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TGI Friday's Latches on to the Small Plates Menu Trend

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Photo: TGI Friday's

What wilting restaurant trend is a national chain sucking the lifeblood out of for its own nefarious purposes now? TGI Friday's has announced they'll be launching a new small plates menu, what they're calling the "Taste & Share" menu. There are seven dishes total, so you could even do an ironic tasting menu or whatever it is that's hip these days. (It actually seems more like they're supposed to be bar snacks.) Anyway, these include Thai Pork Tacos (with sriracha aioli, obviously), Bacon Mac & Cheese Bites (made with three types of cheese and it comes with craft beer cheese dipping sauce), and Corned Beef & Swiss Sliders served on a pretzel roll. What, no ramps? Anyway, the entree-haters should be happy: small plates are going mainstream.

Other restaurant trends chains have tried to co-opt with varying degrees of success: craft beer, open kitchens, clubbing, fusion, seasonal food, food trucks, and upscale lounges. Below, a press release:

TGI Fridays(SM) Unveils New Taste & Share Menu
Fridays(SM) expands its menu to include seven items on its Taste and Share menu, three fresh new cocktails and a larger selection of regional craft beers

Apr 24, 2013

CARROLLTON, Texas, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Fridays is introducing its new Taste & Share menu featuring seven perfectly-sized, lower-priced selections that are great for splitting with friends and trying a bit of everything. Of course, the exciting flavor combinations are hardly limited to the kitchen. Fridays is also stocking its bar with a new selection of regional craft beers and three new innovative scratch-made cocktails mixed and muddled by the best bartenders in the business.

The flavors on the Taste & Share menu are bold and better than ever, complimented by hand preparation, vine-fresh ingredients including avocado, basil and jalapeno as well as craveable sauces like sriracha aioli, wasabi ranch and craft-beer cheese. From the tangy Thai Pork Tacos and zesty Ahi Tuna Crisps, to the crispy Bacon Mac & Cheese Bites and savory Corned Beef & Swiss Sliders, guests are sure to find great new flavors to crave!

"We're excited about the flavor, freshness and value of our new food and drinks, which are great for sampling, sharing and celebrating," said Ricky Richardson, president, TGI Fridays USA. "So, whether guests want to get together and taste something new or are looking for a little something extra before the main course, our Taste & Share menu is perfect for any occasion."

For occasions that call for a little extra kick, Fridays is shaking it up with its three new scratch-made cocktails, the Strawberry Basil Margarita, Barbados Rum Punch and Hendricks Cooler. These latest drinks feature premium liquors, Patron Tequila, Mount Gay Eclipse Rum and Hendricks Gin, enhanced with the fresh flavors of mango, passion fruit, strawberry and cucumber. They are just the thing, whether pairing with a meal or just unwinding with friends at the bar.

More about the new menu:

Taste & Share Menu:

Thai Pork Tacos
Thai marinated pulled pork served in three soft corn tortillas, sriracha aioli, ginger-lime slaw and hoisin sauce.

Ahi Tuna Crisps
Three blackened ahi tuna slices on tortilla chips, with fresh guacamole, jalapenos, sriracha sauce and avocado vinaigrette drizzled with cucumber wasabi ranch.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Bites
Crispy bites of bacon and cheese with three varieties of cheddar and served with craft beer-cheese dipping sauce.

Garlic & Basil Bruschetta
Roma tomato, roasted garlic and fresh basil on freshly-toasted parmesan baguette crostinis with balsamic glaze.

Parmesan Meatballs
Three jumbo Italian meatballs smothered in marinara, melted Monterey jack, parmesan and romano.Topped with fresh tomato-basil bruschetta.

Corned Beef & Swiss Sliders
Two deli sliders on a pretzel roll with caramelized onions, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise.

Hibachi Skewers
Two grilled appetizer skewers marinated in a garlic and black pepper soy sauce with a miso glaze. Served with grilled pita and ginger-lime slaw, with choice of Black Angus steak or grilled chicken.

Return of a Summer Favorite:

Strawberry Fields Salado
A summer salad so loved we had to bring it back! Fresh balsamic-marinated strawberries, shaved parmesan, goat cheese and glazed pecans served over mixed greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Hand-Crafted Cocktails:

Strawberry Basil Margarita
A well balanced blend of herbs, fruit and spice featuring Patron Silver Tequila, triple sec, fresh muddled strawberries, fresh basil and our own fresh agave sour.

Barbados Rum Punch
A new rum punch featuring Mount Gay Eclipse Rum combined with mango, passion fruit and strawberry puree, Fridays' own fresh sour and a dash of Angostura Bitters.

Hendricks Cooler
A handcrafted cooler with fresh muddled cucumber, Hendricks Gin, sour apple pucker, our fresh homemade sour and lemon-lime soda.

· TGI Fridays(SM) Unveils New Taste & Share Menu [TGI Fridays via Zagat]
· All Trends Coverage on Eater [-E-]