Mysteries of the American restaurant menu….

Discussion in 'Australia' started by awesomebrownfamily, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. awesomebrownfamily

    awesomebrownfamily Earning My Ears

    Oct 18, 2009
    In yet another display of abject ignorance I need to ask for some assistance in fathoming the restaurant menu…

    I note that many dining reviews here (and else where) talk about how the review had dish X for an appetiser, Y for an entrée, Salad/Soup, Z for main course with sides of this and that…..followed by dessert

    My questions are as follows:

    • What exactly is the difference between an appetiser and an entrée?
    • How is it that the soup/salad doesn’t qualify as an entrée?
    • Are all of these microscopic in size or, as per the pictures I have seen, quite generous….if the latter how on earth do they cram it all in?
    • Is it considered uncouth to simply order a Main & Dessert, rather than the full five courses?
    • Do vegetables not exist in the US or do they just not make it onto most restaurant menus?
  2. Peri

    Peri <br><img src="

    Oct 25, 2005
    Don't worry, you can order as little as you like and no one will even notice - enjoy!!

    - A United States person.
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  4. awesomebrownfamily

    awesomebrownfamily Earning My Ears

    Oct 18, 2009
    Thanks that's good to know....on trips to other countries we have actualy found ourselves being "corrected" by the serving staff in some eateries, which is a tad embarrassing....
  5. kylieh

    kylieh DIS Veteran

    Jun 18, 2006
    Australian Entree = US Appetiser
    Australian Main = US Entree

    I found that at a lot of the chain sit down places - think Coco's, Rainforest, Outback, etc, they had a side order of veges you could purchase. From memory Brocolli was always one of the veges, often with carrots. I can't remember getting vegetables as standard unless at a fancy place. We ordered veges everywhere we could, often with raised eyebrows, as in "we're not used to people ordering these :confused3"

    We ordered mains then decided if we wanted a desert and asked the wait staff to bring the menu back, similar to what we do here. Not sure if that's the norm in the US as we got a couple of strange looks when we did that too. I'm starting to notice a pattern.... maybe it was us :lmao:

    Ooh, and the servings are really really big. Twice as big as what I'm used to. Even DD's child meals were more like big adult servings at some places.

    I'll add a bit more - I like eating out and trying new foods and experiences. I found that the deep fried US food is deep fried for either longer or at higher temps. It was often dark, not golden-brown. Even the chips.

    A lot of the off-site restuarants have menus posted on their websites, and at Type in the area name, eg, Anaheim, then search the menus.
  6. rossip

    rossip Mouseketeer

    Apr 18, 2009
    And ....

    Don't forget the unlimited soft drink refills - took me toally by surprise tte first night we were there , I thought the waitress stole my coke and I hadn't finished , I was still a tad confused when she walked past and left another on the table - I didnt order that !! :rotfl::lmao::thumbsup2
  7. JustBusiness

    JustBusiness Mouseketeer

    Nov 5, 2009
    Disclaimer - I am an American.

    American entree's (mains) are generally HUGE at most places. Many Americans base the value of the meal on the quantity of food. Everywhere offers to package your leftovers. Our office fridges are generally filled with leftovers from peoples previous nights meal. This is true of most chain and inexpensive restaurants. Most ingredients are dry or frozen, very few are fresh. Frozen vegetables are rather unpleasant (when not cooked/frozen properly). This is why many places do not feature side veg. Sides are generally carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potato).

    There are excpections to these type of restaurants, especially at Disney properties. Counter-service/quick-service places are generally fried frozen and awful. Our friers are generally set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The exceptional restaurants are generally not advertised. A good place to track them down is There, you can enter the type of cuisine and location, and read reviews from people. It is very helpful when travelling in the United States.

    As for number of courses, have as many as you'd like. The servers may look at you odd, but consider who they are, where they come from. Generally, we have one or two courses at lunch and two to four at dinner. Soup is generally only at lunch (with the exception of some better restaurants).

    Hope this helps. If you have any more questions feel free to PM me.
  8. awesomebrownfamily

    awesomebrownfamily Earning My Ears

    Oct 18, 2009
    Just business, thanks for the insight. I noticed that carbohydrates dominated the side dish options….but I didn’t realise that it was due to the veg being frozen.

    400 Fahrenheit is about 204 Celsius which sounds about right, I’d normal have the oil somewhere between 180 to 200 to cook chips (aka fries).

    I’m sure we’ll have many excellent dinning experiences in the US, more so now that I’ve got a better idea about menus, servings etc.

    One more question, if the bill includes a service fee is it customary to still leave a tip in addition to the service fee?
  9. Oz-kateer

    Oz-kateer DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2009
    A service fee generally IS the tip. Given a whole bunch of different names, it is very commonly called a "gratuity". Something you have to get used to in the US, tipping left, right and centre. Or center as you have it.

    They'll even politely "suggest" the amount to leave, right there on the bill. You have to love it.

    By the way the "bill" in the US is what we'd call a cash note - like we pay for something with a $10 note they say they use a $10 bill.

    In a restaurant at the end of the meal they bring you the "check" to tell you how much to pay, which is what we'd call a bill.

    So in Australia you use a note to pay a bill, and in the US you use a bill to pay a check.

    Sorry it's late and I'm rambling.... you'll get the pictire, and if you're a tourist they usually cut you a lot of slack as far as this stuff goes. :confused:
  10. caseybruna

    caseybruna Mouseketeer

    May 14, 2009
    It still mystifies me why Americans call their mains "entrees", when even for the French (whose word it is, meaning entry or entrance) use this to describe the smaller course before the main course.... When we were at WDW my boyfriend was perpetually confused.
  11. StephAus

    StephAus Earning My Ears

    Aug 28, 2009
    Good way to remember it!!! Although Americans can also use a check to pay a check... :confused3
  12. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

    Jul 18, 2008
    OMG :rotfl2::lmao::rotfl2::lmao:
    I have just remembered this. On our trip last month I kept asking for the bill and I kept getting blank looks and asking me to repeat myself which I did "Can we have the BILL PLEASE" :rotfl2: Now I realise they had no idea what I was talking about. Well that's not completely correct, many actually did know.

    Now, a little OT..... But this was the first trip to the US that many picked up that we were Australian, on previous trips we would usually get are you from the UK. Maybe because there were so many Aussies at Disneyland last month they got used to the response so started asking about being Aussie first.

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