How to Fine Dine: Behind the Scenes

Go behind the scenes at New York's Le Cirque to see how the chefs prepare elegant classics like tartare, creme brulee and more.

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Navigating the Menu

Fine dining is all about superb service and amazing food, so don't let the numerous utensils or courses overwhelm you. Be prepared to follow a dress code, and reservations are a must. Menus vary widely from restaurant to restaurant, but here are some dishes (and practices) you might encounter along the way.

The Sommelier

After you've placed your order, the restaurant's sommelier will come to your table. He or she is your go-to expert for selecting wine and spirits.

Perfect Pairings

A good sommelier will know how to perfectly pair drinks with your food and typically provides you with a taste before pouring.

Beef Tartare

Beef tartare is coarsely ground high-quality, raw lean beef seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs; here it's topped with a generous spoonful of caviar.

Red Snapper Crudo

A firm, lean cut of fish served raw with cauliflower and pomegranate seeds

Scallops and Sweetbreads

Seared scallops and delicate sweetbreads served with wild rice, squash "doux-beurre," bread condiment and verjus

Chicken with Walnuts

Served with brioche, chopped walnuts, apple and Arbois sauce

Turbot

A firm, lean white fish with a mild flavor, served here with seaweed, rhubarb, persimmon and bourbon-vanilla sauce

Plating

Executive Chef Raphael Francois prepares a plate of turbot in the kitchen at Le Cirque.

Niman Ranch Lamb

Rack of lamb raised on pasture with seasonal grasses

Presentation

Niman Ranch lamb ready to be plated tableside

Amuse-Bouche

Don't be surprised if food or drink unexpectedly arrive at the table. An amuse-bouche, like this caviar dish, is a little treat, compliments of the restaurant.

Creme Brulee

This classic French custard dessert, literally translated as "burnt cream," completes the fine-dining experience.

Chocolate Stove Cake

Most fine-dining restaurants like to add their own unique touch to their style of food, like this mini chocolate stove served over chocolate-coffee opera cake — Le Cirque's signature dessert.

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