Peek at my notes for deals

Q. Do you have a good resource for fine dining on a dime? I would love to find decently priced specials (for) a steakhouse palate.

I run special specials – meaning that I include interesting bargains in my Friday notes column (see it on Page 14). For instance, Luce uptown has a $25 four-course tasting menu on Friday and Saturday nights, and SouthPark-area Zebra offers three courses for $44 through Oct. 31: That's upscale food for … well, not a dime, but less than you'd usually pay.

The first Charlotte Restaurant Week, held in July, gave folks three courses for $30 at a number of upscale spots. A few places continued that pricing for some time afterward, in hopes of speeding up a slow time of year, and I wrote about that. So checking my Friday notes column is the best way I know of finding those occasional deals.

Several uptown places also have pre-theater meals for a nice price, aimed at folks heading off to a show: They're earlier in the evening, but that's a great way to get some good food more inexpensively, too.

You might also consider going to upscale places for lunch, when they often offer terrific plates at reduced costs. And my favorite trick: Share a few appetizers for dinner, rather than getting an entree each. It's often the most creative food at many higher-end restaurants, and if you're not insistent on being full, it's a great way to save.