Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Restaurant Dishes Are Ripping You Off?

What goes through your mind when you're looking over a restaurant menu?

One of the first things I think when I see a dish that catches my eye is, "couldn't I just make that at home?".

For instance, I love chicken but I can make chicken. Plus, chicken's cheap. So why would I pay, say, $22 for some chicken entree that I know I can make at home cheaper and maybe even fresher and better? (Fried chicken is probably my one exception to this rule. I LOVE good fried chicken but it's a major pain to make and also sorta tricky. If I know a place has a reputation for good fried chicken that might make me go for the bird.)

Same goes for burgers. I love that we're going through a burger renaissance and that there are alternatives to Burger King and McDonald's popping up all over, but nine times out of ten I've discovered that I could make a better burger at home than anything I'm getting out. (Which explains why I have yet to try a Five Guys.)

All of this came to mind after reading this ABC News article about how certain restaurant foods may feel like a bargain but they're really not. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff – don't we all know pasta dishes cost about $5 to prepare? – but I did find it interesting that over the last 15 years appetizer costs have risen disproportionately to the increase in food costs.

What about you? Do you let your home cooking skills factor into your menu choices when dining out? Please comment below...


Rosentree said...

For similar reasons to what you mention HG I rarely order pasta at restaurants as 9/10 times I can make a great pasta at home for not much $ and it irks me to pay 10x the cost. Same goes with chicken with the exception like you said for fried or otherwise cooked in some way I cannot easily replicate. I usually go out to asian or other ethnic places for these reasons - does not have to cost much but is hard to reproduce at home.

JT said...

You're not missing much with Five Guys. OK burger, lots of fries. No shakes, which is always a no-no in my book.

Recently did try "The Habit", a California entry into the upscale burger market. Very good, preferable to In n' Out or Fatburger (my previous fave).

I'll take a good ol' Whataburger anyday!