Belt Tightening a Few Notches

In the homey '90s, caviar is out and turnips are in, as restaurant-goers look to their wallets as well as their menus

Food as entertainment was a fad of the ostentatious '80s, but yesterday's foie gras has become today's mashed potatoes. In a time of recession, diners are still serious about what they eat, but they look hard at their wallets before perusing the menu. Aware of this, restaurateurs are combining ingenuity with unpretentious ingredients to come up with dishes that are easy on both the palate and the pocketbook.

As the craze for chic cuisine has calmed, there is a renewed taste for homey -- and less expensive -- staples of the past. Put plainly, the croissant is out and the doughnut...

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