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Oct 21, 2006 06:35 PM

Does any one except me not love tasting menus?

Maybe I am repeating an old topic, I am new to chowhound. But I am not a huge fan of tasting menus and they seem to crop up all over the place now. I'm surprised MacDonald's hasn't come up with McTasting. When I am out with a group, they take forever, I don't always like the choices and even though the portions are small I get full and bored way before the end. The theory is nice, you get to taste a little of a number of things, but I get the feeling they benefit the restaurant more than the customer.

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  1. I'm with you on this. Just too many things I don't want to taste, but it's great for those (incl. chefs) who are adventurous.

      1. I dislike tasting menus, too.

        For me, the portions of each course are too small to get a clear image of what I'm supposed to be tasting, and if's something I DO like, I want more than one tiny bite. Also, sometimes when an entire table orders a tasting menu, each person gets different dishes and people inevitably want to taste each others food so already tiny servings get split into even tinier bits. It gets so ridiculous and unfulfilling that at the end of the whole affair I feel like I'd rather have just not eaten any of the food at all.

        Usually after I've eaten a tasting menu, I'm either still hungry, or worse, stuffed but not really "satisfied" because I've just eaten a dozen courses of bits and pieces that were too ephemeral to make an impression on my palate but have made quite an impression in my gut and the host's wallet. It's like the culinary equivalent of channel surfing for two hours versus watching a great movie in it's entirety.

        1. It depends:
          - Tasting menus designed by the chef with no subs and all the courses small I do not like
          - Tasting menus that have the last course as an entree size, you're getting better
          - Tasting menu that I can design (choice which dishes I want off the regular menu) and all but the last course are small and the last course entree size I like

          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            Why do you want the last course larger?

            Also, isn't the last course going to be desert or cheese? Or do you mean the last course before those?

            Also, what if the first (or some other) course were entree size and the rest appetizer size -- does it have to the last course? Or do you just want a bigger main item?

            1. re: Atahualpa

              The penultimate course is larger if dessert is a "course" of course. Thank you Mr. Ed.

              The idea i refer to is if your order four non-dessert courses, you receive the first three as small and the last like any other entree sized portion. Customer get to choose the biggie.

          2. I, for one, love tasting menus.

            1. I am a very adventurous eater though. I'll have, and have had, just about anything.

            2. When I'm at a restaurant I like, I always want to order as many things as I can and a tasting menu is one step closer to that.

            3. I like to small portions. I find they are more than enough to make an impression on my palate. If it is good, I'll be able to remember it from just that small bite. If it isn't the best, it is forgettable. Whereas if I order an a là carte entree and I don't like it, I'm stuck with it.

            4. I often get bored with an entrée -- even a great entrée -- long before I'm finished it. I'd rather have two smaller thigns than one big one.

            The annalogy with channel surfing is somewhat apt. Except it is more like watching six 30-minute shows instead of a 3-hour movie. I certainly don't want to be stuck watching a movie I picked only by its title and description if I don't absolutely love it. I'd rather watch 6 short programmes -- even if only 4 are good.

            Of course there are exceptions. If I've seen a movie by the director before, or know the subject well, I'm more likely to commit to it. Simlarly, if I've eaten at the restaurant before and remember what I loved from the tasting, or they have a particular dish I've been dying to try or longing for, I'll forgo a tasting menu.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Atahualpa

              I too love tasting menus, for many of the reasons you listed above. I really like sampling many different things, and the small portions enable me to do that without being overstuffed. And I can try something interesting or unique without having to commit to it as the only thing I'm eating--it allows me to branch out and try new things I would be reluctant to order entree-size. And I find that the tasting menu is often where the chef features his/her most creative signature dishes--not only do I get to sample many things, but those are often the dishes the chef really wants to feature. So I am decidedly pro-tasting menu.