correct little taste

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Joined Jul 3, 2002
Is there a difference between an amuse-bouche and an amuse-gueule ? If so, what is it?
Also, for those of you who work in restaurants that offer one or the other, what is the reasoning behind it? How is the particular dish (teacup ;) ?) arrived on? Is it based on what is going to be used as a special? Or what was used as a special the night before?
Personally, I love being surprised by an amuse anything! :D And it never fails to put me in a more relaxed, festive mood.
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
Phoebe,

When i was growing up, we always called it amuse-geule. In France they still do to a large degree as it is the accepted and traditional expression for it. Nowadays, it is considered more polite to call it amuse bouche. The difference is "amuse the mouth" as opposed to "amuse your trap" or something along those not-so-polite lines.

The reasoning behind amuse, in theory anyway, is gastronomical foreplay. Tease the senses and make your patron yearn for more.

The reality is perhaps a bit more practical. Yes, it is a pleasing opener but to be a high end restaurant these days, you have no other choice but to serve amuses. Everyone else is doing it.

We always use a small plate or bowl, not always the classic white, perhaps pretty Japanese vessels or leaf shaped bowls and plates. These plates are always mounted on a small charger plate with a small esspresso type spoon/fork.

Because we have a wide array of entrees, the amuse rarely has much to do with the specials. The choice of amuse is usually dictated by what is plentiful, in season, cheap, luxurious but cannot be used on anything else, etc. In other words, once again, practical considerations.

In other larger restaurants, we increasingly find one cook whose sole purpose is the concoction of amuse-bouche. I'm sure for these lucky fellows, more purpose and planning is put into their creations.
 
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Joined May 26, 2001
In answer to the first question: no. :D

The whys and hows are much as Anneke says. Presentation depends on what the amuse is -- I've received soups in demitasse cups, gratin in a tiny baking dish, and canapes on all sorts of plates, mostly small. The actual dish itself (or dishes) may be dovetailed, that is, the scraps and leftovers from menu items are used; in other cases, the amuse was a taste of a new item the chef was trying out. Some places have a "standard" amuse that rarely changes; it could be a fancy "salmon salad" for months, and then tiny squares of fried calamari for another few months, and then something else for months. It pretty much depends on the menu, because it's unlikely the restaurant will purchase anything JUST to make the amuse.
 

pete

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I love amuses!!! It's a great little surprize for the guest, oftentimes (even if they know they are getting an amuse, they oftentimes have no clue what it will be). It makes the guest feel special and as if they are recieveing a little "gift" from the chef. From a chef's standpoint, they are great. First off, they are lots of fun. Since they are merely small (aka bite-sized) you can use some higher end ingredients that would be too costly in larger portions. It is a great way to experiment and get guests feedback. I have often used the amuse to test out "ideas" I have had. It allows the waiter to solicit the guests comments on what they thought about the combinations or presentations to a degree that they never could if asking about a course that the customer paid for. And finally, it is a great way to use "leftovers" and "scraps" (both words that unfairly bring up negative conotations). For example, I might not have enough smoked sturgeon left for a nightly special, but instead of it going to waste I can create many amuses with it. Sure it doesn't make me any money, but I still feel better about giving it away then tossing it out, and if it helps to create positive feedback, then in the long run, I win out.
 

kuan

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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Heh... I overheard this at another table.

"psst.. I thought I ordered the steak." :)

Kuan
 
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