Sometimes you’re in the mood for small plates.  Maybe it’s indecision or fear of commitment, maybe it’s a desire to eat a little less for once or to save some money, and sometimes they just look so good.

After taking in some First Friday art with the Beautiful People at Gallery Kayafas, I dropped in at Garden at the Cellar with erstwhile art buddy L.  Lots of things looked yummy, but oddly enough we ended up with an appetizer and four sides.

Beets, tater tots, scallops, parsnip puree, and garlic spinach at Garden at the Cellar

The seared scallops with romesco, hazelnuts and a green bean vinaigrette were sweet and cooked just right.  I thought the hazelnuts were a nice touch with the summery green beans.  We also had four of the six sides: roasted beets, pureed parsnips, hommade “tater tots,” and garlic spinach.  We passed on the other two potato variants, rosemary truffle fries and crispy potatoes with dijon.  The tater tots were fun and the beets were tasty, but the other two, both severed in tiny ball jars, were exceptional.

The garlic spinach wasn’t the usual spinach in garlic oil, it was spinach with a generous number of roasted garlic cloves interspersed for a warm, nutty, garlic mush that would have been delicious on its own.  The parsnip puree was pretty much just that – I don’t know where Gilson gets his parsnips this time of year – and it was simple parsnippy goodness, bitter and tangy and sweet all at the same time.  We were fortunate to have some bread left to swab the insides of the jars.

== update august 9 ==

Garden at the Cellar is boycotting Summer Restaurant Week (official and unofficial sites) which is August 9-21.  A little screed included with the check puts it thusly:

…Summertime foodie favorites now feature more than speedy service, unexpectedly long wait lists and menu changes that, let’s be honest, aren’t always for the better. … In fact, we’re going to to boycott restaurant week and stay just the same!”

It goes on to note that GatC will be adding some “brand new noshes” so I guess they’re not staying exactly the same, but restaurant week or no, I look forward to more local and seasonal goodness.