My wife and I were hungry for a quick snack while driving on US 1 the other day. Dumplings will do, we agreed when seeing Moon Thai & Japanese Cuisine. She ordered steamed pork dumplings from the Thai menu; I ordered pan-fried beef/vegetable gyoza from the Japanese menu. Oddly, my dumplings were brought at least five minutes before my wife's order; I felt sort of bad stuffing them in my mouth while the poor thing went hungry. No, seriously, I grudgingly shared a couple, but still...
My point here is this: The gyoza, $6.95, were deep-fried and too crunchy; the steamed dumplings, $5.95, were passable. Dim sum dumplings of far far superior quality, at the stunning Hakkasan cost the same $6 to $7 per plate.
Now granted, a full dinner at Hakkasan will end up quite a bit costlier
than one at Moon. Yet the slight differential in dumpling prices is no
anomaly; depending upon how and what one orders, it is surprising how
often so-called expensive restaurants end up costing little more than
middling, so-called moderately priced ones.
This is especially true in
Miami, where our mid-scale places tend to be pricier than counterparts
in other American cities, while upscale places are similarly priced.
And it may be more valid now than ever, when many top dining
establishments offer small plates. To wit: Three of the heftier tapas
servings at Sra. Martinez would likely end up similar in price and
portion to one dinner at a family-style Spanish restaurant. Or: How
much more would a sandwich for lunch at Michael's Genuine cost than a
sandwich at some generic lunch spot? Maybe a buck. And only maybe.