La Carte and Table dHte

An à la carte menu (Figure 5.1) is one in which each individual item is listed separately, with its own price.The customer makes selections from the various courses and side dishes to make up a meal. (Note:The term à la carte is also used to refer to cooking to order, as opposed to cooking ahead in large batches.)

Table d'hôte (tobble dote) originally meant a fixed menu with no choices—like a meal you would be served if you were invited to someone's home for dinner. Banquet menus are familiar examples of this kind of menu. The term has also come to mean a menu that offers a selection of complete meals at set prices. In other words, a customer may choose from among several selections, each of which includes an entrée and side dishes plus other courses, such as appetizer, salad, and dessert. Each full meal selection has a single package price.

Many restaurants use a combination of à la carte and table d'hôte selections. For example, a steak house may include salad, potato, vegetable, and beverage with the entrée choice, while additional dishes like appetizers and desserts may be offered at extra cost.

Closely related to the table d'hôte menu is the prix fixe (pree fix), meaning "fixed price," menu. On a pure prix fixe menu, only

Figure 5.1 one price is given. Each guest may choose one selection from each course offered, and

An example of an à la carte menu from a fine- the total meal costs the single price indicated. Often, on such menus, a few items fea-dining restaurant. turing costly ingredients carry an extra charge, called a supplement .The supplement is

Curtesy of JP AmeHcan mst^ MinneapoNs, MN usually indicated in parentheses after the listing. It is best to limit the number of sup plements as much as possible.Too many extra charges on a prix fixe menu can leave customers frustrated and angry.

A special variety of the prix fixe menu sometimes used in fine restaurants is the tasting menu, also known by its French name, menu dégustation. A tasting menu (Figure 5.2) is offered in addition to the regular menu and gives patrons a chance to try a larger number of the chef's creations.The menu may feature 5 or 6 or even as many as 10 or 12 individual courses served in small portions. Because of the complexity of service, a restaurant may require that the tasting menu can be served only if everyone at the table orders it.Tasting menus may change daily, depending on the chef's choices and the availability of ingredients.

BUILDING THE MENU

A course is a food or group of foods served at one time or intended to be eaten at the same time. In a restaurant, the courses are normally served in sequence, allowing enough time for each to be eaten before the next is served. In a cafeteria, the customers may select all their courses at once—appetizer, salad, main dish and vegetables, and dessert, for example—but eat them in a particular order.

In the following pages,we discuss the principles that apply to planning the courses that make up a menu.The main purpose of these principles is to lend variety and interest to a meal.They are not arbitrary rules you must follow for no reason.

THE CLASSICAL MENU

Today's menus are descendants of elaborate banquet menus served in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.These menus had 12 or more courses, and the sequence in which they were served was well established by tradition.

SOUP OF THE DAY

PIADINA SERVED WITH ROASTED FRUIT, SAGE HONEY AND ARTISAN BLUE CHEESE $10.50

BISTRO HOUSE SALAD WITH BABY GREENS, BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE AND MANCHEGO $7.00

STAR PRAIRIE SMOKED TROUT SALAD WITH BIBB LETTUCE AND WARM HORSERADISH/CREME FRAICHE DRESSING $10.50

CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD WITH BABY ROMAINE, PARMESAN AND SEMOLINA CROUTONS $8.50

WITH OIL-PACKED SPANISH ANCHOVIES ADD $2

SASHIMI OF TUNA SERVED ON BABY ARUGULA, PICKLED PINEAPPLE AND FRESH MINT $12.50

BISTRO CALAMAR1 WITH THAI DIPPING SAUCE

HOUSE-MADE FETTUCINI TOSSED WITH CHICKEN CONFIT, ORGANIC BROCCOLI, HARISSA AND PARMESAN $ I B.SO

POTATO GNOCCHI WITH ORGANIC GREEN BEANS, TOASTED HAZELNUT CREME FRAICHE, AND CHIVE OIL $17.50

CARNAROLI RISOTTO WITH WILD MUSHROOMS, SWEET ONIONS AND GREMOLATA $22.50

PAN-SEARED GROUPER SERVED ON YUKON GOLD POTATO PUREE WITH BROWN BUTTER SPINACH AND BLOOD ORANGE RELISH $27.50

WILD ACRES DUCK CONFIT RAVIOLI TOSSED WITH AN APPLE CIDER DEMI-GLACE, SHAVED APPLE AND FRIED SAGE $19. SO

JP'S RUSTIC PIZZA WITH APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON, CASHEW/CURRANT PESTO AND PECORINO-ROMANO $11.00

