Over on the Pizza page (on Roadfood), I and others have certainly bitched about pizza joints charging insane markups for toppings like onions, bell pepper, black olive, etc. Some have complained about getting charged up to $2.50 for a tiny amount of jalapenos, that kind of thing. It's absurd.
For me, there are two "international" areas that get my goat: Indian and Middle Eastern. Which I both like (more than Asian), but hate for their pricing structures. In both Indian, and say, Lebanese, I like a variety of items, but it seems like every piece of bread, every sauce, EVERYTHING ends up priced, or OVERPRICED, separately. It's nuts, and it keeps me away. If I go for French, or Italian, or German, whatever, I don't see the bread show up on the bill. If I go for Lebanese, I have to pay for garlic sauce, I have to pay for pita, I hate it. Same thing with Indian, maybe worse. Separate bill for every piece of bread, for RICE, you name it, it's on the bill.
At the dumpy Middle Eastern place at the Farmer's Market here in LA, a plate, with a couple pieces of falafel, one piece of pita, and a tiny bit of hummus, the price has jumped from an already insane $9.50 to $12, and now you have to ASK for the sauce they used to give you for the falafel. The little yellow peppers that were gratis are now an extra charge. God forbid you forget to get your parking validated.
I don't know, it's seems to be like this everywhere, not just LA. It's some kind of dumb business plan that sure as hell discourages single diners, you know? MAYBE it's sort of possible to control costs when you are out with 3 others, and you can split dishes up, but no way does it work for one, unless the restaurant makes the effort. There used to be a little Lebanese shack, only open for lunch, here in DT LA that did that. A nice variety of falafel, hummus, rice, pita, that red walnut sauce, lettuce, the tahini sauce, the whole enchilada, for maybe $4. That works. Screw this "family style" nonsense. I don't have any family. Well, of course the shack is long gone, and I've never seen an Indian version of that. I want an affordable plate with some kind of curry, saffron rice, some veggie thing, and two different breads, at lunch, for about $5.
-Scott Lindgren email@example.com