Went to dinner tonight with 4 couples half ordered from the regular menu and half chose the prix fixe menu. The waiter offered a "tasting" for our table which was two types of pastas. We all thought it would be a smaller version of an appetizer. however, the size was much larger than we expected - definitely appetizer size. The price according to the group was more than what they would pay for an appetizer if they chose one independently. In hind sight I should have asked what he meant by tasting and what the cost would be. A couple of us actually kidded that the way he worded the offering it could have been confused with it being complimentary. Should a tasting like that be the same price as an appetizer or less? Cynical me was thinking the kitchen made too much of the pasta and had to pawn it off on the customers somehow so they decided to call it a "tasting". We were all good spirited about it so there was no harm.
Well I've learned the hard way that nothing a server offers that requires a response to get it is ever complimentary. I've never heard the term before other than when used with "menu" but I would have assumed it would be appetizer sized and the "tasting" part came from the two kinds of pasta. Without getting into the ongoing debate about unpriced specials, I've noticed a lot of times unpriced specials tend to be more expensive, which is why I never order them unless the server states the price as part of the spiel.
Whenever a server offers a special or something else off-menu if I'm interested in it I always ask how much it is and how it comes. Otherwise it is just a case of 'buyer beware'!