribbons of rare Kobe beef are arranged in a rose-hued mosaic, set off by drizzles of truffle aioli, shaved parmesan and fried capers, plus a cap of micro greens. This is American-style Kobe, sourced from Snake River Farms, and it's velvety in texture and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I could eat it all day.
The Beef Cheek ($10) is hearty comfort food. A sauce made with Glenkinchie 12-year Scotch adds dimension to the hunk of slow-braised beef, which teeters atop a heap of wild mushroom risotto.
Served in a small porcelain crock, the Eggplant Rotelli ($7) is an Italian classic-crispy fried eggplant stuffed with provolone and prosciutto that gets some kick from a spicy marinara.