C’est quoi ce truc sur la carte?
(what is that on the menu ?)
How many times have you stared at a French menu, scanning it for foods you recognized, only to order something familiar to you rather than trying something new. Steak au poivre avec pommes frites? It seemed easier than asking the waiter and less problematic than ending up with tripe or sweetbreads, or some other soft organ from an unknown animal. Worse yet, did you chose a restaurant because it posted an English menu?
Taking the safe route deprives you of the experience of learning and discovering something new. True, the internet and our hand-held devices allow us to review a menu, have it translated, or even pull it up on your phone while at dinner. However, this assumes many things including that the current menu is posted, that the translations are correct, or that you will have a working phone (and really wouldn’t you rather enjoy your meal than be glued to your phone?). Better to arm yourself with a little knowledge, making your dependence upon outside sources unnecessary.
This section is dedicated to understanding French menus. Even if you do not speak French, you can learn some tips that will help you to understand what you can expect (what dish is comprised of and/or how it was prepared). This way you can make an informed decision rather than a decision based upon fear, routine, or speculation. Essayez quelque chose de nouveau et mangez bien (try something new and eat well).
Je vous souhaite un bon appétit !