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"Table d hote" is a French title for one approach to the process of designing menus for a restaurant. The phrase literally translates to mean "host's table" and refers to the practice of providing a limited number of standardized meals. Guests coming to a restaurant for a table d hote meal will be served whatever the restaurant has already determined will be the entree and other courses for that meal. They will probably not be able to order substitutions for any of the items on the menu for the meal.
For the restaurant, the table d hote philosophy of service simplifies food preparation by reducing the number of dishes that need to be prepared at one time. Because the food to be served is predetermined, table settings with the appropriate cutlery can be set ahead of time. Because there are no substitutions to the meal, the pricing is also established ahead of time and can frequently give the guest a good meal for a very reasonable price.
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