[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

On this week's Ask the Critic, Carey answered a problem we hear often: "I want to eat exciting food but can't afford fine dining." Her response:

Many of today's dining trends don't bode well for a diner on a budget. Exorbitantly priced plates "for two," $16 cocktails and $25 burgers--it can seem like prices in Manhattan only go up. But one trend does work in our favor. Higher-end chefs have, increasingly, showed interest in much more casual venues.

See all her picks here.

Have a question of your own you want answered? Email carey@seriouseats.com with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question. All emails will be read, but unfortunately not all can be answered. We look forward to hearing from you!

Previously on Ask the Critic

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