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Tapas Time with Mom and Mom at Meditrina

Feeling peckish for lunch? Want to try something new for dinner, but aren’t sure if you’ll want a huge heaping plate of it? Hungry for tapas with a twist?

Meditrina Small Plates & Wine Bar can help you with all that. For the last two months head chef Jen Gilroy and her partner, front of house manager Amy Britt have been running this café on 1394 S West Temple has been offering tasty salads, sandwiches and, of course, the “small plate” cuisine that sets it apart from any other restaurant in the neighborhood — and maybe even the city.

So what is “small plate” dining? It has nothing to do with the size of the dish, says Gilroy, but rather the type of foods on the dish—in this case, several appetizers served together, a concept is similar to Spanish tapas, or finger foods. But while Meditrina serves such Spanish-influenced tapas as patatas bravas (grilled potatoes with shallots, tomato aioli and chili oil), its appetizers are more accurately called fusion dining.

“You can bring in any flare from anywhere in the world and call it [fusion] and not be infringing on the tapas style,” she explained.

And Meditrina’s appetizers do draw from just about everywhere in the world. Their current menu (which rotates roughly two or three times a year) offers decidedly Italian bruschetta and prosciutto, Middle Eastern hummus, Thai chicken satay, and Indian-inspired curry lime prawns over basmati rice.

Britt said she and Gilroy became interested in fusion dining when traveling the U.S. When stopping to eat, the couple found that many cafes had the same “casual eclectic feel” to their menus as the two wish to bring to Meditrina’s.

“We didn’t want to have just one style of dish, we’d order lots of different appetizers so we could have a lot of tastes going on,” she said.

Along with giving their diners a variety of different tastes, the couple also caters to the different tastes of their diners. Several items on their lunch and dinner menus, for example, are vegetarian or vegan, or can be made so on request. And for diners who want something bigger than a finger foods plate, Meditrina offers salads, sandwiches, burgers and even linguini for lunch, and shepherds pie for dinner. Diners who want to shop local first can also rest assured that Meditrina tries to be, in Gilroy’s words “as organic and local as possible.” In fact, many of their menu changes are brought about to offer tasty seasonal vegetables and fruit from Utah’s farms.

Since tapas, antipasto and other finger foods also go better with wine, Meditrina also boasts a classy wine list with several red, white and sparkling/rose selections, as well as a bevy of fine beers. Few of which are over $8 a glass and many far under this price—the better for oenophiles who want to sample drinks as much as food.

In the coming months, Gilroy and Britt hope expand their beer and wine list and offer a Sunday brunch service beginning in April to attract “some of the baseball crowd” from the nearby Quest Field. The portions will be “more traditional sized,” said Gilroy, and will cover “everything from heavy and greasy to very light.”

They’re also looking to involve diners in several activities, including monthly wine tastings and charitable work. On March 15, the restaurant will hold a catered silent auction benefit for the Utah Humane Society, called Paws for Wine, with prizes including original artwork by Jan Moulding, gift certificates and cheese tasting classes.

For now, the couple is happy to be part of what Britt calls “the up and coming” West Temple neighborhood.

“Come in and try something different and you don’t have to be afraid to commit to a $12 glass of wine and a $20 entree,” said Gilroy. “We’re as mom and mom as it gets.”

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