Mike-Suz; you wrote "You can't expect top of the line cuisine at bargain basement prices." and as I agree with you 100%, but that doesn't mean that meals are not repetitive.
I love going to the MDR myself, but I also like to embark on different flavors that are not offered in a traditional dining room. Of course it's a strategy for cruise lines to offer this, but it's also something that cruisers have been wanting. Will I ever give up the MDR, never, but I personally like the option of having options.
How about a speciality restaurant as my treat one time, on me,you and your wife, if we ever cruise together?