Arroyo Chop House
- J Wagner
I was just wondering if I might have broken a record in the getting ripped off by wine by the glass. I was at the Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena last week and, after 4 of us ordered and finished a bottle of Cabernet, I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir. I was charged $18.50! I was so upset that I forgot what it was (1997 Mondavi Reserve?) but it wasn't a Williams Selyem or its equivalent. Yes, I know it's my fault for not determining the price in advance, but I didn't remember anything near this price when I looked earlier.
I also didn't think the steaks were that great.
Has anyone paid more for a current release American wine? Am I wrong in taking half the price out of the tip?
The Mondavi 1997 Reserve Pinot Noir retails for $50-$55, and tends to show up on wine lists for between $70 and $90. The basic restaurant formula prices a glass of wine at one-third the wine list's bottle price. So at $18.50, the wine wasn't particularly overpriced--and I love it when restaurants make really good wine available by the glass.
That being said, the waiter probably should have mentioned the price of a glass. You also should have asked when he didn't.
And although you weren't required to jump for joy when you got the bill, it would have been better to discuss the matter with a manager than to arbitrarily deduct ten bucks from the tip, unless it ended up being close to 15 percent anyway. You weren't being given all the information necessary to make an informed consumer choice, but you weren't being ripped off.