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personally, i do not like to dine in these places. more often than not, the service is snobby and the food is overpriced with too much focus on the *art* and not enough on the *culinary*.....but each their own.

Boy do I agree. The few times we splurge, we want to try new things and appreciate fresh ingredients and experience something different than the run of the mill restaurant. But we simply hate feeling "ripped off" when we get something very minimal and prettified for $30-$40 per person.

One thing I think makes people uncomfortable is when dishes go overboard with the architectural look. How does one know whether the feathery flower or crayfish thingie on top is edible or decorative, without risking embarrassment. It is somewhat intimidating to know where to even begin and it's going to look like a mess anyway as soon as you start eating.
Second, all the time, effort and fresh ingredients the chef put into those wonderful sauces are for me, what make the dish. So I have a hard time understanding why the plate is barely spattered with the sauce.
And finally, the tiny square of polenta, slivered baby vegetables and dab of puree on the bottom can't cost that much. Putting an extra tablespoon or two of them on the plate so I can feel like I ate, shouldn't ruin the bottom line, or the artistic balance of the presentation.

Now I can forgive all the above if the combination of textures and flavors really "sings" and the chef has really shown some culinary talent or done something difficult and pulled it off well. But 9 times out of 10 one finds it's all been glitter and no substance.

I'm just ranting generally, you understand, but my DH and I really detest what is being passed off for food in some expensive restaurants that should know better.

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