Pat Bruno (of all people!) made a very astute statement in one of his reviews today. In writing about La Scarola, he noted "that La Scarola practices a philosophy central to all good restaurants (Italian or otherwise), that customers do not like surprises, and that higher prices do not necessarily guarantee a really great meal (they should, but it doesn't always come out that way)."
On the TV Food Network, uber-chef, Thomas Keller (of the French Laundry) said essentially the same thing. He said that he seeks in all his dishes to remind you of things you have eaten previously, and that they greatest compliment he can get is that in the future, you will say about a dish, this reminds me of something I ate at the French Laundry.
You see so many odd combinations, attempts at innovations, "re-interpretations" of classics or of ethnic fare, would not it be nice if more chefs followed the dictates cited above.