Tuesday, April 22, at 11 AM
Where can you get a three-star experience at one-star prices? Which hot new restaurant merits the scorching hype? The answer to all these questions and more can be found Tuesdays at 11 AM on Kliman Online. Host Todd Kliman

Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.

Published April 16, 2014

Where can you get a three-star experience at one-star prices? Which hot new restaurant merits the scorching hype? The answer to all these questions and more can be found Tuesdays at 11 AM on Kliman Online.

From scoping out scruffy holes in the wall to weighing the merits of four-star wanna-bes, from scouring the 'burbs and exurbs to hitting the city's streets, Todd Kliman covers a lot of territory.

Winner of a James Beard Foundation Award in 2005 for the country's best newspaper column about food, Kliman is food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The Washingtonian. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper'sThe Oxford American, Lucky Peach, The Daily Beast and Men's Health, among others, and he has been selected four times for inclusion in the Best Food Writing anthologies. He was a finalist for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, and recently took home first-place honors for feature writing from the Association of Food Journalists.

Kliman is the author of The Wild Vine, a literary exploration of two entwined mysteries: an obscure grape that rose to prominence, only to disappear, and its present-day evangelist, a foul-mouthed transgendered multi-millionaire vintner on an obsessive quest to restore the legend of an antebellum southern doctor.

He previously taught writing and literature at American University and Howard University. At Howard, he was also the editorial advisor to The Illtop Journal, Chris Rock's humor magazine modeled after the Harvard Lampoon.

Can't wait a week to talk to Todd? Follow him on Twitter for dining reports, tips, and breaking news from the culinary world. Or write to him: tkliman@washingtonian.com

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W H E R E   I ' M   E A T I N G   N O W   .  .  .

Thai Taste by Kob, Wheaton
On a three-block stretch of Wheaton, near the intersection of University Blvd. and Georgia Ave., can be found two of the area's best Thai restaurants -- Ruan Thai and Nava Thai. Time to add a third. Phak Duangchandr -- Kob, to friends -- has set up shop in the tiny space that originally contained Nava, in the back of Hung Phat market. Thai food fans may remember her, or at least her cooking; for 19 years she operated the Thai Food Carryout at Thai Market, near the old Safeway in Wheaton. The new setting, electrified with a paint job of orange and day-glo green, gives her a chance to expand her repertoire of dishes, while staying true to the from-scratch traditions that earned her a devoted following. The emphasis is on street food and homecooking, with a good many dishes you simply won't find anywhere else, like bamee moo daeng, a meal-in-a-bowl of tender egg noodles, red-edged roast pork, baby bok choy, and fish balls; or kai yad sai, an omelette stuffed with ground chicken punched up with fish sauce and soy sauce; or a salad of shrimp paste-flavored rice, onions, cucumber and sweet, sticky pork). But even familiar tastes, taste different here -- funkier, more pungent, and definitely hotter (a shrimp fried rice, alive with fistfuls of Thai basil and a generous pinch of chilis, set my heart to racing). Some customers have already been asking for more rice to accompany their orders. Partner and manager Max Praserptmate says he is willing to accommodate any requests, but adds that his aunt's cooking is not the aberration; it's the great majority of Thai restaurants that are the aberration. "The taste," he says, "is what you're supposed to get from your Thai food." Duangchandr imports many of her spices from Thailand, and toasts and grinds them herself. All the condiments on the spice tray, including a terrific chili vinegar, are made on the premises. Meats are given a long soak before hitting the grill -- 72 hours, in the case of the pork that is pounded and threaded onto a skewer to create a must-order starter called moo yang. The other must-order starter sure doesn't sound like it -- when was the last time you had fried shrimp wontons that were any good? These are fabulous. Kiew tod comes to the table looking more like a plate of tortilla chips, the mix of shrimp and white pepper bundled within a sneakily rolled edge. The crunch is junk food-loud; it's hard not to believe they weren't engineered in a lab. No beer or wine yet; Praserptmate says soon on both. I would take the money you'd ordinarily spend on a drink and spring for an extra dish or two (most are under $10, and many items will survive into the next day).

