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Apr 27, 2013 05:30 PM

Chef's Tasting

When there is a chef's tasting menu, do you usually get everything on the list, or a choice of one thing from each course like a Pre Fixe menu?

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  1. You get what the Chef wants to serve you.

    1. Some might ask whether you have any foods you can't eat.

      1. It depends on the restaurant. Per Se, for example, lists everything that you're going to get. Bouley and Daniel, on the other hand, have choices within their written tasting menu for each course like a prix fixe.

        5 Replies
        1. re: fooder

          Some restaurants only give choices for certain courses and the rest is the same for everyone.

          1. re: fooder

            Per Se allows you to substitute dishes from the vegetable menu for the regular 9 course menu. I've done it for the cheese and desserts.

            1. re: ellenost

              @melpy and ellenost

              You are both right, but those examples you give are not true Chef's Tastings. They're just regular tasting menus, or bloated prix fixe menus.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                The Kappō at Ma Peche would qualify as a Chef's Tasting Menu, and Chef Paul calls all of his guests to inquire about food restrictions. He's adjusted my sister's menu to deal with her no pork restriction. Otherwise there are no choices. Same with Momofuku Ko.

                1. re: ellenost

                  Right. Substitutions for diet restrictions are different than a selection of choices.

                  And as an aside, neither of Per Se's tasting menus are true Chef's Tastings in my opinion.

          2. Where I am, a tasting menu is served in full for the whole table.

            1. I've seen 2 kind of tasting menus

              1- A multicourse menu that is "showcase" of the regular menu in smaller portions

              2- A multicourse menu with items that are not on the regular menu, usually with "very" seasonal ingredients that will change more often (but will also include the chef's classic dishes).

              There's another kind of menu which is a "Table d'hôte" where for a fixed price, you can choose from (usually) a smaller number of menu items from the regular menu (

              1 Reply
              1. re: Maximilien

                I agree these are the two types you see. We've fallen out of love with tasting menus over the last 12 months or so - in particular the Type 1 you mention. We'd rather exercise our judgement with the main menu and eat a standard three course meal. T

                Type 2 tends to be found in a more limited number of places , particularly where the chef want sto be more creative. Often this style of tasting menu will be all they offer to the diner (a couple of upmarket places in my region are like this and are both fabulous).

                In my experience, the Table d'hote menu usually has items not on the main menu, as the restaurant is catering to a lower fixed budget. They are usually very good value and are often what we'll order from, unless there's an air of celebration to our evening.

                This week, I had an interesting meal at a Michelin starred place. On offer were three fixed tasting menus - a vegetarian one, seafood one or mixed one. Alongside was what they described as "a la carte". This was a short menu - three dishes at each course to choose from. But it was not priced "a la carte" but as a fixed price like a "table d'hote", which was almost as expensive as the tasting menus.