Because of the special anniversary menu at Thee Bungalow, they had automatically added an 18% gratuity. This reminded me of our visit to Rockin’ Baja Lobster (I’m not linking to them because I’m now very unhappy with them and henceforth they will be called RBL).
After our long day at Sea World, we went to RBL for dinner, remembering their buckets of shrimp, carne asada, slipper lobsters, and chicken. We decided to split a bucket (which isn’t really a bucket since they put filler in the bottom and you food only sits on the top layer, but whatever) because we had been eating here and there throughout the day at Sea World. $4.50 split plate charge – okay, fine, I think that’s high but I’ll go with it since we’re both eating from the salad bar, unlimited tortillas and salsa, and beans and rice (not that anyone ever gets MORE beans and rice). The salsa bar has been reduced to only 5 salsas and you now have to ask for their honey chili butter. So if you want, say, more than the tiny cup they give you, you need to continuously ask for more making you feel like a butter-eating glutton wishing they would just put it back in their salsa bar so you can indulge yourself privately. The food is still good, although the prices have gone up astronomically and what I swear used to be a bucket for 2 is now a single person bucket but the prices are still high. But, the shrimp and slipper lobsters aren’t overcooked and are very tasty (being fried and covered in salty spices) and the chicken was even moist and tender.
Being our party of 7, which included a kid, they automatically added the 18% gratuity. BUT! They also added a gratuity tax, which is essentially sales tax on the non-voluntary gratuity (I learned this non-voluntary part is important, but it also seems to go against the whole gratuity part in my mind). I bring it up as a grumbling rant because I have never seen a restaurant add the gratuity tax. Yes, it’s a sales tax that goes to the IRS or whoever and blah blah blah why should the restaurant have to cover it blah blah blah. Well, on top of the raised prices, funny smelling restaurants, downsized salsa and salad bar, and making me ask for the honey chili butter, AND adding the gratuity, adding a tax on the gratuity is just the last tacky straw. Oh, and the buckets of tortilla chips that we paid for were basically crumbs from the bottom of the barrel. Look, I know we were there kind of late, but could you give us chips that are maybe large enough to even hold salsa?
We won’t be going back to RBL. There are plenty of really good Mexican places around Old Town to frequent. I’ll learn how to make my own honey chili butter and spread it on my own warm tortillas and laugh fiendishly at RBL’s expense. Boo, RBL, boo. We used to like going to you for a consistent meal.
I bring this up now because when we were at Thee Bungalow (such love for you!) they added the gratuity but no gratuity tax. Most people don’t even notice (or know that gratuity tax exists) but now that I know, I totally appreciate that gesture.