Trapezaria, Rockville

The kind of big-hearted restaurant that takes you to another place (Baltimore? St. Louis?) and maybe another time (late' 70s). Come on a weekend night, when there's a two-piece band and the place is humming and you'll feel as if you've just crashed a wedding reception. I love the GM in coat and tie who shows you to your table, maitre d'-style. I love the waitress who turned to me one night when I was trying to decide between a lamb dish on the menu and a lamb dish that was a special, and said, "Listen. Listen to me," and insisted I order the latter. She was right. The meat was rich and juicy and drenched in a lemon-spiked gravy. Alongside it: lemon roasted potatoes and green beans cooked with tomato and mint. True to the homestyle nature of the place, you couldn't see any white space on the plate. Another great dish is the fried cod, delicately light, with a fluff of skordalia in the center, a sit-down Greek fish and chips. The menu has no weak spots, as far as I can tell. I've been three times, now, and nearly everything that has come out of the kitchen has ranged from the good to the terrific. Vegetarians can revel here. Iman bayaldi, a dish of roasted eggplant drenched in cinnamon-spiced tomato sauce, has the tight, knitted flavor of expert long-cooking. It comes in a massive portion, and costs just $7. There are stuffed grape leaves without the ground beef, filled with well-cooked rice and pine nuts and wrapped in fresh-tasting leaves that still have some good chew to them. If it takes wrapping up some food for leftovers in order to manage dessert, then do it. The version of galaktobouriko -- presented in small, crunchy pieces, almost like bites of fudge -- is one of the best I've eaten in years; the baklava (served warm, and nearly spilling its crunchy, nutty, sticky filling) is stunning; and the centerpiece of the yogurt with honey and walnuts is a scoop that has been strained almost to the consistency of a cheese, with a tanginess that goes on and on and on.

Bangkok Golden, Falls Church


I was tempted to say this a while back, but didn't. I will now, after a recent knockout visit: I'd rather go here, for the Lao menu, than Little Serow. The range of tastes is vast, and every plate is alive with flavor -- bright and pungent and smoky and funky. Not to mention crunch and heat. Not to mention a shorter wait and a lighter bill (my recent meal of four dishes and a beer, pre-tax: $43).

Rose's Luxury, DC


I love the crackle in the room when you walk in. I'm not talking about mere noise; lots of restaurants have noise. I'm not even talking about buzz, that sense that a new place is hot. This one has an energy that is unmistakable, a sense that you have entered a kind of rare and cherished zone where the enthusiasm of the kitchen and the staff is returned in kind by the diners, who all seem to walk out the door with smiles on their faces. It's not hard to understand why. Rose's Luxury has an old-school vibe, and a sort of making-it-up-as-we-go-along feel, from the homey, unassuming way the menu bids you to settle in and order to the dinner party-run-amok vibe to the yahrzeit-look-alike votives to the beer glasses that are sawed-off wine bottles. The chef, Aaron Silverman, logged stints in such high-profile kitchens as Momofuku in New York and Husk and McCrady's in Charleston, and you don't have to look hard to see elements of each of these places in the room and on the plate. Like his mentors David Chang and Sean Brock, he aims to bring off a marriage of extreme playfulness and extreme precision. The bulk of the menu consists of a dozen small plates in which Silverman sets out to cross the wires, compositionally speaking, and see what happens. A pate is a braiding of French, Italian (garlic bread are the toasts), Vietnamese (the rich, crushed-peanut topped spread brims with star anise), and I want to say Jewish (the brine for the jalapenos, onions and cukes that add crunch and tang tastes deli to me). It's seamlessly done, and highly addictive. He crosses high and low in a soup that tastes at once like liquefied popcorn and a delicate lobster veloute (the sweetness calls out for some sort of counterbalancing ingredient, or more lobster). It's not all derring-do. His gnocchi are more properly a kind of ravioli, stuffed with fennel and mint, sauced with not-too-much butter and topped with a generous scattering of crunchy toasted breadcrumbs. You'd be hard put to find five better pasta dishes in town right now. The final course is a page not out of Momofuku or Husk or McCrady's, but out of Komi -- share plates for two. In one, you lay luscious slices of perfectly smoked brisket on griddled Texas toast, add on tangy strands of pickled cabbage and smear the whole thing with a fluffy horseradish cream. The other is built around a beautifully brined pork chop -- sweet and aromatic and rich as the best pork can be -- with potlikker beans and a textbook red-eye gravy. The final act needs re-staging. The lack of a pastry chef doesn't help, nor does the tendency to over-think and over-embellish. Quenelles of chocolate cream sprinkled with dried rose petals and intended for spreading on slices of charred bread feels twee, not interesting, and hardly satisfies. More of the sink-in simplicity of the share courses would go a long way. Still, this is one of the most exciting debuts of the year. I'd even go so far as to say it's one of the most exciting debuts of the past three years.

