Originally Posted by aybojs
I think there's a point to complaining about prices. I can appreciate fancy cuisine, but typically the prices at fine restaurants are horribly out of line with the quality of ingredients, preparation, and portions in what you get. You're basically paying for the image, the ambience, and the exclusivity of dining in a "name" place. Carlhuber's right in that a simple $10-20 meal at your average ethnic food place will likely be far more satisfying that some boring three course tasting meal at Chez Douche that might, at best, fill you up halfway, even if the latter has really, really hip-looking plates and glassware, and the chef garnishes the dish with a carrot cut in the shape of a rose. Really, the only places I have no qualms about spending money at are steakhouses, because there they tend to do away with the pretension and just give you a good portion of well-prepared meat that actually addresses the whole "eating to fulfill hunger, not to impress people" objective.
What's wrong with paying for ambience, etc. if that's of value to someone? It's a little unfair, and uncharitable, to assume that everyone who prefers to eat at more expensive restaurants than you do are eating "to impress people", just as it would be unfair to assume that anyone who pays for nice clothes is dressing "to impress people". Many people indulge themselves in one or both of these areas because it gives them pleasure, not because they give a fig what anyone else thinks.
I also disagree about steakhouses. Steakhouses are very much about ambience and image, although the "image" one is cultivating may be very different than in, say, a "fusion" restaurant. If you were truly eating simply to fulfill hunger a steakhouse likely would be one of the last places you'd eat, given the pretty poor nutrition-per-dollar ratio.