The funny thing about eating in most restaurants worth returning to is that it’s not about the food. Good food is where it starts, but, frankly, the food we cook at home is often more satisfying because we buy ingredients not based on a profit margin, and what we cook is familiar to us.
What great restaurants provide is a clear sense of harmony fueled by pleasure, acceptance, and having one’s needs or desires anticipated and met. No matter the cuisine or price point, the deal is to have a person walk in the door and leave feeling better.
That’s a big part of why Italian and Japanese cuisines are so globally popular. In one case, it’s about creating the illusion of a family, and in the other it’s about service.