Khan Kabob, Chantilly


The best karahi I've had in ages, maybe ever, is a version here made with lamb brains. The brains, for the leery, resemble tiny curds, and the sauce of garlic, ginger, cilantro, tomato and chilis is so concentrated, and so smoky, that even after you've had your fill it's difficult to stop dipping your torn naan into the hammered metal vessel. Tariq Khan, the owner, was for many years part of the Ravi Kabob empire; he's created a worthy rival.

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FOLLOWING UP FROM LAST WEEK: GREAT FOOD MOVIES ...:

Todd,

I missed your live chat last week but read it over the weekend. The best food movie ever has to be "The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover". It is disturbing but great.

Tom,

Corduroy

Todd Kliman:

I forgot about that one!

Yes yes yes. The great Peter Greenaway. Truly weird. Truly creepy. Truly brilliant.

I’m going to rent it again, just because of your mention. It’s been years. Thank you.

And thanks for being a reader.

Good morning, everyone. What’s on your mind, this fine Spring morning. One of the few. It’ll be in the 80s in a day or two and summer will be upon us. Spring used to be a season. Now it’s a transition.

Anyway: what’s on your mind? Where are you eating? What are you cooking? Where do you want to try?

COCONUT CAKES TO GO, CONT. ...:

RE: Coconut Cake:

The chatter might also want to try Kate at Willow, but don't know how quick she could do it, they take custom orders and her layer cakes are great.

Todd Kliman:

Worth a try, anyway.

Thanks for passing on the tip!

TIPPING, CONT. ...:

Tipping From a former Washingtonian:

When my two children were younger and messier, I almost always left at least several or more dollars at the table, often the equivalent of the 20 percent or more I usually tip, in addition to 20 percent-plus on the card. This occurred mostly at ethnic and locally owned establishments. I wanted to express my appreciation for the mess my kids left.

I also figured the wait staff would be grateful for the cash, it would be spent in the community, and that management would know by the charged tip that service was good.

Lately, I’ve been frequenting a couple of café-type lunch spots in our smallish town that offer lunch specials. Since I want them to stay in business and believe that I’m getting a great value in terms of price and quality, I typically leave 50 percent or more, and oftentimes 100 percent of the 8 bucks I might spend on soup and salad. I would do the same if I had a favorite bar, but family history suggests this would be a bad idea.

Todd Kliman:

This is great. Thank you.

And thanks for joining us today from Auburn, Alabama.

You’re a thoughtful and generous tipper. It’s always nice to hear that people like this are out there.

I’m still interested in exploring this, and the question that interests me is whether you — all of you, I mean — tip more at mom ‘n’ pops. Or do you tip the same as you would anywhere else? Or do you tip less, as some people I know do, because the service at places like this is often much less attentive and informed than it is at a place on the order of a Restaurant Eve? Do you take into account the cheap prices — that is to say, do you factor in that in some cases you’re getting a meal for 3 for $45, and a good meal for three, and why not just leave $15.

