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how should the wine mix-up have been handled? [Moved from Manhattan board]

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went for a bite to La Fenice with a buddy. It's in the bottom of my building and I always thought it was just a tourist trap, but last fall it was raining and it was closeby and I took a date there and the meal was wonderful. So tonight I thought I'd grab some pasta and some wine with a buddy who had just done me a favor.

We sat at the bar and asked for a wine list. Settled on the Zinfandel, asked for a bottle, and the barmaid, who seemed very green, poured us two glasses, without a taste to see if it was corked, but, ... , maybe she didn't know? About twenty minutes later, as my glass was empty, I asked my friend, "Where's the bottle?" We looked around a bit, then the bar maid came over and asked if we wanted another glass. "We ordered a bottle, so yeah, we'd like another glass." Oh no, she said, she'd misunderstood, what to do. Called the manager over, they talked and pushed buttons on the computer, and talked some more.

What should they have done????

Best case, they should have said, "We made a mistake, let me open a new bottle, and those first glasses are on the house" and they would have had some happy customers. Alas, that is not what they did.

She said, "The bottle was almost full when I started, so I'll pour you another two glasses, charge you for four, and it's only a dollar more than a bottle would be." But they were not generous pours. We were shortchanged. And the price of the pasta was a lot more than it was last fall (though it was pretty good ... we split an order of the gnochi something or other ... red sauce with meat ... and the crab cakes for an appetizer ... the food was fine, but should've been $18 for the entre, not $24)

I won't be back. But how I wish I could go back. UWS, why oh why can't you get some good restaurants. We moved on to Barcibo Enoteca, got a bottle ... the one with the car on it ... really nice. That place is wonderful.

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  1. She should have give you two more nice pours, charged you the bottle price and said she was very sorry. Why piss someone off over a buck.

    On the other hand, I am not really going to get to pissed off getting ripped a buck and a couple of short pours. Nothing that could have been handled with the size of her tip.

    1. Didn't I read that La Fenice was closing? Anyway, I probably would have stopped her after she poured the 2 glasses without a taste - But I agree that they should have comped the 2 glasses and started over.

      I remember being at Peter Luger once, and 2 of us ordered a bottle to start and then bring to table. In the frenetic bar area, one of the other bartenders poured from our bottle. When it was time for our glasses to be refilled (we were still waiting), we saw the original bartender opening a new bottle. He told us what happened. Not sure if we would have realized there was a glass missing, but he did the right thing with no prompting.

      1 Reply
      1. re: harrison

        I think it may have changed management, as inside it was different than last fall, and they got rid of the "Cafe" from the front of the name.

      2. In my book that's unacceptable. It was not your mistake. The manager should have comped you the two glasses, then opened a bottle for you and charged you accordingly.

        1. You should have been comped those glasses, and charged for only 2. You paid for a bottle, That means you should have had it opened at the table in full view. You should NEVER be charged for a servers mistake.

          1. As soon as the first glasses were served/poured, and no bottle was visible, the question should have been asked. (or did I miss something here?) Perhaps even before that. Didn't she offer you the bottle (before opening it) to be sure it was the one you ordered? I agree, the barchick handled this poorly, but you boys should have been a little more observant before taking your first sip.

            1. i think the op should have said something right away when the bt did not do the wine presentation-- that should have been the first clue that there was a misunderstanding.

              if we can assume that the zin was a common house bottle, not anything terribly special, i can see the confab between the mgr and the bt behind the bar (esp. if the bt was green and had made a mistake) but the op and the buddy should have received 4 nice pours total, and charged for 3, or whatever would bring the tab price *below* the price of the bottle, not a buck above. it's probably not something i would get bent out of shape about or a reason to dnr. i'd give the restaurant and the bt another chance, that's just my own thoughts, though.

              1. something much like that happened to my husband and me some time ago. I ordered the wine, went to the ladies room, so when she brought the two glasses out, my husband didn't really notice (he thought maybe I had just ordered glasses). When I came back and saw no bottle on the table we called the waitress over. If I recall she said she'd bring the next two glasses quite full (in a larger glass even, I think-- this was not a really high end place) and charge us the bottle price. Seemed fair enough.

                1 Reply
                1. re: DGresh

                  OP: I hope you left an appropriate tip, i.e. 75 cents.