Hello, it’s your cyberspace pedant here with another rumination.
Are Americans unaware that the word entrée means “entry” in French? And thus, the entrée in a multi-course meal is not the “main course,” or le plat principal, but rather a smaller, first course, otherwise known to Americans as the – I dread this word – “appetizer,” or – the less annoying but still dreadful – “starter.”
If you’re in a restaurant that claims to be French yet designates its main courses as entrées, you might be justified in being a little skeptical about just how French your experience will be. You’d be surprised to discover which restaurants perpetuate this nasty malapropism. It’s not likely to be Chez No-Name around the corner. Those tiny bistros and bouchons are usually owned by real French people who can’t afford a PR firm that will feed them cultural inaccuracies. Instead, try Keith McNally’s fabulously popular Pastis in New York, the well-regarded Carlos’ in Highland Park, or the Michelin-starred Melisse in Los Angeles (and there are many, many more). I mean, quelle horreur. At the time of this posting, all three of those “French” restaurants have incorrectly labeled their main courses as entrées. Of course, I expect corrections any minute now, because I know people like Keith McNally are reading this blog (blunt sarcasm, in case you’re missing the point).