The invasion of the small plates is not finished, oh no. It is marching down our streets and avenues, invading our towns and villages, leaving behind nothing in its wake but duck-slider crumbs, remnants of Fiscalini bandaged cheddar and sticky drops of California sauvignon blanc. You may attempt to escape, to fortify yourself with the vulgar large plates that once represented cuisine, but against Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts, pork-belly bánh mì, grilled pecorino sandwiches flavored with black truffle, and rillettes of either duck or pork, resistance is as futile as attempting to determine why a restaurant might be called The Vol. 94.
Sure, you may be in Pasadena, in a bright restaurant across from the Paseo, and sure, you may be munching on a Thanksgiving-leftover sandwich — really, cranberry sauce, stuffing and everything — and a handful of nuts toasted in duck fat. You may be wondering where you've tasted anything like the beet salad with goat cheese or the albacore salad with ponzu (answer: just about everywhere), trying to figure out why the watercress soup tastes like new-mown lawn, or wrapping your mind around the idea of McSweetbreads, which is to say chicken-fried thymus glands with honey-mustard dippin' sauce. Rest easy: The terrorists have won.
The Vol. 94: 239 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 356-9494. thevol94.com.