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Annoyed with the surprise price of a glass of wine!

Hi Hounds - We ate at Allen and Delancy this weekend and three of us ordered wine by the glass. One guest wanted white and both myself and a friend wanted a full bodied red wine but didn't want a bottle. We asked the waitress for a recommendation. When we got the bill the individual glass of wine cost $25 per glass. We were really annoyed and felt that the waitress undoubtedly picked a very expensive wine and we felt that since the wine was so pricey she should have mentioned the cost of the glass. I was curious to see what everyone thinks about this.

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  1. She took advantage of you. Absolutely.
    It's fine if that's what you're comfortable paying for a glass of wine and you'll hear all sides of that issue here, but I'll bet that's nearly twice the price of most other wines on their list and you should have been told.

    1. Hope you didn't tip her 20-25%

      1. jfood always dislikes the general laissez faire attitude about verbal menus. Always dislikes the non-written specials as well.

        Did the restaurant have a wine list that includes bythe glass? Did you ask for the price? It is the server's responsibility? You asked for a recommendation, she offered, you accepted. Pretty simple.

        You learned a valuable lesson, and are now a full fledged member of "I Hate Verbal Menu" fan club. Welcome aboard.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          Amen. That's me, too. It seems to me that waiters are trained to do everything humanly possible to make me feel like a cheapskate if I dare to ask them the price of the off-menu special they just described.

          Sometimes a written menu can be misleading. I got burned once in my mid 20s when I finally had enough money to take a date to an upscale restaurant. Waiter gave me a wine list that I didn't realize were the "featured" wines of the night, all fairly expensive, and led me to believe that was the wine list as he rushed me to make a decision. Once I got to look at the menu, I found the full wine list with more reasonable wines in the back of the main menu.

          1. re: Reefmonkey

            That is bad service, IMO and no "influence" should be exerted. OK, maybe at an Outback Steakhouse, but they are about a corporate dictate, not food, not service.

            I often has whispered conversations with my sommelier (or server), should something not be available, or a vintage change be necessary. Food is usually obvious to me. If a guest wants the full "Surf n' Turf," which is listed at "Market Price," I'll ask to the side, "what is that going for?" If it's past the budget, then I can cut back on the wine - a nice domestic Chardonnay, in lieu of the Le Montrachet, that I had planned.

            Over the years, others have talked about "specials," that broke their bank. Maybe I've been lucky, as I usually can nail the price within a few $'s per course. If my guest wants the abalone, pan fried in hand-drawn truffle oil with saffron sauce, then maybe I will NOT have the foie gras 30-ways!

            To me, a server should know the menu and should NOT upsell any guest. To them: remember, the patron that you "hose" today, will likely never return. Would you not rather have them back, over and over? You might get a few extra $'s today, but where will you be tomorrow? I've gotten "hosed" and pulled upcoming events, because of that. One "cheeky" sommelier cost one restaurant over US$8K over the next week. In an earlier reply, I cited a server/sommelier combo, that cost their restaurant several board member dinners over the following few months. I noticed that they filled fo Chapter X, not that long afterwards. The chef is opening up a new spot, but I doubt that we'll be back. "Once burned," carries a lot of weight with me. We spend some major $'s and are fortunate to have many high-end spots, from which to choose. It might not be Manhatten, in the glory days, down here, but I support the "good guys."

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I thnk there are reasonable upsells. A customer orders a vodka and tonic and the server asks which brand of vodka he wants (slight, but an upsell none the less). Or, if a guests orders a filet, but there are two sizes available, and the server explains how and why the larger steak is a better cut of meat (example).

              There's upselling that's beneficial to both server and guest, and then there's gauging. Big difference.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                One of the most annoying upsells, IMO, is the server who asks, "Still water, sparkling or ______'s Finest?" (insert city name).

            1. re: jfood

              Jfood,

              You make a good point. I've been bitten, when I gave a sommelier carte blanch, though usually, I had an idea. When I tell them to "dig into your cellar," the question that *should* be asked is, "how deeply, should I dig?" I've misse the call on a few occasions, and those are on me.

              I have also specified a wine (set price-point from a list), to find out that this wine is not available. The server then comes back with "but, the sommelier recommends wine X as a substitute." OK, we've established the price-point (or so I thought) and then the wine ends up being 4x that price and not on the list. Oops, bad call. Not nice! In front of board members, I don't argue, but do not return either. You got me once, but will never get a chance to do it twice. My "bad" for not talking $'s in front of guests, but I thought we'd already established the price-points. Where did I go wrong? If it's 4x over what I ordered, please whisper in my ear, and we'll go elsewhere.

              If I say, "give me your BEST," then I'd better be ready to pay for the "best." If I give the server an open tab and am not clear, then I'd better expect the consequences.

              Pretty simple, really.

