A La Carte: Ordering menu items individually as opposed to slamming a large bag of cash down on your table and loudly declaring, “Bring me one of everything!”
Al Dente: To cook pasta until it has the consistency of teeth.
Aperitif, Digestif: Drinks served before and after a meal, respectively; the first contains a deadly poison and the second the antidote, thus stimulating the diner to finish their food as quickly as possible.
Beth: Your server for this evening.
Bistro: A café that’s gotten a little too big for its britches.
BYOB: A fun spin on having lost your liquor license after serving an 18-year-old drunk driver.
Chef De Cuisine: The employee responsible for turning on the lights, thawing the fry bags, and peeling the wax paper squares off each burger patty.
Craft Beer: Any beer named after a dog, a bike, or a river.
Crust Boy: An entry-level position at most restaurants, the crust boy is tasked with eating any crusts that are left on guests’ plates.
Five Jackets Required: Dress code policy in which men must not only wear a jacket but carry four others on their person, either in their arms or tied around their waist.
Food Hall: A food court that doesn’t have a Hollister attached to it.
Food Truck: A mobile kitchen capable of relocating to whatever neighborhood is being gentrified next.
Halal: Designation for meat prepared in accordance with Islamic law regardless of which religion the animal practiced during its lifetime.
House Wine: Wine that the chef already opened to take the edge off before work.
Maître d’: Restaurant employee responsible for recognizing that even though the individual doesn’t have a reservation, they figured prominently in the second season of Flavor Of Love.
Molecular Gastronomy: The technique of using food science to make cooking harder.
Nanobrewery: Limited-production brewery whose total output does not exceed six molecules of ethanol annually.
Organic: Designation for food that has not been treated with any of the countless toxic chemicals one already absorbs on a daily basis.
Pop-Up Restaurant: A restaurant whose two months in operation is intentional rather than the product of gross mismanagement.
Salad Molars: In fine dining, these are the outermost molars to be used when chewing the first course of a meal.
Secret Menu: Menu items that have been hidden from the public and that would be in grave danger if their identities were ever revealed.
Server: The restaurant employee primarily responsible for bearing the full brunt of a diner’s lifetime of pent-up frustrations over the course of a meal.
Trattoria: A safe, neutral location where the capos of two or more families may discuss business.
Umami: Taste roughly corresponding to savoriness that is unlockable by the tongue after the 5,000th meal.