Northern Michigan has discovered small plates, wonderful flavors. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find throughout the North.

Gulf Shrimp

Succulent Gulf Shrimp are seared and served over house-made roasted eggplant ravioli and topped with a slightly incendiary rustic pomodoro. Hang on to your holiday cheer when deciding who gets the last bite. Cava, 795 Front St., Bay Harbor, 439-2282

Tempura Chicken Skewers

Couture skewers taken to the next level: the chicken is poached in ginger-scented court bouillon before a cloaking in crispytempura batter. Soba noodle slaw with Napa cabbage and bright ponzu dressing is refreshing and reminiscent of warmer
weather. Resist the urge to drink the wasabi lime mustard (it’s that good). Sage, Odawa Casino, Petoskey, 344-4420

Roasted Pork Tostadas

Chef Anthony Craig’s Nicaraguan/Cuban heritage shines in this not-so-small, pan-Latin Tostada featuring flavorful Cuban-style pork, black beans, and a zippy salsa based on Columbian Aji (puree of jalapeno, lime juice and salt). Cool relief comes in the form of cumin-scented sour cream. Firefly, 310 Cass St., Traverse City, 932-1310 Mozzarella & Grilled

Vegetable Packets

Mediterranean vegetables are marinated, grilled and wrapped around sublimely fresh house-made mozzarella and accompanied by roasted red peppers, capers and a proprietary balsamic glaze (one whole gallon of vinegar reduced toless than a quart). Vegetarians rejoice! Tuscan Bistro, 12930 SW Bayshore Dr., Traverse City, 922-7795

Charcuterie Plate

Charcutiere/Executive Chef Chris Hoffman manifests his talents in ostrich and duck pâté, crispy pork belly with Cincinnati spices and a texturally magnificent Romanstyle cured beef (air-cured after a soaking in Pinot Noir and savory herbs). Enjoy with house-made Guinness mustard, cornichons, olives and warm bread, or augment with an artisan cheese selection. Riverside Inn, 302 E. River St., Leland, 256-9971

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