WHERE TO GRAB A BITE AND CATCH THE WIZARDS ...:

Todd, how can you think about food at a time like this? The Wizards!!!

Okay, where are some potentially underrated places to watch the Wiz's impending Cinderella run deep into the playoffs, considering food, atmosphere, etc.

Todd Kliman:

You mean their run to the Eastern Conference Finals?

Game 1 was telling. They can match Chicago’s defensive intensity, at least in stretches. And they have more O. Heading into the series, the thing I was most anxious about was not a match-up on the court; it was Tom Thibodeau vs. Randy Wittman. TT may still get the better of him, but I’m not nearly as worried now. This team has a lot of pieces. Let’s just keep Nene upright — in hindsight, good thing for that relatively minor injury that sidelined him for 6 refreshing weeks.

Nobody talks about the team, but you know what? The Redskins didn’t make the playoffs this year, the Nationals didn’t make the playoffs this year, and the Capitals didn’t make the playoffs this year. Only the Wizards. They need their due.

Anyway, some good spots to catch the game … you could go upscale and watch at the bar at BLT Steak; I’ve done that before, and had a good (if expensive) time. Fiola and the new Fiola Mare have TVs; I’d give them a shot, given the quality of the food and drink on offer. Less expensive, and maybe more interesting — Bar Pilar has TVs, and will gladly turn it to the game for you (I already greased the skids there for you; you can thank me later ;). Boundary Stone might also be good, though I expect you’d have to alert them to the fact that an important game is on and why is the set tuned to CNN.

FOLLOWING UP: MY DAUGHTER'S TOP 10 YUMMIEST DISHES ...:

A while ago I asked for a recommendation for my daughter's 18th birthday.

I said that she was such a foodie that when a college asked for her for a top ten list she sent her 10 yummiest dishes. You said that you would love to see the list but worried that it might be too flip for a college essay. I didn't say anything to her because I didn't want to upset her with the idea she had submitted a bad essay choice. We thought it would be OK since it was only one the 7 short essays, in addition to longer ones that she had to submit to Wake Forest.

Fortunately, she got in and will be attending in the fall. I am attaching the list while asking for a recommendation for her graduation dinner. The only limits on the recommendation are: less expensive than a place like Cityzen with a number of good choices that are not red meat. She wanted you to know that while she loves all the dishes listed, the list was created, as so many lists are, to show balance among cuisines, locations and price points:

Top 10 Yummiest Foods I’ve Ever Eaten

1. Cardinal Sin at Ted Drew's in St. Louis, Missouri

2. Eggplant Ruben at DGS in Washington, DC

3. Chopped Liver Sandwich at Katz Deli in New York, New York

4. Peking Duck Nachos at Dragonfly in San Juan, Puerto Rico

5. Le saumon dans sa robe croustillante, sauce homardine at L'auberge Chez Français in Great Falls, VA

6. Palak Chaat at Rasika in Washington, DC

7. Banh Min at Nhu Lan sandwich shop in Falls Church, Virginia

8. Sweet Potato Fries at Zola in Washington, DC

9. Mona Lisa Sandwich at Earl's Sandwiches in Arlington, Virginia

10. I Can't Believe it's Vegan cupcakes at Baked and Wired cupcakes in Washington, DC

Todd Kliman:

First of all, please tell her how much I like her list. She’s an eater after my own heart.

And please also offer my congratulations on getting into Wake Forest.

Interesting to see Ted Drew’s at no. 1, but I completely understand. They’re amazing. The gang at DGS will be thrilled, I’m sure, to be the first food item on here. The palaak chaat at Rasika is interesting and memorable, and would probably wind up on many a top 10 in this area. Neat to see Earl in there along with Nhu Lan, which I think is one of the two best spots to get a banh mi. Zola is gone, but evidently something still lingers. L’Auberge! Still making memories! I’m sure the crew there will be delighted to see this. And what does it say that a vegan cupcake makes a top 10 — pretty high praise for Baked and Wired.

