When a Japanese steakhouse first opened in our city, it was extremely busy. Tales of flaming onion volcanoes, spatula tricks with eggs, flying bowls of rice and shots of sake had people rushing through the doors. As the newness wore off, the infatuation with the restaurant died down quickly. One of the reasons for this, in my opinion, was the price.
For example, let’s say my family visited the restaurant for dinner. My wife, myself, and my son would each order a meal, as well as upgrade from the white rice to the chicken fried rice.
$20.95 (steak and shrimp) + $3.25 (fried rice upgrade) = $24.20 per person
$24.20 per person x 3 people = $72.60 + $14.52 (20% tip) = $87.20
$87.20 for three people, and that’s assuming nobody ordered anything to drink!
While the chicken fried rice with lobster sauce is fabulous, the rest of the food is very average. The vegetables and meat are simply fried or sauteed on a flat grill. I could make steak and shrimp at home that would be tastier, and cost a lot less.
Additionally, my family is actually four people. There’s nothing on the menu of this particular restaurant interests my daughter. She usually eats before we go and just has a soft drink while enjoying the show, or she just stays home.
Because of price, lack of value, and the non-interest of my daughter, we were never regular patrons. Occasionally, however, Vonnie had wanted to go there mainly for the chicken fried rice and lobster sauce. On one of these occasions, we called the restaurant and found out that the fried rice can be ordered take out. Together we came up with the idea of getting the fried rice from the restaurant, and making the rest at home.
We are able to pick up 3 orders of chicken fried rice and lobster sauce for $10.76.
One of the best things about cooking at home is you get to select your own products and cooking method. I chose skirt steak. It’s a little of a tougher cut, but it’s full of flavor, and when grilled to medium and sliced thin, it’s fantastic, especially when covered in sauteed mushrooms. For the shrimp, I picked up a package of good sized shrimp from the grocery store for $5.00. Total cost of our meal:
Steak: $ 7.91
Shrimp: $ 5.00
Vegetables: $ 1.98
Mushrooms: $ 1.78
With a savings of almost $60, this cuts our bill to under 1/3 what it would have been at the restaurant. This has become one of our favorite special weekend meals to make, although we STILL need to make something separate for our daughter.
Girl apparently doesn’t like steak and shrimp! What?
There are many ways to save money when it comes to eating out, or making your meals at home. The “buy some, make some” method just adds another tool to the money saving toolbox.
How about you? Have you ever found something SO GOOD at a restaurant that you ordered it take out to add to food you make at home?