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New Restaurants with "Chefs Surprise".

In a recent Monday Night episode on Amsterdam, Rick mentioned a newer type restaurant serving meals that were the chefs choice or Chefs Surprise. He showed one in Amsterdam. Can anyone mention their experiences in these and mention the names of these places in Amsterdam and Berlin? Thanks.

Posted by
1957 posts

I thought Rick was being mostly euphemistic because he didn't want to use the French term 'formule' and couldn't remember the American term 'set menu' at the moment in the show when he was discussing this -- if I'm mistaken and the Dutch do actually use the term 'Chefs Surprise' maybe someone else will enlighten me. What he was saying, though, is generally true throughout the Continent -- the formule is usually the best deal and the freshest/in-season option .

Posted by
2680 posts

In Spain we call this Menu del Dia, this has been around since the 1950s. Maybe the Dutch are just now catching up:)

Posted by
4718 posts

Sounds very much like the 'Menu of The Day' or the 'specials' menu where the chef has selected some local and seasonal ingredients and created dishes that aren't on the usual menu and usually chalked up on a 'specials board'.

Posted by
263 posts

In Dutch restaurants you can encounter the following types of menus or formulas;
1) A la carte; you yourself can choose from the menu. You can only select a main course, or a main course and a dessert, or an appetizer, main course and dessert. Some restaurants offer dishes to share, other restaurants offer only dishes for 1 person.
2) set menu. For a price of for instance €35, you get an appetizer/first course, a main course and a dessert. In some cases you can choose from a selection of 3 or 4 appetizers, 3 or 4 main courses and 3 or 4 desserts. In other instances, you get a fixed menu with no choices, also called a menu of the day
3) multi course surprise/tasting/chef’s menu. This is a multi course menu. You choose the number of courses and can indicate any allergies or preferences (no meat), the chef then decides what you get.

Some restaurants may offer all the three options. Other restaurants offer option 1 and. 2, while there are also restaurants that only offer tasting menus.

Posted by
1951 posts

I remember "Chef's Surprise" in the school cafeteria. It was basically all of the leftover stuff cobbled together into a questionable dish.

Posted by
28118 posts

this sounds very much like the special of the day.... pretty much everywhere....

Never heard of Chef's Surprise though... maybe a Rickism....

Posted by
6017 posts

I think the main difference may be that with a "Menu of the Day" or similar, you know exactly what you are getting, maybe even a bit of a choice between a couple items, This appears to be putting your trust in the chef, you get what you get.

Posted by
263 posts

In the Netherlands, the term surprise menu (verrassingsmenu in Dutch) chef’s menu or tasting menu are all used to indicate option 3 in my earlier post. For most high end restaurants this is a very common thing. You choose the number of courses and allow yourself to be surprised with what comes to the table.

Posted by
263 posts

Tasting or surprise menus are my favorite way of going out to dinner. Like I said in my earlier post, you can indicate allergies or preferences. Offal is very rarely on the menu in Dutch restaurants, but if you don’t want to be surprised by that you can ask for no offal and/or no organ meats.