This post will explore common restaurant terminology. I will likely update this post as new terms are introduced. This will act as a glossary of terms you should know.
86 – Out of an item. Ex: We are 86’d chicken breasts. 86 the special, we just sold the last one.
Bain-marie – The container used for a hot water bath or double boiler.
Blended – put in a blender until it resembles a slush-like consistency. If the drink contains just liquid and not ice, blended can also mean to stir vigorously until all parts are combined into one.
Charcuterie – Probably my favorite food related word, it means prepared and processed meats. It’s downright enjoyable to say. Also someone that makes prepared meats is a charcuterist, and sounds perverted and possibly more so when you explain it. “No, you don’t understand, he prepares meat.” The term makes me smile also everytime I say it.
Comb – Both the process and the device used to perform the process of removing any crumbs or debris from a linened table using a typically half metal half plastic bar that looks similar to a hair Comb without the tines. Typically, this is only used at high end restaurants.
Double – Double the standard drink pour or something close to it. Learn more about deciding the proper double ounceage here.
Effervescence – light bubbliness, like that found in champagne.
Expo – The person that take the food from the kitchen window. This person checks to ensure the food items are prepared correctly. Oftentimes the expo places the garnishes and arranges the plates to make them the most presentable. Expo can also be used to describe the kitchen window itself as well.
Flagging – putting beverage napkins onto a table or otherwise marking a table to alert other servers and the hosts that the guests at the table have been greeted.
Flying – As fast as you can make it. For example; “I need that burger flying”. Typically used when an item was forgotten or an item got messed up.
Gimlet – Mixed with lime juice. Typically 4 parts liquor to one part lime juice. Most common with gin or sometimes vodka.
Hinged-Step – the metal piece on a wine key that sits on the edge of a wine bottle to give you leverage to pull the cork out. This can be have one or two steps.
Hockey Puck – A burnt steak that is near black on the outside and browned all the way through. I feel terribly bad for anyone that orders their steak this way.
Medium – A beef temperature with some pink in the middle with a browned outside.
Medium Rare – A beef cooking temperature with a browned outside and pink but no red in the middle.
Medium Well – A steak temperature with light amounts of pink but mostly browned inside and outside.
Mooing – An extra rare steak or burger. Typically cooked just long enough to unfreeze the middle of the steak while lightly coloring the outside.
Muddle – A wooden or ideally stainless steel stick with a rounded end on one end and a flat end on the other. A muddle is used to smash fruit to release flavor and juices from the fruit. Commonly used in Old Fashions. The process of using a muddle is called muddling; so you can muddle a drink with a muddle.
Neat – No Ice, typically just liquor and the glass
Nose – The smell of something ,typically wine. Ex: Black Currant is evident in the nose.
Notes – Aspects of flavor. Typically used with wines but can also be used for other beverages and also food. Ex: This wine has peppery notes.
Old Fashion – A common Wisconsin drink, more commonly, and improperly called an old fashioned, defines a drink typically made with brandy (a type of liquor also fairly Wisconsin specific) or whiskey that is then mixed with muddled cherry and orange, sugar or sugar syrup, and bitters. It is typically finished with a splash of sour or sweet.
POS – Point of Sale system, oftentimes it’s quality also falls under the more common abbreviation of POS.
Prebus – clearing empty plates and glasses off a table while the guest is still there to allow the guest to be more comfortable and ease clearing later.
Press – Mixed with half seltzer (soda water) and half sweet (7up or Sprite).
Ramikin – A small, typically porcelain or metal container used to hold dressings and sauces.
Rare – Steak temperature with light brown outside and almost full pink inside with reds towards the middle.
Rocks – With Ice
Scorer – the small serrated blade on a wine key that is used to cut the foil on a wine bottle.
Shaken – Put it in a shaker tin and shake violently until all parts are fully mixed. This is commonly done with ice in the shaker to cool the drink, which can be strained or remain in the drink depending on the preparation.
Short – put the drink in a rocks glass. If the drink is typically a double make it a single. Like tall, it’s always safe to ask if they want a single or double.
Single – The standard drink pour for the bar. Read more about deciding ounceages.
Squatter – A guest that has overstayed their welcome, sitting extensively long without ordering anything or ordering very slowly.
Stelvin Closure – A screw top on a bottle with a banded bottom ring that oftentimes stays on the bottle after opening. It’s a fancier name to use for a screw top on a wine bottle.
Stirred – Stir with a long bar spoon until all parts are evenly mixed. This can typically done with any drink that is shaken. Stirring a drink melts much less ice than shaking making for a stronger tasting mixed drink.
Tall – This term has become bastardized over the years. It is supposed to mean a drink in a taller glass with a single shot of liquor and extra juice or soda. However, many bartenders and patrons will now use tall and double interchangeably. When someone asks for a tall, it’s now best to ask single or double.
Tannins – The part of red wines that give texture, bitterness, and dryness. If someone says they do not like red wine, this is likely the part they don’t like.
Well Done – A steak that is browned all the way through.
Window – Can be a kitchen window or bar window, this is the place where the food or drink orders are placed while they await a server to bring them to the guest.
Wine Key – the scorer, corkscrew, and hinged step used to open a bottle of wine.