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Love It or Hate It: Prix Fixe Recession Specials

While they're nothing new to the world of restaurant dining, lately fixed-price menus have become more prevalent. Last month, as the nation's economy reached record lows, online reservation system OpenTable promoted its Appetite Stimulus Plan, a three-course, prix fixe promotional offering at restaurants in 13 US cities. I've noticed a number of San Francisco dining spots with set menu bargains, and New York establishments are also suggesting several courses for a steal. While some diners have been taking every opportunity to try set menus at special prices, I've been sticking to the traditional menu. I gravitate toward innovative preparations, and the prix fixe options I've seen have often been tired standards, such as mixed greens appetizers, uninspired chicken entrées, and sorbet desserts. It makes me wonder who's getting the better end of the bargain: diners, or dining establishments?

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