Many of the restaurants in suburban Maryland use unprofessional waiters - some seem barely 18, but there are broader problems.
The three scenarios occurred within one week.
At the Gaithersburg Kentlands' Bonefish, a trendy spot specializing in martinis, I recently ordred a [regular vodka] martini. The young girl waiting bar tables returned and asked if I wanted red vermouth or white vermouth. When I appeared stumped (red vermouth?), she stated emphatically that "we do not put vermouth in any martinis unless the customer specifically asks for it!" I ordered coffee. (I am 60, and not that demanding. OK, so that is a big part of the problem of course; recognizing my limitations, I am taking steps to dine out as infrequently as possible.)
I went to a Bethesda restaurant (Centro) and asked for an Old Fashioned; the yougster disappeared then returned in a few minutes and pronounced proudly: "We don't carry bitters!" I left.
Latter in the week, I had lunch at Amici Miei, a noted Italian neighborhood upscale restuarant. The trout came with bad olive oil. I fetched the proprietor through the busboy (I didn't know the busboy from the waiter) and got the main man, who lectured me on "Don't tell the busboy, he is non-verbal." and then told me in no uncertain terms that he and the chef use only the finest ingredients. So I was wrong on two counts, embarrassed - as the tables nearby caught it all - and a little sick from having tasted the olive oil. There was no attempt to remove the trout from the bill and I and my friend skulked out.
I used to dine at some pretty fair restaurants, like Lion D'Or, Le Bec Fin in Philly, and I still like Jean Michel in Bethesda, so I am not new to dining. But I see a trend. Any comments?