Pass the platter, please. At one point in its long history, the late, great Campanile introduced family night on Mondays, one three-course menu served family-style from platters. At the time, when plated food ruled in restaurants, the idea seemed radical. More importantly, a good time was had by all.
Eating family-style is convivial and fun. Everybody at the table is eating the same thing, so no regretting the plate you wish you had ordered. And you also get more than the single bite you might get of a shared small plate. Dig in, there are plenty of delicious bites ahead.
Zach Pollack (Sotto) puts a handful of platters on the menu every night at his new solo project in Silver Lake. How can you resist when that enormous, beautifully caramelized pork shank lands at the table next to you? Or when the platter of bagna cauda, Piedmont's "warm bath" of anchovies, garlic and butter and an array of farmers market vegetables to dip in it, sails by? Pollack is grilling whole orata, too, and serves it with earthy beans, hot Calabrian pepper and a pesto Trapanese. I'm craving his sumptuous bollito misto (mixed boiled meats) of brisket and tongue served with freshly made polenta, house-made horseradish and a spunky plum mostarda.
1710 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 928-2888, http://www.alimentola.com. Platters, $29 to $48.
Leave it to Kogi founder Roy Choi to reimagine the hot pot experience at his new restaurant at the Line Hotel in K-Town. They come in three sizes: "with a friend," "a few is more than two" and "group love." "Redondo Beach" gets you spicy crab with tofu in a smoldering broth. "Jamaal Wilkes" has plenty of heat, too, and a load of silky tofu, shrimp, clams, mussels, and kimchi with pork belly. Short ribs with chestnuts and dates has a milder, sweet broth. "Boot Knocker," a nostalgic Korean American pot that includes Spam and other canned meats and instant ramen, may be more of an acquired taste.
3515 Wilshire Blvd. (at Normandie), Los Angeles, (213) 368-3030, http://www.eatatpot.com. Hot pots, $30 to $96. No reservations.
Tar & Roses
Andrew Kirschner puts out a slew of rustic small plates at Tar & Roses and you can have a wonderful meal here nibbling on this and that. But at the very bottom of the menu, he has some options for a family-style meal for four and up that have to be ordered seven days in advance. It's definitely worth planning ahead with friends to feast on succulent wood-fired goat with Moroccan-inspired accompaniments or to indulge in messy, delicious Singaporean chili crab with jasmine rice. He's got paella with eggplant and romesco sauce too. And for the more traditional-minded, a classic standing rib rack.
602 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 587-0700, tarandroses.com. Family style dinners (order 7 days in advance), $42 to $60 per person.