4/16/2012 11:14:00 AM

11 Awesome Amuse Bouches From Across the U.S.

An amuse bouche from Aubergine
First impressions are everything, and for some chefs, a singular bite is both a way to welcome a guest and offer a fleeting glimpse of what is to come. An amuse bouche - quite literally “to amuse the mouth” - is small and delicate, yet the flavor is big and complex, its aim in life quite simple: to ignite the palate.

An amuse is not something that can be ordered; rather, it is a gift from the chef, so in that spirit, it’s a surprise when it arrives on a tiny plate, in a petite demitasse cup, or perched on a single spoon. Exactly what it is may depend on what’s in season, or simply the chef’s mood that evening. Will it be a liquid olive, an oyster poached in cream and studded with caviar, or a thimbleful of intensely flavored soup? The following are some of our favorite signature amuse bouches around the U.S.


  1. "Amuse-bouche" used to be "amuse-gueule"… How much farther will "political correctness" to invade our language territory?

  2. Well- I usually eat with my mouth....not my tits; so I see amuse bouche as a little more applicable.

  3. "The French word amuse-gueule is also employed in France, although amuse-bouche is more often used on menus in fine dining restaurants, as the word gueule is an impolite way of saying bouche." - William Grimes

  4. As a 21 year vegetarian, I've had to return many a "gift" from the chef because the giver assumes everyone eats animals. In my experience, amuse-bouche are often placed in front of diners without much explanation of what is being presented, forcing the recipient to question what it contains. Why can't waiters say "the chef would like you to have this gift of ___" and give the diner an opportunity to decline gracefully?