Grape Gripe -- Dominique's $8.95 pre- and post-theater suppers are one of the best dining buys in town, at least if you are a teetotaler. The catch is that the house wine, nice as it is, costs $7.95 a carafe, and there is nothing cheaper on the wine list.
Tips for Tippers -- The few restaurants that automatically add a tip to the bill make life confusing for diners who don't notice that tip is included or think the extra charge is for something else. A reader suggests that the restaurant boldly stamp on the bill, "15 percent gratuity included." It would be even better if whenever a second tip were left, the waiter reminded the diner that tip had been included.
The Sound of One Stick Chopping -- The China Garden in Rosslyn serves chopsticks to Chinese patrons, knives and forks to Caucasians, unless they request otherwise. That left one waiter with a dilemma. He eyed his mixed-race customer dubiously, a diner reported, then gave her one fork and one chopstick.
It Probably Has Nothing to Do with the Oil Shortage -- But the Red Lobster restaurant chain has found a nationwide trend towards ordering broiled rather than fried seafood. The last holdout favoring fried seafood is the South. After all, the real reason for frying seafood is to have an excuse to make hushh puppies.