Not always so easy, methinks... because each word that you use must be 'generic' enogh to appeal to the broadest population 'possible', that is, your restaurant's "target population". So, if you don't know that, then that is the place to start in knowing what that group of people is like.
I am not a working chef, but one time some years ago decided to make up a Menu for a Thanksgiving Dinner that we were having for all of our children. It was kinda special because it was the first time we were all to be together in quite a few years. The Menu itself, printed up, was a success, as was the occasion. One thing that needs be done, as some have already indicated here in saying to KISS it (keep it simple, stupid.... casting no aspersions your way, it's just an axiom), is to keep adjectives to a minium but just sufficient to describe something perhaps 'special' about the food item. I think that 2 are enough. I'll copyu that Menu here so you may get an idea of what I'm talking about:
ROASTED STUFFED WHOLE TOM TURKEY
PINEAPPLE-HONEY-GLAZED SPIRAL-CUT SMOKED HAM
SOUTHERN STYLE CORNBREAD DRESSING
CREAMY MASHED POTATOES & GIBLET BROWN GRAVEY
BOSTON BAKED BROWN-SUGAR BEANS
GOLDEN HARVEST BUTTERED CORN-ON-THE-COBETTE
BACON-EGG-VINEGAR DRESSED FRESH SPINACH SALAD
WITH RESTAURANT-STYLE CROUTONS
HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK & BUTTER BISQUITS
SMOOTH & CHUNKED CRANBERRY SAUCES
SPICED-RAISIN CHUNKY APPLESAUCE
WHIPPED-CREAM TOPPED PUMPKIN PIE
SALSA YOUR MOMMY MADE & ARIZONA GUNSLINGER
lEMON-LIME ICED TEA
Even the kid's kids could understand what it was that they were going to eat, and believe me that provided just enough information that they could already be deciding, all of them, on what thier 'favorites' were going to be.
To some extent it is dependent upon the 'style' and 'class' of a restaurant, how glitzy thier Menu is going to be... and whether the waiter is gonna be standing there an inordinate amount of time translating what's in it for the clients depends on the kind of patronage the place draws... and while this example is just a family get-together type thing, it will usually work, this sort of concept, 'better' than a mere listing of sandwiches & salads (well, entrees & desserts, too), or a whole lotta description belabouring each item. Now, I said belaboring (in English English) that is often done mainly for the entrees... but for the customer it is nice to have a bit of BRIEF adjectival description of the other items on the Menu, too... unless it is just green beans being slung out of a #10 can, eh?
=>Target pop charactersitics (Who are they, what kind of 'airs' do they put on if dining out, or don't they?).
=>What's kinda special about this food item's prep or how might we do it just a bit different than your average run-of-the-mill hash diner?
The words will just begin to 'come to you' cuz you already know them. :D
Good game with it!
~Ken aka Phoenix-TheRealDeal
~Ken aka Phoenix-TheRealDeal