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To Taste Menu or Not To Taste Menu

A few weeks ago I found myself at one of the Bay Area's top 100 restaurants, Redd in Napa Valley. My cheffie buddy and I glanced at the menu before deciding that there were too many delicious dishes to choose one each. So we decided to try the five course tasting menu.

A tasting menu, if you've never experienced one, is a fabulous way to sample small portions of several dishes. Usually everyone at the table is required to order the tasting and for each course a different dish is brought out. At Redd, the first course I tasted was the tuna tartare, while my dining companion tried the sashimi. We rotated plates half way through each course and were able to taste a total of 10 dishes from the menu! To learn more on tasting menus, and check out pics of the food I ate at Redd, just read more

Here are a few more things you should know about tasting menus:

  • They differ from a prix fixe menu, although are sometimes called the same thing. In a tasting menu, the chef chooses what he sends out, whereas on the prix fixe menu, you pick from a selection of entrees.
  • A tasting menu can be paired with wine (usually called the wine flight). With each course you will be sent a new half glass of wine that is specifically picked to perfectly match the dish you are savoring. It's more expensive, but fun to do if you are interested in wine and food pairings.
  • Tasting menus can often be expensive.

  • While you get smaller portions, it is very easy to fill up quickly on a tasting menu. Don't choose a tasting menu unless you are ready to eat a full, several-course meal.
  • If you happen to be at a restaurant known for their tasting menu get it!
  • Tasting menus originated in Europe and were thought of as a bohemian indulgence. Only when they were adopted in America did they become a statement of fine dining.

What are your experiences with a tasting menu? Tell me about them below!



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