So last night we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and while it was nice, I came away wondering what my expectations should be for restaurant food.
I cook a lot. I buy quality ingredients - not usually *luxurious*, but fresh, quality, often organic ingredients. I make most things from scratch. But also, I make the same dinner for one little family, not a fifty tables of diners all choosing different dishes.
I had a slow-cooked lamb bits in sauce over risotto. It was okay, but I was a little disappointed because the sauce was obviously made from one of those commercially made sauce bases instead of something more handmade, and the rice wasn't really risotto - it wasn't made that way, it didn't have an al dente center or the creaminess or infused flavor of a real risotto preparation. It wasn't Arborio, and it almost certainly wasn't Vialone Nano or Carnaroli. It was some kind of long-grain white rice. It wasn't *bad*, it just wasn't my idea of risotto. It was about what I would have made myself -- ten or fifteen years ago when I was learning to cook.
This entree was served alone and it cost around $22. I can't tell if I'm being overly picky or if it's reasonable to be disappointed. They didn't lie - these expectations were in my head, not on the menu. Maybe it's unreasonable to expect higher-cost ingredients and more labor for this price point? What do you expect for a $22 dish of "risotto" and lamb?