At the new place on Henderson Avenue, Jon Stevens sits outside on the patio and observes that it’s not really unusual – in the first few weeks of his and Avner Samuel’s new restaurant’s opening – for a table of four grown men to order more than one dish apiece when visiting for a meal.
So, how many would that table order?
“I’d say that two to three plates per person is about right,” Stevens says. “I’d say that would make for a good meal.”
That’s up to twelve plates for four people. Twelve.
Thinking tapas? Then you’re on the right track.
There’s a reason Samuel and Stevens decided on the name Snack for their latest restaurant; it’s a ‘global kitchen and bar’ designed to be either a stopping-off point for a well-considered drink and a bite, or a place for multiple different bites to equal a meal. The serving sizes for each of the dishes adds to a few tastes apiece, and a single serving could be accurately described as, well, a snack.
“We wanted to do something a little bit more fun on the bar side of the industry; to still do our fun take on food and still be very chef-driven, but to do something unlike Nosh. What we wanted to do was create something that is a little bit off the beaten path for Dallas,” says Stevens, the Corporate Chef at both Snack and Nosh. “So we created a concept based on the inspiration of street food. We wanted to take things from around the world, embellish them a little and make them ours. Things from different countries in Asia, South America, North America and Europe – just kind of all over the place, trying to touch on all different regions of the world. We’ve got different ceviches and other shellfish-type items that are coming from the raw bar, and we’re doing charcuterie that’s kind of changing as we feel fit.”
“So, while it’s not entirely street-food inspired – we’ve got tagine, as well – most of the small plates are drawn from that style of inspiration.”
To say the least, they’re drawing from a broad spectrum. There are Scotch quail eggs ($9) and pork carnitas tacos ($3) alongside Morroccan lamb burger snacks ($10) and Filipino Lumpia ($7) – at least, today. The static menu rotates by three or four different items weekly, and a chalkboard menu display’s the day’s unique offerings. It’s enough to supply the variety-seeking eater with ever-changing food firsts. And the fact that the plates can be – in fact, they’re meant to be – shared, not only allows diners get to taste a variety of the restaurant’s offerings, but it also helps to generate convivial atmosphere in the restaurant.
Of course, the drinks help with that, too.
“This is truly on a small-plate; tapas style. It’s designed to really lay it out on the table and have everybody share it, as a group. And we even designed that with our larger stuff as well; our tagine and paella are designed to share. I mean, you could do it if you’re really hungry, but it’s more fun to get one of each in a large party and have fun experiencing different things,” Stevens says. “But this is also a place where you can pop in and get a cocktail and order a bite – that’s the true intention of our name. We want people to know that they can do that here. We have a big bar; we have counter seating just for that alone, and we don’t want people to think that they’re keeping tables hostage from us simply because they want to relax and enjoy themselves, maybe have a glass of champagne and have a little bite before they go and eat with a big group somewhere else. So, for that drink, we’ve got a very eclectic beer list, as well as a cocktail menu that I think is on the path of what people like to see right now – it’s not too over the top as far as the mixology scene goes. There are four items in a two-minute make time, which means you can get a solid cocktail pretty quickly.”
And while stopping by Snack is encouraged by Stevens before heading out into the night, he’s also encouraging those with a late-night taco craving to stop on by afterwards, too. From Thursday to Saturday, Snack will stay open until 1 a.m., offering $2 tacos to those who may perhaps need a little nourishment after a big evening.
“You can pop in have a cocktail or beer or whatever, and get some tacos for on the real cheap, and you’ll know that they’ll be good quality,” he says.
It’s food from everywhere, and it’s intended to appeal to everyone. They welcome those looking for a meal, and those looking for a bite. Snack is certainly no misnomer, but if you do stop by there with your friends for a taste of something, don’t be surprised if you can’t help yourself from ordering more than just a single plate.
You may find you end up with twelve.