Just wanted to relate a Valentine's Day dining experience that was memorable for the wrong reasons.
Went out without a reservation on Friday night, looking for a decent meal without a long wait in the Los Feliz area. By default, we ended up at La Poubelle on Franklin. I should know better, since I haven't had a decent meal there in years, but the options were limited that evening.
There was a special menu for V-Day which included about 8 entree choices. About 20 minutes after ordering, we had to ask for utensils, napkins (one place setting was absent) and bread. 30-40 minutes later, our salad was served. I asked for more water, which never arrived. Less than 10 minutes after the salad was served and before we'd had time to even finish half of it, our entrees were put on the table. Our server merely plunked the plates down and walked away, oblivious. My fillet (ordered medium-rare) was well-done but I ate it anyway. I just didn't care to chance waiting another hour for unremarkable meat.
When the bill arrived, the waiter had added at 20% gratuity to the total bill, including wine. My companion checked the menu, and nowhere did it say that a gratuity was included. I questioned the waiter, who told me that I could change the total on my credit card slip if I wished. I did, of course, to reflect a 15% tip on the total minus wine, which was actually more than I should have left since the service was dismal. A couple sitting nearby overhead our exchange and seemed shocked that a gratuity was included. We encouraged them to question it. I wonder how many diners actually paid it without a thought.
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