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Small Bites Big Nights
(Clarkson Potter, Publishers) ISBN 978-0307337931 0307337936

This appetizer cookbook features recipes made with the freshest seasonal produce from local markets. The variety of flavors from multiple small dishes allows readers to create a mixture of textures, tastes and sensory experiences.

Small dishes encourage sharing, whether served for a cocktail reception or a formal dinner. The food and cocktail recipes are from Table 8's lounge menu.

Cooking tips

The 256-page hardcover book begins with a list of essential items to stock in a pantry. Govind Armstrong provides helpful ideas, e.g., how to whip up tasty dishes for surprise guests or make substitutions for unavailable ingredients.

His cookbook lists shortcuts, e.g. for roasting garlic. Personal comments about ingredients, cooking styles and flavor combinations appear in introductions to each chapter and recipe.

Mouthwatering, excellent full-page color images illustrate the recipes. Each recipe in Small Bites Big Nights is ranked from easy to challenging.

Wine pairing

Educ8 sidebars provide background information on shopping for ingredients and cooking tips. For example, how to select and store cheeses and why Indonesian sambal adds more flavor than Tabasco sauce.

Altern8 sidebars suggest alternative ingredients or techniques. Recipes include suggestions for garnishing and wine pairing.

Recipes from Table 8 menu

Tangerine scream. Basil mint mojito. Scotch quail eggs with chorizo. Roasted sunchoke soup with pear and blue cheese croutons. Foie gras-stuffed quail with butter lettuce, red flame grapes and Meyer lemon relish. Seared Kobe beef on mini Yorkshire pudding and horseradish cream. Buckwheat crepes with blood orange and gelato. Carrot cake with cream cheese mousse.

Small Bites Big Nights


  • Foreword by Tyler Florence
  • Introduction
  • Pantry
  • Celebr8: Cocktails & hors d'oeuvres
  • From Grill to Pl8
  • Dinner for 8
  • Cre8: Secrets of the Kitchen
  • S8: Comfort Foods
  • D8: Sexy Savories
  • L8 night: Lounge Foods
  • Sources
  • Index


Govind Armstrong, at age 13, started his apprenticeship peeling carrots in Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant. Now he is the executive chef and co-owner of Table 8 restaurants in Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas and New York City. He consults for Air New Zealand, is a member of Macy's Culinary Council and has appeared on Food Network's Iron Chef America.

There is no easy way to perfection, according to Govind Armstrong, who learned how to make mayonnaise by hand whisking - five gallons at a time. Recipes, in Small Bites Big Nights, resulted from Govind's experiments in his home kitchen, like making pestos with unique ingredients such as arugula.

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