Amuse-bouche means little bite. It is a play off the French name amuse-gueule. The amuse-bouche was developed during the nouvelle cuisine movement of the 1970s/80’s. It has staying power in that most restaurants now serve these specialized hors d’oeurves.
Amuse-bouche differ from a standard hors d’oeurves in that they are served free of charge. they are not on the menu, being presented as an offering of the chef. They are used to help highlight the Chef’s creative talents and flavor profile. It helps whet the diner’s appetite for what is to come in other dinner courses.