I don't care for scene, hipness, etc. I'd much rather find a great ethnic eatery in a corner strip mall. I'm a food lover, but not a cash cow (money hard earned, yet hardly earned), so I've learned to appreciate great eats from places with laminated tables, plastic forks or styrofoam cups.
In short, an expensive meal for me (and many) is a rare treat. I'm cheaply, but that's not because I'm against spending, good restaurants, etc. In fact, I probably spend more than most folks I know at farmer's markets and speciatly shops. And if I was rolling in funds, I'd be draining them just as fast. I've simply chosen a career path that is less lucrative. So we have to find a compromise. Where can one get the most culinary bang for their dining buck?
I'm not looking for the cheapest eats. More like great fare at a great fare. Do you know of restaurants, for example, that have an inexpensive tasting menu? Or great specials, such as a pricey dinner place that has great deals to court lunchtime diners? How about an emerging chef/owner who is open to testing new skills/dishes?
Spago meets Norms. Quality meets value. Is it possible?