That's my mantra- ESPECIALLY in matters of dining out. If you have found a restaurant which serves you quality food at a reasonable cost with good service- why go anywhere else? Why go to a place you haven't been to in two years? A disapointing $60-80 meal really stings.. It's like losing your last hand at the blackjack table. Nothing left to do but go home and think about the money you've wasted..
To protect the innocent I will refer to the restaurant we went to last night as "OG". Dear wife had a birthday and after getting home from my two hour hammer-fest we all jumped in the car and headed out. Control freak that I am, it was difficult to leave the dining decision to my wife, but after all, it was HER birthday. When she suggested the "OG" I said "Why not". We'd been there before and couldn't recall a bad experience there.. WHAT A MISTAKE.
Our server was an 18 year old with a short attention span. She never offered us water (which we would be needing in copious amounts, later on) The appetizer of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and Calamari was AWFUL, and not worth 1/2 of the $9.95 we paid for it. My beer cost $4.75, her Diet coke cost $2.75.. Ugh. I chose a dish called "Mixed Grille", which left me saying "where's the beef".. Three hunks of chicken and three little pieces of red meat (cut? who the heck knows) I was asked with a straight face while ordering- how I want the meat cooked.. What a joke. They were all well done anyway. The worst part- everything from the bread to the salad to the appetizer to my six pieces of animal muscles to the mashed potatoes and "grilled" veggies.. were so SALTED that I was dying of thirst 1/4 of the way through my "meal". My wife had the same issues and left her food 1/2 eaten. Our son Reis- ate nothing. What a disappointment. Given the chance to eat this food for free, I would probably pass. Last night, I was required to bay nearly $60 for this mess. Never again..
Places we like: Haruki Japanese in Cranston or Providence! I eat lunch there twice a week (not cheap) but the food is fresh, clean, unsalted and always satisfying in a way that doesn't put you in a coma. Brain food. We've never left there unhappy. Bertucci's: We love their pizza! Some of their other Italian dishes aren't bad either, but at least they're not bullshit concoctions like at the "OG". Bertucci's keeps it simple. Love the bread they give away too. East Side Pockets on Thayer: The owners know us, they always give us extras and freebies when we go there, they even speak to us in Turkish out of simple courtesy (they're Syrian). The food is cheap and satisfying, made quick and tasty. This is why whenever we have out of town guests, we take them there at least once for teh "Thayer Street experience".
I know that dining out is taboo for many.. But if you must as we do.. stick to what you know. We all work way too hard for our money to take dumb and expensive chances on lousy food.