There is a lovely Italian place in a nearby city that we go to once every 2-3 months. It's not real high-end, but it's certainly not a pizza joint, either. The food is always very good, and the service is excellent---usually. There are 2 servers there who are VERY professional---and one who is, well,...not. This past weekend we went for an early dinner there---and got the "not" server. Normally we're all about the food, but this is one place where the service is usually so good that you leave feeling like you've been pampered. Not so this last time. The server just didn't seem to give a damn. My husband asked for a wine recommendation and got little more than a shrug of the shoulders (the other 2 servers have given excellent recommendations in the past). We had to ASK for bread---while watching the other servers greet their guests promply with a basket. Our "standard" order is a bit unusual---we order an appetizer of eggplant rollatine to split, then I order an appetizer order of eggplant rollatine and a side of linguini as my entree (DH's entree choice varies). Normally, this is met with, "Very well." THIS server's reply? "You want TWO orders of eggplant?" *sigh*
And it went downhill from there. DH was NOT offered freshly ground pepper on his salad (he LOVES this), we had to flag her down to keep our water glasses filled (we were her only table), she attempted to take away dishes---before we were finished eating from them. All the while, we watched longingly as the two other servers treated their diners to flawless service.
So, here's my question: once we realized that this server was not up to the restaurant's normal standards, could we have asked for another server? And on future visits, how can we be sure to get one of the "good" servers from the very beginning? We're not really "regulars", and don't know any of the servers names. We rarely make reservations---we're early eaters so we tend to "walk in" without a problem. We left a lousy tip ( we NEVER do this!), but would have preferred the excellent service to saving a few bucks.
So, what should we have done? What should we do in the future? Thanks!