We’re in lean times, there is no doubt about that. But the one good thing about all this recession-doom-and-gloom is there are some amazing bargains to be found. Right now you can actually enjoy fine dining for the same cost—in the U.S., that is—as trying to reproduce it (generally unsuccessfully) on your own.
Certainly, there are pros and cons to the big chain restaurants that are the cornerstone of American dining. No, they’re not quaint and no, you’re not helping the small business owner. But what the big chains, particularly the steakhouses, do fantastically well is provide a consistently elegant, gourmet meal. There’s no silly little artistic display on a plate—you get a real slab of beef, real potatoes, real butter. I love the dark wood paneled dining rooms, the impeccable service, the gi-normous martinis (no one does martinis like America); and for two hours or so, no matter who you are or where you come from, you are treated like royalty. It’s absolutely brilliant.
That said, beef isn’t the only thing they’re slicing up in chainland. Prices are crazy cheap. Three-course menus at two of my favorite haunts are under $40 USD! That is just sick!