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Jul 26, 2007 04:38 AM

The chef would like to offer...

Just some curiosity from M&M Jfood.

The jfoods and friends were dining at one of their favorite vacation restaurants. We have eaten there probably 20 times over the years while on vacation. This year we went two consecutive nights, just background to tell everyone we love it.

After being seated for a few minutes the server brought over a few small plates with the obligatory "the chaf has prepared something special to begin your dinner." Now over the years jfood has tasted some might delightful little tid-bits that really set the stage and showed the chef wanted beautiful flavors. But on the se two night the chef prepared (1) a single semi circle slice of Italian beef sausage (like the pepperoni in the grocer) with a little olive oil and (2) a quarter of a radish with a little olive oil.

Call the jfoods and friends un-foodie, but we actually had two good laughs with these presentations. Good news was that mrs jfood wanted neither so jfood had a whole slice of Italian beef sausage and a half of a radish. :-))

So jfood is curious. What are some of the best "chef's choice" pre-apps that people have received, some of the silliest, and lastly what was the chef at this resto thinking by serving some pepperoni one night and radish the next.

BTW - the rest of the meals were fabulous.


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  1. We once got an amuse of chopped tomato with a little olive oil on it. Had the tomato been perfect, it would have been a tasty bite, but since it was just a run of the mill tomato, we had a huge laugh about it instead.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Maybe it should have been called Amuse TĂȘte instead of Amuse Bouche.

      1. re: CindyJ

        I was talking to my husband about this last night, and it was actually just a bowl of cherry tomatoes - but not so great ones. And it did amuse our tetes!

    2. Once our waiters in DC find out we are moving to Chicago it seems every amuse has included foie in some matter or another. It's a great thing as foie is far and away one of the best foods in the world and we have no qualms with the politics of it :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: jpschust

        The best foie amuse in DC is at Komi - foie gras baklava. I love food that makes me laugh, and it's every bit as delicious as it is clever.

      2. One of the best amuse-bouches I ever had was a green apple sorbet with a ginger-gin foam. That definitely woke my palate up.

        The least interesting would be the small pot of mixed berries I received at the end of a dinner (as an aside... what does one call an amuse bouche served at the end of a meal? By then, the bouche should already be amused, no?) The berries weren't extraordinary, and weren't given much of a special treatment to make them spectacular... so why bother?

        4 Replies
        1. re: tartiflette

          Is that what the sorbet is meant to do? Wake up your palate? Until recently, I'd only had a sorbet between courses, not at the start of a meal. Last week at a Vietnamese restaurant we were given tiny glasses of mango sorbet that the server topped off with champagne. Looking around the place settings, we found tiny spoons to go with the tiny glasses. It was a pleasant way to start the meal, but new to me. Is it more common than I thought?

          1. re: Glencora

            ahhhh that sounds so good (especially in the 90 degree weather we're having here) I may have to make that at home tonight!

            1. re: Glencora

              I believe that it is definitely more traditional to serve sorbet between courses as a palate cleanser, but it seems to be gaining vogue with the molecular gastronomy movement - they seem to have a real fetish for freezing things and then topping them with foam or fizz or freeze-dried chips of something-or-other.

              Not that I'm complaining. It's been hot here lately, so something refreshing to start off my meal would be most welcome.

              Mmmmm... mango.

            2. re: tartiflette

              Traditionally friandise are served at the end of the meal with liqueur or coffee, and they're free and at the chef's discretion. Stuff like petit fours, truffles, even mints. They sometimes include fruit dipped in caramel, but I'm not sure if mixed berries by themselves would count. Maybe?

            3. We don't eat out very much, but we are in a group of chums that "do dinners." We've had a number of lovely amuse-bouche, but two stand out with regard to the OP's question:

              The silliest: a sugar cube saturated with a whirred-up blend of mint leaves and Pernod. On a little puddle of currant jelly. Editorial comment: Ick. I don't need to crunch a sugar cube. Even IF it is alcoholic. (Please, my host is not reading this.)

              The best: again, at a home party. A single bacon slice that had been marinated in ginger paste, rolled up and broiled, but not *too* much. Served on a small nest of finely shredded iceberg lettuce. It was marvelous.

              As far as what the chef was thinking with pepperoni and radishes? Well, it needed to get used. ;)

              3 Replies
              1. re: cayjohan

                You were probably meant to suck on the sugar cube like a candy, not munch it.

                1. re: PlatypusJ

                  I did suck on it, as my background has a lot of tea and coffee services in which you drink the beverage through a piece of lump sugar held behind your teeth. Eventually it does disintegrate and you crunch. Nice in a post-prandial service, but it did not "amuse" my "bouche" pre-prandially. Rather contrived for the menu, and perhaps better served later. Your post got me thinking about coffee service again! Perhaps this has some legs, depending upon flavors.

                  1. re: cayjohan

                    I see your point. More like an abuse bouche!

              2. When The Bride & I dine out and there is an amuse, probably 75% it contains an ingredient that she cannot eat and thus by eating both I get more of a small appetizer than a palate-awakening amuse.

                Depending on the fine-ness of the establishment and the nature of the presentation we may quietly switch plates, transfer the amuse to my plate, or (least likely) reach over with my fork. Occasionally and in the finest of places she may not allow me to any of those and so one will go to waste despite my proclaiming of deliciousness.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JugglerDave

                  I don't think it's uncouth to eat both, no matter how fine the place. It's probably better than sending back a "gift" from the chef untouched.