Simplicity or Complexity
If you've lived in the Atlanta area for very long, you know that the food/bar scene is light-years away from the1990s when we mostly looked for the best pizza and most authentic Mexican places in town... as in... Pippin's over by Tech and US Y Bar & Grill off Northside Dr. But today no place is worth it's salt unless they serve trendy, hoppy beers with freaky names and gluten-free entrees etc. I find myself reading menus struggling to find something I want that's not flavored or seasoned with the latest taste de jour. Anyone else looking for simple vs. complicated food? Think chicken and rice with a couple fresh vegetables or a simple salad with cornbread in something nicer than a meat and three cafeteria. Anybody?
I know the feeling. I wouldn't have framed it quite as you did, and I have no problem with a meat-and-three dinner, if it's nicely prepared. Often they are not, but I wouldn't say they are trendy. Maybe I missed your meaning.
I am much happier with a simple, but delicious, meal. All the fanciness seems to bypass my perception. I think a chicken/rice/vegies meal can be fully satisfying, especially if it costs a third what an extravagant meal might cost.
Sorry, you lost me at "trendy, hoppy beers with freaky names," since I've been enjoying those since the late 90's (and at over 6% in GA since 2004).
I think this is a bit reductionist- there are always going to be places that think simplicity is best. And ones that overdo their dishes in ways bordering on the absurd.
I really like cooking hot-smoked salmon. Read any barbecue forum and people do obscene amounts of brining/marinating, rubbing and glazing to their salmon. My method- a really hot lump charcoal fire with a piece of hickory, pecan, or apple; salt and pepper on the fish; put it on the opposite side from the fire and smoke/roast for 20 min. We like to eat it, but we almost like making salmon cakes a day or two later just as much.
That said, when a chef makes something I have little hope of replicating at home (or maybe just time), I appreciate that too.