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We know, we know. The deep-dish at Cousin Frankie’s got you through your last breakup. But that $17 price tag? Totally insane considering the restaurant probably paid $2.50 for ingredients. Next time: DIY it with an easy at-home recipe.
Scallops are one of those rare dishes that restaurants actually lose money on. (Day-boat prices are high, yet this inflation is rarely reflected on menus.) Plus, they’re just better when cooked professionally. Grocery-store scallops are typically thawed or frozen, and even if you do get your hands on fresh ones, a few simple mistakes can render them rubbery. Do yourself a favor and leave this dish to the pros.
You’d never spend $5 for a hot dog at the supermarket, but for some reason you’re wooed by kids’ meal offerings. For a healthier, more budget-friendly option, feed the kiddos before going out to dinner, then have them experiment with inexpensive appetizers at the restaurant. Junior might actually like that black-bean hummus.
Yes, the markup for chicken wings at a restaurant is insane (you can buy 'em for $2 a pound at the grocery store). But, honestly, don’t you have better things to do than put out a grease fire? Skip the messy DIY thing and order a big ol’ bucket next time you’re at a well-respected wings joint.
Unless the restaurant is known for its handmade gnocchi, you’re likely paying $16 for a dish that cost $2 to make. For an equally quality Italiano dinner, find a good recipe online and get to work in the kitchen. Remember: Sauces freeze well, so a large batch can last you a few meals.
Do you have your own smoker? No? Then don’t be stingy.
At-home sushi is fun, but you’ll probably end up spending as much on ingredients as you would for a night out at Akito. What’s more, reputable sushi restaurants spend up to 40 minutes just rinsing the rice. In other words: Well worth your money.
Look, we’re not going to tell you to forgo your favorite Pinot. But do keep in mind that restaurants mark up bottles anywhere from 200 to 600 percent. If you’re on a budget, stick to one glass at dinner and have a nightcap at home.
$19 for spaghetti? $42 for farm-raised salmon? $4.50 for a ginger ale?
Navigating a restaurant menu is hard enough, but trying to figure out which dishes are worth the extra dollars can be damn near impossible.
We checked in with executive chef Zeke Wray to learn which pricey dishes are worth the splurge (scallops) and which are just a total rip-off (we’re looking at you, pasta).
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