As for a suitable place to go to celebrate the big news, you might want to consider Fiola Mare, which you can do for less than CityZen (and which also has some terrific views, if you’re lucky to get one of those tables). Central Michel Richard didn’t make it onto that list, but maybe a meal there would force her to nudge something off. It’s not as expensive as either Fiola Mare or CityZen, and I think it’d be both delicious and festive-feeling.

Let me know where you end up, and how things turn out.

TIPPING, CONT. ...:

Long time server's take on tipping --

Its really cheap to leave someone a great tip (if they've done a great job). A really good tip can totally make a server's day - and rewarding their efforts keeps more good servers in that profession.

Think about it - if you have a $50 dollar dinner check and you leave $65 total, you've just made someone's day for $5 bucks more than it would cost to leave a "good" tip.

When I got $65 on $50 - I'd brag to my co-workers with a big smile on my face. FIVE BUCKS!

Todd Kliman:

It’s true.

A really inexpensive way to make someone’s day.

And, as we’ve talked about before, a good way to endear yourself to a staff if you’re interested in becoming a regular somewhere.

I’m still interested in hearing whether all of you have two scales (one for fine dining, one for cheaper places) or just one … I know two-scale people are out there. I’d like to hear from you. I’m interested in hearing your rationale.

Of course, there are two-scale people who tend to tip more at mom ‘n’ pops; to me, these are the most interesting tippers out there, but they’re also a distinct minority.

Come on, two-scale tippers — talk to me …

WHERE TO CATCH THE WIZARDS, CONT. ...:

Watch and Eat:

I like to watch at Cava on the hill. The bar has 2 TVs that favor basketball over other sports. Mezze allows me to order food thorough out the game at my own pace.

Once Beal and Wall start really scoring, they will be unstoppable (until Nene gets hurt).

Todd Kliman:

You wash your mouth with soap!

We don’t need that ol’ Bullets/Wizards neuroticism. Positivity!

Thanks for the tip about Cava. It’s not easy to find TVs tuned to basketball when it’s not March Madness.

People like their college ball, and the games are fun, but give me NBA playoffs over college ball any day of the week. The brand of ball is just so much better. These are the best athletes in the world, playing with skill and focus and teamwork and intensity. And I don’t have to look at coaches hogging the attention from their players.

TAKEOUT/DELIVERY IN ADAMS MORGAN? ...:

Any recommendations for some good takeout and/or delivery around Adams Morgan?

I frequently order from Pete's in Columbia Heights, but am starting to grow tired of pizza. I don't mind walking outside of the 'hood if the food is worth it.

Thanks!

Todd Kliman:

I got two ideas for you.

This is your chance to become addicted to Amsterdam Falafel — go and load ‘em up with tangy red cabbage, baba ghanous, hummus, tahini, and all sorts of pickles. The falafel are good; the fixin’s bar is great.

Or what about Donburi for unagidon — broiled, glazed eel in a bowl of rice, with pickles — along with some thick-sliced salmon sashimi?

WHAT TIME SHOULD WE SHOW UP AT ROSE'S ON A FRIDAY NIGHT? ...:

Hi Todd,

You've probably been asked this before, but what time should we get to Rose's Luxury for dinner on a Friday?

If we get there at 5, will we be seated right away? Or can we ask to to put our name on the list and come back in a few hours?

Todd Kliman:

Bring a book and a lawn chair, and set up shop around noon. You’ll be sure to get in. :)

If I were you, I would be sure to arrive about 4:45. I can’t imagine you wouldn’t be in the first seating of the night.

COCONUT CAKE, CONT. ...:

Hi Todd, just wanted to drop a line and report that I ordered my father's birthday cake from Pastries by Randolph in Arlington.

It was fantastic, although a bit non-traditional (buttercream instead of cream cheese icing, layer of raspberry jam on the bottom layer). They were so very accommodating and walked me through the whole ordering process ("How many people will be enjoying the cake? What type of syrup would you like? We recommend vanilla to compliment the coconut flavor." etc.)

