I guess I should have known better. I've stayed away from Morton's for years, because it has seemed like a slightly upscale version of Outback. But tonight, walking back to my hotel, I was overwhelmed by the scent of steak cooking and wandered into Morton's in Crystal City. The place appeared less than half full at 7:15. I waited a minute for the maitre d' to take me to my single table next to the smoking area (a convenient location to have access to the washrooms, to be sure).
A 2 lb. loaf of bread was almost immediately plopped on my table by a busboy. At 7:20, I endured a five-minute presentation by Janice, my server, who then brought me a menu ... just in case I hadn't been able to figure out what those plastic-wrapped, but described in depth, slabs of meat were. Five minutes later, Janice took my order for a salad and a filet with a la carte broccoli. The salad arrived relatively quickly, and after I dispatched it, my place was cleared and I sat and waited. And waited. And waited.
At 8:15, after failing to catch Janice's eye, or even that of the tuxedoed maitre d' who was running (well, ambling is more like it) back and forth from the front of the house to the kitchen, I myself wandered to the front of the restaurant and mentioned that I had been there close to an hour and hadn't received my steak. I pointed out that I was no longer hungry and would like my check.
I returned to my seat, expecting the maitre d' or Janice to stop by and apologize. Instead, five minutes later still, Janice arrived with my steak and my broccoli. I pointed out that I didn't want it, and Janice said, "OK." Five minutes later, she brought my check, which mercifully only included an $8 salad, a $4.95 San Pellegrino, and a $3.25 Diet Coke. (I won't mention the irony of drinks costing more than an expensive salad.)
I left, without anyone apologizing or apparently even noting that there was any sort of problem.
As I walked down the street I noticed a Hamburger Hamlet next door, and sincerely wished I had kept walking instead of turning into Morton's. Next time, I'll chose ground beef instead of falling prey to the scent of steak on a Morton's grill.