April 5, 2004 | Ask Gael
Haven’t you had it with small plates and sharing?

         I always dreamed my life would be a smorgasbord, and it is. I loved picking three or four $5 items and two or three at $10 and $15 to share with pals when chef Gerry Hayden promoted free choice at Amuse. But choice can unhinge the timid. The new menu still offers “tastes for sampling and sharing.” Creamy ham-and-cheese gougères, crisp porcini-and-Pecorino rice balls, and the caramelized Brussels sprouts are my favorites, followed by salmon two ways with chive potato cake, orecchiette with fennel sausage, or baked macaroni with mushrooms, all at modest prices. But now grazing-phobes will find comfort in a lineup boldly labeled “main dishes” that offers Hayden’s savory Moroccan-style mixed grill, pork tenderloin with risotto, five-hour-braised beef short ribs with caramelized scallops or a New York strip (a side of chipotle-aïoli fries is essential). If you’re too exhausted to decide, let the chef deliver his $55 sampling.

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