928 Broadway, nr. 21st St.; 212-780-5100
Back when life was simple and menu ordering even more so, small plates were relegated to Spanish tapas and Greek meze. Suddenly, with the past year’s Italian onslaught, we’re flooded with flotillas of stuzzichini, spuntini, cicchetti, piccolini, and provini—all lyrical terms signifying the same fried, stuffed, marinated, and grilled tidbits we used to call antipasti. Our very favorite mini-mouthfuls are found at the aptly named Bar Stuzzichini, a full-fledged Italian restaurant in the Flatiron where we like to park ourselves at the marble dining counter, gaze longingly at the prosciutto haunch and the great hollowed-out wheel of pecorino, and order up a round of nibbles, five for $24. You really can’t go wrong, but we tend to gravitate to smoky grilled scamorza, herb-zapped zucchini alla scapece, marinated octopus, puffy panelle, and baby artichokes fried to a consummate crisp.