I have a short piece in the NYT Sunday magazine on that question, here is one excerpt:
Moisture is a key element to consider. Eggs, traditionally deemed a safe choice in diners, are easy to overcook and thus are often served dry and tasteless. Chili and other slow-simmering dishes are a better option, because they can be left on the stove forever and still taste O.K. The initial recipe may not be optimal, but the restaurant’s mistakes probably won’t make them worse, and the spices in a good blend can overcome mediocre ingredients. Ribs, which are usually cooked mechanically with little threat of human error, can also sit for a long time at low heat and will almost certainly taste better than they look. At an Italian restaurant, spaghetti is a safer choice than lasagna, since a lot of the moisture is added ex post, through the sauce, making it harder to dry it out.
photo credit: Thomas Tolkien
Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.