Fine Dining: Defined

Looking at a menu and trying to get an idea of the course is tough when you have to translate every other word.  Many of the unfamiliar terms you will find are French, because french cooking is the basis for most Chefs today.  Here are some handy french words to have in your back pocket in order to decipher what your about to order.

Aïoli (ay-oh-lee): a garlic mayonnaise

Aillada: spicy garlic and oil sauce

Aillade: garlic and walnut sauce

Á la mode: a term to describe a dessert served with a scoop of ice cream.

Au four:  baked

A la poêle: pan sauteed

Á l’etouffée: stewed

Á la broche: cooked on a skewer

Apéritif: pre-dinner drink, cocktail

Aiguillettes:  long, thin slices (of meat)

Bavaroise: cold dessert, rich custard with cream and gelatin

Bisque:  seafood soup

Billy Bi (or By): cream of mussel soup (who’da thought!)

Le coq au vin:  chicken in red wine sauce

Crudités: raw vegetables

Digestif: an after dinner drink

Dégustation: a tasting menu (small servings of multiple dishes: good way to have a variety and often you get to taste some pretty unique dishes!)

Entrée – appetizer/starter (not to be confused with the English term: entree, which means main course)

Mariniére: served with a white sauce

Le plat du jour: daily special

Le plat principal: main course

Terrine: similar to paté, a forcemeat loaf served at room temperature. Forcemeat is meat that has been ground or finely chapped.

Farci:  stuffed

Foie Gras: liver of an animal, often duck or goose, usually served as a pate

Steak Tartare: made with raw, mashed beef ( :S watch out for that one!)

I suppose you could always ask the server if you didn’t understand a term, but why do that when you could show off your knowledge to your friends or date!

2 thoughts on “Fine Dining: Defined

  1. good idea! I can’t even understand half the menu sometimes at high-end joints. As for tartare, reminds me of a delicious tuna tartare with salsa I had in Toronto a while back. deeelicious.

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