Would definitely go back to them for another special occasion.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Todd Kliman:

I’m so glad that worked out!

Thanks for letting me know.

And good going, Pastries by Randolph.

You mentioned cream cheese frosting — I can’t say I’ve ever had a coconut cake with cream cheese frosting. I think buttercream is pretty standard, no?

ISO: A GREAT FOIE GRAS DISHES ...:

Greetings Todd,

First off, many thanks! Sure have enjoyed reading your reviews over the years, and grateful for this forum where I can keep up to date on the DC dining scene.

As for my query, my significant other will be visiting DC next month and loves - no I mean, LOVES (read...most favorite thing ever!) - foie gras. As a resident of LA, the California ban on foie gras has been more than disappointing; it's a travesty!!!

Thought you might be the best person to enquire as to which restaurants on/around the area do a beyond spectacular dish with foie? Any favorites that you could recommend?

Sure do appreciate your help!

Todd Kliman:

The menu at Marcel’s changes frequently, but I’d call and ask whether they’re doing anything at the moment — might be seared and sauced, might be served in a terrine or torchon. Either way, it ought to be fabulous.

If not there, then I’d be sure to visit Proof. A nice seared lobe, with cherry short cake and bing cherry jus.

And Rose’s Luxury features it for dessert — perching it atop a slice of French toast, with cinnamon ice cream. And, yes, it works. Gloriously. The texture of the foie gras is uncannily nearly equivalent to the texture of the inside of the French toast.

FOOD MOVIES + A POSTCARD FROM NYC ...:

must see food movie of 2014 "The Lunchbox" set in Mumbai -- chronicles love lost and found and the incredible food delivery system of Mumbai.

My family also loves to watch "Sweet Genius" for the haiku-like proclamations of the host as well as the sheer ridiculousness of the challenges

Postcard from NYC: we acquired cronuts (good but not spectacular), ate at Roberta's, Pok Pok, Gramercy Tavern (all outstanding, but the meal at Gramercy Tavern was especially magnificent)--I have cookbooks from all three, and they are well-written and recipes cook true.

If you want the best flat white in NYC I recommend Lucid Cafe on Lexington near the corner of 38th St.

Todd Kliman:

I’ll look for “The Lunchbox.” Thank you. But what is “Sweet Genius”? (Please don’t tell me it’s some foodie reality show.)

And tell me more about Lucid Cafe, please — I’m intrigued.

Sounds like you had a great eating trip. Not that I’m surprised …

FIELD REPORT: DAIKAYA, IN PENN QUARTER ...:

A follow-up note after a great experience at Daikaya last week with a little one (a 7-month old baby):

The staff could not have been more fantastic. Granted, our little dining companion was definitely a happy kid and steals many hearts, but they were extremely accommodating with his giggles, a booster seat and generally welcoming him into the restaurant.

Cheers to our great, great server -- I don't remember his name (shame on me) but he was incredibly kind and fun.

Overall, what a great experience -- we could have eaten the brussels sprout and pork skewers all evening. The roasted avocado make us dream of summer with the grill.

It was a great place to take out-of-town guests, show off what a great dining city we are, while still having everyone feel relaxed, comfortable and at ease.

Thank you, Daikaya! We will be back.

Todd Kliman:

Thanks for the report.

And how great, really, that a place that flashes its hipster bona fides at every possible turn stocks a high-chair, of all things, and works to make the kid feel welcome.

Good going, Daikaya.

RAMEN BURGERS? ...:

Hello, hello! Do you know of anywhere in the DMV that serves ramen burgers?

I read that the Ritz served ramen burger sliders a few months ago but anywhere else?

Thanks in advance!

Todd Kliman:

Other than Degrees at the Ritz serving them, I don’t know of another restaurant that’s doing them.

Has anyone out there eaten one? I’m curious to know what it’s like.

TIPPING, CONT. ...:

I'm a pretty good tipper all around. Fifteen percent is the tip I'd leave if I were significantly disappointed in the service.