PIZZA WITH SAN MARZANO TOMATO SAUCE, BASIL AND HOUSE-MADE MOZZARELLA $10.50

PIZZA OF THE DAY MARKET

SEARED MINNESOTA FOIE GRAS SERVED WITH CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS AND QUINCE CONFIT $15.00

SIDES

YUKON GOLD POTATO PURÉE $4.50 OR STEAMED JASMINE RICE $3.SO

POMMES FRITES WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA OR VEGETABLE OF THE DAY $4.50

BOWL OF OLIVES $3.50

SEARED RIB-EYE RUBBED WITH GREEN THAI CURRY AND SERVED WITH HOUSE-PICKLED PINEAPPLE, JICAMA AND RED ONION SALAD $28.50

PAN-ROASTED VENISON STEAK ON YUKON GOLD POTATO PURÉE WITH ROASTED BRÜSSEL SPROUTS AND A CRANBERRY RED WINE REDUCTION $32.50

BONE-IN PORK TENDERLOIN BRAISED WITH APPLE, ONION AND SWEET CURRY, SERVED WITH GOLDEN RAISIN-RED BELL PEPPER RELISH $24.50

SLOW-ROASTED DUCK BREAST AND CONFIT OF DUCK LEG WITH SPINACH/MANGO SALAD AND ORANGE-M1 SO VINAIGRETTE $28.50

ENTRÉE OF THE DAY MARKET

The following sequence of courses is typical of one that may have been served at a great banquet early in the twentieth century.

1. Cold hors d'oeuvre small, savory appetizers

2. Soup clear soup, thick soup, or broth

3. Hot hors d'oeuvre small, hot appetizers

4. Fish any seafood item

5. Main course or pièce de resistance a large cut of roasted or braised meat, usually beef, lamb, or venison, with elaborate vegetable garnishes

6. Hot entrée individual portions of meat or poultry, broiled, braised, or panfried, etc.

7. Cold entrée cold meats, poultry,fish,pâté, and so on

8. Sorbet a light ice or sherbet, sometimes made of wine, to refresh the appetite before the next course

9. Roast usually roasted poultry, accompanied by or followed by a salad

10. Vegetable usually a special vegetable preparation, such as artichokes or asparagus, or a more unusual vegetable such as cardoons

11. Sweet what we call dessert—cakes and tarts,pudding,soufflés,etc.

12. Dessert fruit and cheese and, sometimes, small cookies or petits fours

i

4

VEGETABLE TASTING MENU

AUTUMN TASTING HfHU

Artichoke Barigoule with Roasteq Pepper T*hn*de AKD HESS Salad

Torchon or Fou Gras with Fia« Pistachio

4KB Must

Wkiîî Beam Punit with Eîcarole. Roasted Tdmato

AND LlMOK C 0 K FIT

Sea Scallop with Sblrift. Sautermib ahd Vanilla

Roasted Root Vegetables with Spurue amd Tiurrn Vjh ai guette

Turrot with Lentils, Savoy Casmc t Root Veoet* rlci amd Red Wine

Polcmta Cake with Pros ano Wiltso Greens

Braired Fresh Bacom with Mortarda amd Chebtnut-Hdwe* Glased Turnips

Muihioom Tart Tatin

Racr or Lamb with Artichokes, Tomato am» Olive Gratih

Dessert Amuse

Dessert Amuse

Tastimo Dessert

Tastihd Dessert

Petit« Four«

Petit« Fours

75

90

TAMTtMO Menu» Require the Fartjcipatiom or THE Ektire Tasle

Tasting Menus Require the Paftjcepatiok or the Entire Tarlz

Figure 5.2

An example of two tasting menus from a fine-dining restaurant

Gramercy Tavern, New York, NY

Figure 5.2

An example of two tasting menus from a fine-dining restaurant

Gramercy Tavern, New York, NY

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