              Hunt

            2. I think the price of the glass of wine was outrageous. Unfortunately, you should have asked the price. Perhaps they had a wine by the glass menu. Was it any good??

              4 Replies
              1. re: joschus

                Agree with jfood about contempt for the verbal menu.
                But you should have asked price. I always do. How is she to know your comfort level with certain price points? It's highly possible that in the past she did volunteer the price and the customers' feathers were ruffled, as if she'd implied it might be beyond their budget.
                The cure-all for all of this unpleasantness? Written Menus!

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Still not sure there wasn't a written menu. I've seen many people ask "what do you have by the glass?" and then just order up whatever sounded good or whatever the server recommended while not looking at the menu, by choice.

                  1. re: Leonardo

                    Good point. Were I the server, I'd have said something like, "I really love the Ch. XX for a "full-bodied" red, and it's going for US$25/glass. Is this wine what you wish?" If the patron hesitated, I'd be quickly going over the b-t-g wine list, in hopes that we had something else to offer.

                    The same would hold for a patron, who asked for a wine to pair well with the X. If my suggestion was the Y, I'd offer up, in hushed tones, "we have Ch. Y at Z$. This is a great pairing. Would this wine work for you?" If the patron said, "yes," then I'd possibly talk about the differences between the vintages, and make recommendations, with the exact price of each - pointing them out on the printed wine list. I'd base my recs. on how I thought the different vintages might work, not on "upselling" them to the most expensive. That is how it *should* work. Give the patron the best that you can offer and make them happy. Hope that they come back and tell all of their friends. or other CH's. I'd rather the patron feel as though I had done a great job, offered them a wonderful wine and did it within their budget. It's not about "guilt," or anything else. Make them feel as though they are No 1, and the returns will come, along with the recs.

                    Now, I am not in "the business," but I never want to surprise my client, except in a very positve way. Still, it holds for the restaurant business, as well, especially with sites like CH, where others can hear of bad experiences.

                    Hunt

                  2. re: joschus

                    Joschus,

                    It could have been "outrageous," but maybe not. The OP has yet to tell us what the wine was. That could make all of the difference. Until then, the jury has to be OUT.

                    Hunt

                  3. If you care about the price, ask before you accept the recommendation or specify how much you're willing to spend beforehand. She may have had the purest motives and thought that she had a slam dunk wine that you'd like.

                    I think that $25 sounds high for a glass of wine (though I've certainly seen such prices at several restaurants) and its more than I'd likely pay for a glass; but I also think that if one doesn't ask or check on the price of something before ordering it (which is ultimately what you did) then its the customer's responsibility.

                    50 Replies
                    1. re: ccbweb

                      I guess I learned a lesson - in the past even at better restaurants I don't recall ever spending more than $12 to $15 for a glass of wine so it never dawned on me to ask the price. In the future I will ask if the wine is not described and price is not on the wine list!!!!
                      Fortunately the wine was very good but unfortunately one of us ordered a second glass!!

                      1. re: mboxermd

                        I might be off on this - but thinking back, my impression is that any restaurant that sells a glass of wine for $25, also has a wine-by-the-glass menu. By the same token, you probably don't get to ask for the wine menu at the airport bar. ;)

                        1. re: mboxermd

                          Again, do you recall the wine? That could make all of the difference in the world. Wines run from less than US$2/btl to more than US$50K/btl. While the highest-end wines are not likely to be available b-t-g, who knows? It depends on where you are and what their cellar is like.

                          For b-t-g selections, I am normally in the US$10-20 range, but have found, and purchased some in the US$75 range. It depends on the wine.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: mboxermd

                            And, that wine was? That is the all-important question.

                            Hunt

                          2. re: ccbweb

                            For a $100 dollar bottle of wine, $25 a glass is right on the money. Usually, people who are ordering by the glass do so because they aren't in the mood to shell out for a full bottle. An honest waiter knows this and wouldn't try this stunt.

                            1. re: Reefmonkey

                              Disagree.

                              Many people order by the glass because they can't finish a whole bottle. Does that mean they should drink crappier wine? I love places that offer quality products by the glass; they're few and far between!

                              If the OP was concerned about cost, he/she simply should've asked the price. People always try to blame somebody else for their mistakes.

                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                "If the OP was concerned about cost, he/she simply should've asked the price. People always try to blame somebody else for their mistakes."

                                ok, I'll take the transparent bait:

                                We understand your point but do you believe that there's no reasonable limit? Some restaurants have bottles of wine that reach the thousands and glasses of cognac the hundreds. Does your reasoning extend to these circumstances as well? And if you were an owner or server would that be your policy?

                                Thanks

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  I agree with both invino and Chinon - my wife and I can normally drink a bottle of wine between us, but if one of us is the designated driver or dining solo we'll order by the glass, and I love it when I'm not limited to house plonk when doing so.

