Never. If the service is truly horrid, I won't tip. And if it is good enough to warrant a tip, it'll be a 15% minimum, with 20-25% standard.
I'm on the same page as you. If the server wishes to claim my change as their own, then I assume they're happy to take that as their tip. And really, it is a shame for them, since invariably the 20-30 cents they neglected to return is markedly less than they would have otherwise received.
I appreciate the couple of replies I've received so far.
I should add that I'm willing to consider places that lack a tasting menu if they have a particularly good foie gras (or other duck) dish.
I'm going to be in Arlington, VA in mid-July for about 36 hours for a conference. While most of my expenses are being covered, dinner isn't. And, since I'll have my evenings free, I figure I may as well make the most of my time and grab a truly excellent dinner or two in either Arlington or (I assume more likely) DC.
So I'm asking you, the local experts, to make a few suggestions. Requirements/criteria:
- Reasonable to get to without a car (ideally near mass transit, though taxis are fine if necessary)
- I can make a reservation 3-4 weeks out, even for a Friday or Saturday, and be accommodated.
- Has somewhat late hours (since I doubt if I'll be able to do dinner before 8 on Saturday, and I don't really want to show up somewhere 20 minutes before the kitchen closes).
- Has a tasting menu.
- (Less critical) Has a good beer list (I'm not really a wine guy).
Price isn't much of a factor. I'm not really loaded, and I can't drop $100 on a glass of cognac, but I've got enough to splurge once or twice. So I'd rather pay more for top quality food.
Really, I'll entertain any suggestions. From my own research thus far, I'm inclined to consider the following places, so I welcome comments specific to them beyond any additional recommendations you might have:
Birch and Barley