Posted at 4:10 pm
Most of us love when a restaurant gives us an amuse-bouche. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s the one-bite hors d’oeuvre some restaurants give you before your appetizer. It’s a little something to whet you pallet. It’s usually a welcome surprise. A “freebie” if you will (even though you may be paying $200 a person). As a vegetarian I often get the amuse-bouche, see it’s not meat-free, and pass it right down the table to someone who will eat it. Sometimes restaurants will give me a vegetarian amuse and I appreciate that.
Eggplant Amuse I had at Bradley Ogden in Vegas
For some reason there is something fun about getting this little surprise. Usually though, as I said, it’s just a given that I can’t partake in this. Call it a side-effect of being a vegetarian. One of the many compromises we, as meat-free folks, have to make. I’m so used to it at this point, it doesn’t really phase me anymore. That’s why I was surprised the other day when someone else raised the red flag on this topic. My husband was eating at BLT Steak here in NYC when he says he was presented with a mystery amuse-bouche. All he knows is that it looked like pate. I’m going to assume the food runner told him what type of pate it was and he wasn’t listening (because he does this), but either way he said he didn’t know what it was so he wasn’t going to eat it. Now my husband doesn’t eat things like veal, lamb, duck or foie gras to name a few. So upon looking at this pate he said he didn’t want to eat it because it could have been any number of a things. Finally he knows how I feel so he came home and asked me why don’t they give you a choice as far as the amuse-bouche. is concerned. Well I think there is no choice for a few reasons. #1 they want this to be something easy. Something they can pretty much put together in no time. #2 Some Chefs have big egos and they want you to eat what they want to serve you. #3 It’s “free” so they feel they don’t need to give you a choice for something you kind of, sort of, aren’t paying for. Anyway who knows the reason. The fact is I don’t want the amuse-bouche to go away and lord knows my mom doesn’t want it to go. She will literally go back to a restaurant because they give you an amuse! What I hope though is that more meat-eaters like my husband also become more discerning and bring it to restaurants attention that they too care what they put in their body. As a Chef I really don’t think it would be a problem to offer a couple different choices when it comes to the amuse. Maybe they can bring it out on a silver platter and you can have your pick of a few amuse-bouches. A meat one, a seafood one and a vegetarian one. Of course they could just have a vegetarian one and then everyone would eat it, but that would be too easy. Oh by the way I did a little research into what this pate my husband was served was and I think it was chicken liver. He eats chicken, but he doesn’t eat liver, so even if he knew was this was I don’t think he would have been amused!
Amuse Bouche we had at Per Se (three salmon, one veg)