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Mass Ave video-and-vodka bar, Tini (717 Massachussetts Ave., 317-384-1313), has joined forces with fellow Mass Ave resident Hoaglin to Go Cafe for a new fall lineup of small plates called “Tini bites.” Tini’s previous working relationship with Dented Ladle Dining ended amicably, with the previous fare a bit more intricate to make than Tini owner Brad Kime envisioned for his bar, which remains primarily a sleek, upscale spot given to showing a Prince music video while muddling the blueberries at the bottom of a hit drink, the Purple Raintini.
About those drinks: The Pumpkin Patch tini does no wrong. Whipped vodka, pumpkin liqueur, half and half, and frangelico collide for a concoction that’s not overly saccharine, rather just right. Also new: a Spicy Mangotini, with Three Olives Mango, Absolut Peppar, simple syrup, lemon juice, and soda. The tinge of tabasco at the end of a sip of this one sticks with you, though in a good way.
Now on the menu, with Hoaglin at the helm, is a simplified array of delights, some even seasonal. Here's what's charting:
Going solo: If you've got the time or the appetite for but one small plate, make it the seasonal torta. Yes, the Gorgonzola proscuitto is delicious, but the house-made crostini and flatbreads make perfect platforms for the star here, a pecan-and-apricot torta.
Multi-platinum: Tini's petite fall antipasto platter features meats and cheeses, among them aged hard salami, shaved proscuitto, herbed goat cheese, and gouda. The cheeses reign, with the gouda a particular winner, perched wonderfully on flatbread with salami and/or pear. What also makes this plate a sensation is that all of its moving parts pair well with each other. You can't do this app wrong, and it's served with lemon caper and balsamic caramelized onion.
Two-hit wonder: A sauce blending the tones of roasted red pepper and sundried tomato augments the mushroom gruyere veggie sliders. Couched in asiago buns, this is the vegetarian pick for those who don't think they can eat such a dish.
Deep cut: The curried chicken puff pastry bites are long on the pastry and the curry flavoring, good for those who enjoy the latter. Those who do will do well to pair this plate with the aforementioned Spicy Mangotini.