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History

Firsts at Delmonico's Restaurant

By JOE O'CONNELL, Food Writer
First posted 25 August 2001 at 1525 GMT
Last updated 30 November 2003 at 0256 GMT

NEW YORK, New York -- The history of Delmonico's Restaurant in New York includes many firsts in the history of cuisine. This describes some of these "firsts".

Delmonico firsts

Before Delmonico's opened, diners ate at cafes and boarding houses (inns), where the food was simply the food available that day from the farms.  Diners had no choice of dishes but ate the food that was served.  Delmonico's changed all that, including the following firsts:

  • The first diner called by the French name restaurant
  • The first diner where guests sat at their own tables
  • The first printed menu
  • The first tablecloths
  • The first debutante ball outside a private home
  • The first restaurant to offer a leisurely lunch and dinner
  • Oysters Rockefeller
  • Lobster Newberg, first called Lobster Wenberg (see the related story, as well as Infopelase)
  • Baked Alaska
  • Eggs Benedict (according to FoodTV and Infoplease)
  • Delmonico potatoes
  • Delmonico steak
  • Hamburger (known then as the Hamburg Steak)
  • First use of the expression that something is "86'd", since the Delmonico Steak was item 86 on the menu and, when sold out, it was "86'd" (according to the Restaurant Report, Foodudes and Ask Dave))

Conclusion

Delmonico's Restaurant introduced many dishes and manners of dining that have become commonplace todya.


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