Before the mid 18th century, Europeans avoided eating outside of their homes. Generally, the only time that they ate food away from their kitchen was during times of travel. The modern idea of restaurants had not emerged. The only options for travelers were taverns and inns that served alcohol and meals filled with simple recipes.1 It wasn’t until the 19th century that more elaborate menus became common. Today, typical menu options at Mystic downtown restaurants have become quite diverse and include a variety of seafood, salads, burgers, and specialty cocktail items. There is definitely something for everyone. It is interesting to learn how the history of meal courses relates to the modern restaurants in this area.
Evolution of the Three-Course Meal
The three-course meal originated in Persia by a person known as Ziryab.2 This Persian man made many strides in dining that have greatly influenced the modern restaurant experience.
He invented the tablecloth and encouraged people to use glassware at dinner. His influence led to the development of the conventional idea of sitting down to a soup, main course, and dessert. Although some current trends include family-style service, the most common and desired meals contain three courses.
Various Meal Courses
The menu items at most modern restaurants are split between appetizers, entrées, and desserts. When a person sits down for a full course meal, this combination provides a diner with a complete food experience.
Appetizers that Start Your Meal
Generally, an appetizer refers to a small amount of food that builds a person’s appetite. Many cultures view the presentation of food as an art. In many Renaissance paintings, Romans and Greeks are shown enjoying plates of fresh fruit, cheese, and grapes. This style of snacking has inspired today’s appetizer courses. In many instances, appetizers are finger foods whose excess salt stimulates a person’s appetite. Before the 19th century, appetizers were available in restaurants anytime during a meal. However, today’s serving style includes a succession of courses. Modern restaurants offer items like quesadillas and bruschetta. They are just enough to please the palate and increase anticipation for the main course.
Entrees that are the Body of the Meal
On today’s menus, American restaurants serve entrees as the main course. In the past, an entrée was a precursor to another main dish. However, the Great Depression and World War II brought about changes.3 Eating habits were upended, and lavish meals were shortened. Modern Mystic downtown restaurants reflect this change and provide a variety of choices to diners for main dishes. For example, most menu entrees include steak, seafood, and pasta. When a person is interested in taking a bite into a juicy piece of meat, a famous northern lobster roll, or a creamy linguine Alfredo dish, there is something that will please anyone’s taste buds.
Drinks and Desserts that End the Meal
Most meals end with a delicious dessert and wine selection. Many diners look to alcoholic beverages to complement the main course as well. Besides the standard house wine assortment, restaurants have become the norm to offer signature drinks. For example, Chapter One’s margarita has sweet and spicy flavors. A diner can tempt the tongue with the taste of jalapeno or a more subdued raspberry or coconut essence. Another popular drink on this restaurant’s impressive drink menu is the Mystic Manhattan. This beverage includes bourbon, Carpano Antica Vermouth, and Peychaud’s bitters.
Mystic Downtown Restaurants Follow Traditional Meal Courses
Many individuals enjoy dining out and getting a taste of culinary delight from a specific region. The history of meal courses is reflected in restaurants like Chapter One Food & Drink. Our Mystic establishment offers a menu with classic plates that conform to the modern three-course meal template. Besides fresh seafood that is popular in the area, there are many flavors and course options that deliver an unforgettable dining experience for any occasion. Please check out our menus and contact our restaurant with any questions about our menu, hours, or amenities.