In my world view, the whole point to going out to a restaurant is to try something I have never had before. Since I often look at the costs associated with anything that I do, I want to be sure that I'm going to both enjoy the place and also enjoy the food item that I have never tried before. Also, I tend to want to go out for food that I would otherwise not eat at home.
Going out to eat is an expensive endeavor in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy the experience, or that you have to forgo it entirely. Christina and I used to be big time foodie geeks, and when we lived in San Francisco, we would go out a *lot*. Now that we have three kids and all that goes with that, we have trimmed back on the various "food expeditions" but we still like to go out perhaps once or twice a month, and when we do so, we want to find something unique, interesting and worth the time and money to scope it out.
With this in mind, I want to give some solid props to K-Tofu and Grill in San Bruno. For those who are fans of Korean cuisine, this is a great place to get a solid Korean food fix without breaking the bank. The dishes are reasonably priced and they have a wide variety of food options to try. Their Moeun Ohjinjoh Twigim (deep fried spicy calamari) and Dolsot Bibimbab (mixed beef, vegetables and rice served in a hot stoneware pot) are both notable and quite memorable dishes, and price wise, you get a substantial amount of food (Christina and I were quite happy with the two items listed above and more than fed both of us very happily :) ).
So if Korean is your thing, check out K-Tofu and Grill on San Mateo Avenue in San Bruno. If you never considered Korean food as being "your thing", well, this place may help you start :). Wherever you decide to go, if you want an adventure and want to try something truly unique, going out may be the best use of both your time and your dollars. Otherwise, do more meals at home and aim to make those nights out truly unique and special :).