But what inspires a really big tip from me, more so than the type of restaurant or the amount of the bill or even the quality of the service, is to see a hard-working young person putting himself (or herself) through school or just trying to get by in today's economy.

Same goes for waitresses who look like they may be single moms. When I was their age, I was such a spoiled brat that young folks like these seem utterly heroic to me. So I'll sometimes drop a $20 tip on a forty dollar check just to reward their hard work and grit.

It frankly makes me feel much better than the checks I write to charities at the end of the year.

Todd Kliman:

Sure. At least you know that it’s going to a person and not a bureaucracy.

But a question — “waitresses who look like they may be single moms”? How would you know? They could look tense and scattered with a husband, too, you know. In fact, maybe more tense and scattered. ;)

TWO-SCALE TIPPING, CONT. ...:

I am definitely one of your two-scale tippers, especially when it comes to diners (a weekend breakfast weakness for me, especially if I am traveling)!

If I am at a mom & pop diner, I usually leave at least 50% or more of the check as a tip and sometimes as much as 100%. Same holds true for some small local mom & pop restaurants, unless the service is really poor.

My standard for tipping at a "fancier" restaurant is at least 20% on the total bill (yes, even if it includes an expensive bottle of wine....and yes, even though I know I am tipping on the tax).

For the most part, servers work hard and I figure that a few extra bucks will convey my appreciation. I figure that if cash is SO tight for me that I cannot afford to throw a few extra bucks onto the table, then I should not be eating out at all (regardless of the price point of the restaurant)!

Todd Kliman:

If only more people figured like you do …

And I’m with you, the checks are so, so small in diners and the like that it’s really nothing to just leave 50 percent or more. And you walk out feeling good, even if you walk out feeling … heavy.

TWO-SCALE TIPPING, CONT. ...:

A couple weeks ago I had a fantastic server at an Applebee's. Polite, professional and quick with a joke even though the place was slammed. Certainly better than a lot of servers I've had at high dollar places, but two meals and a couple of beers came to $40.

She deserved much better than 18-20%. My reasoning? Its not her fault that a big chain can leverage their suppliers to keep food costs down and sell the food for so cheap. She did all of the same work and deserves the compensation.

Todd Kliman:

Absolutely.

I would’ve done the same.

And I’m sure — well, no; I’m not sure; I hope — that everybody who reads this chat would’ve tipped her according to her performance as well.

Applebee’s, though. Please turn in your foodie badge and don’t come back. ;)

Actually, I’m reminded of the time I tweeted that I was at a Hooter’s with a friend. It was just after a Wizards game, and everything else was either closed or too expensive or too elaborate. Several readers were shocked — SHOCKED — that I had even walked into such a place. No, that I would even think to walk into such a place.

TIPPING, CONT. ...:

I generally leave more than 20% at local mom and pop places for several reasons - I tend to frequent them more often and the ones that I go to frequently I know the staff.

Also, higher end restaurants have more staff, and while I know the tips at higher end restaurants are usually subdivided amongst the food runners, bar backs etc., at mom and pop places the waiter/waitress is often doing it all: taking your order, refilling your drink, bringing out your food, checking in, cleaning up the dishes after.

Todd Kliman:

Yes.

And thanks for making that point.

It’s interesting. We seem to have a nice crop of unconventional two-scale tippers on here. I remain convinced that the other kind of two-scale tipper is out there, and that we just haven’t heard from him or her. Maybe we attract a certain kind. Maybe he or should would turn up on someone else’s chat. As I said, I’d sure like to hear the rationale. If you regularly tip more in fine dining establishments than in mom ‘n’ pops, I would love to hear from you. Write me — tkliman@washingtonian.com — or post a question next week on the chat. No snark, I promise. I just want to listen, and understand.

Thanks for all the questions and tips and field reports, everyone. I appreciate it. Great stuff, as always …

Be well, eat well, and let’s do it again next Tuesday at 11 …







[missing you, TEK … ]



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