My Ethnic Dining Guide, revised

Here is the seventeenth edition.  Even if you don’t live near Washington D.C., here are  a few general tips for eating out:

         1. Avoid dishes that are "ingredients-intensive."  Raw
ingredients in America –  vegetables, butter, bread, meats, etc. – are below
world standards.  Even most underdeveloped countries have better raw
ingredients than we do, at least if you have a U.S. income to spend there, and
often even if one doesn’t.  Ordering the plain steak in Latin America may
be a great idea, but it is usually a mistake in Northern Virginia.  Opt
for dishes with sauces and complex mixes of ingredients.  Go for dishes
that are "composition-intensive."

          2. Appetizers often are better than main courses.  Meals composed of
appetizers and side dishes alone can be very satisfying.  Thai and
Lebanese restaurants provide the classic examples of this principle.

          3. Avoid desserts.  Most ethnic restaurants in America, no matter how
good, usually fall flat with the desserts.  Especially if the restaurant
is Asian.

          4. Order more than you plan to eat.