table d'hôte

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table d'hôte

A set menu at a fixed price. Back in the days when America's idea of gracious dining was French cuisine (and therefore French terminology), upscale restaurants offered two choices in the way diners could order meals. One, which survives, is a là carte, where dishes were ordered and paid for individually. The other was table d'hôte (literally, the host's table). That was a set menu offering little or no choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert, and all for a fixed amount of money. Table d'hôte had its origin in the days when travelers stopped at an inn and dined on whatever the innkeeper's wife was serving as the family dinner. The idea continues as prix fixe (fixed price) meals, for only rarely if ever and even at French restaurants will you find the phrase “table d'hôte” on a menu.
See also: table