                                  But it's also true that there's a (situational) limit. In this case it appears that the restaurant was fairly high-end, in which case $25 a glass may be steep but is not outrageous, but if I were in a family-style place where most pours were $7 or $8 a glass and got hit with a $25 tab I'd feel ripped off.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    As I don't know this restaurant, I had to a search. It does not appear to be a "family-styled" place, but fine-dining. I have yet to find their wine list, let alone a b-t-g selection. Still, were I dining at the restaurant that my searches turned up (note mis-spelling in the name), I'd expect the b-t-g list to be a good one.

                                    Let's say that I'm dining at the Savoy House, London, Mayfair and am confronted with the proposition of doing a b-t-g selection. I'd expect that he offerings to be beyond the "usual suspects." I'd also factor in my $ vs £, and expect that if I gave the server a free rein, I'd likely come up with a really good b-t-g selection. If I had reservations (not the ones you make over the phone), I'd specify a price-point, with which I am most comfortable. If I had any worries, I'd just tell the server that I wanted a wine, described as "xxx," in the $yyy range. Actually, I'd ask to see the b-t-g list, and choose from it, but I am a trained professional, and an responsible for my own choices.

                                    If I'm in a pub on Audley St, and do not expect the wines to be near the top of the possible list, I'm cool letting my server pick it. If I'm down the street at Scott's, I'm less likely, unless I know, or have looked at the list.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Fine dining yes - but I would maybe expect that price from a top end steak house $40-60 an entree, but the entrees there seem to be under $30, which I think $25 is too high in comparison for a glass of wine. I would think their top btg would be about 15 MAX.

                                  2. re: Chinon00

                                    Yes, I believe the onus to be on the customer. Think about it. Wine (and cognac) prices vary by a staggering amount. If cost versus quality is a concern, the price should be asked.

                                    Also, we don't know exactly what the OP asked. If he asked for "the biggest red available btg", the server did exactly as was asked. It'd seem kind of condescending, in my eyes, if the server replied with, "Sir, we have Wine X, but it's $25 per glass", as if the OP couldn't afford it.

                                    Also, $25 isn't necessarily that expensive for a good glass of wine. Personally, I'd rather spend extra money for something delicious than $10 for a glass of Rodney Strong Merlot.

                                    I agree with BobB that it's also situational.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      I agree that prices vary staggeringly. So to be clear, not knowing the customer or his/her spending habits, as a server or owner you would as easily suggest a $75.00 bottle as you would a $1,750.00?

                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                        If the customer was looking for a specific taste profile, I would (and do, daily, as I'm a somm) recommend the best wine suited to what the guest is looking for. Sometimes the wine is pricey, sometimes the wine is reasonable. My list luckily affords me great flexibility.

                                        Also, I'm not saying the server didn't recommend the expensive wine with dollar signs glowing in his eyes- I'm just saying that to solely blame the server is wrong. The customer needs to be held at least partially responsible in this case.

                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                          "The customer needs to be held at least PARTIALLY responsible in this case."

                                          Now that's more reasonable.

                                          But I still do not believe that a reasonable sommelier, not knowing the customer's wallet would recommenrd a $1750.00 botte of wine. It's ridiculous on it's face.

                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                            Perhaps, but most waiters/sommeliers don't know the customer's wallet when they recommend things. No one in this busness RECOMMENDS a $1750.00 bottle of wine; customers BUY those themselves. There's a big difference. I'd have no prob suggesting a $25 glass if it kept within reasonable scope of the resaurant's list.

                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                              "No one in this busness RECOMMENDS a $1750.00 bottle of wine"

                                              Why not? Why even hesitate if it's "the best wine suited to what the guest is looking for" as you stated earlier?

                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                Because any guest purchasing a $1750.00 bottle of wine already knows what he wants.

                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                  My point is that more than merely choosing the appropriate wine governs your recommendations as a sommelier which is what you stated earlier. Cost is a factor.

                                                  Thanks

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    Yes, to the EXTREME cost is a factor. Your given example and a $25 glass of wine are apples and oranges.

                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                      Forgetting Allen and Delancey for the moment could you please give us one or two restaurants where you know for sure that the typical b-t-g offering is $25?

                                                      Thanks

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        I didn't say a typical glass of wine at any restaurant cost $25 (and I'm sure this wasn't "typical" at A and D). I'm saying it's world's away from a $1750 bottle. A $25 glass is equal to a $70-$100 bottle, depending on the restaurant's pricing.

                                                        I think you're really reaching here and splitting hairs. Still apples and oranges to me (a $1750 orange to be exact).

                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                          ok, to quote you above:

                                                          "I'd have no prob suggesting a $25 glass if it kept within reasonable scope of the resaurant's list."

                                                          Could you please give me one or two restaurants where $25 is within reasonable scope of the restaurant's list?

                                                          Thanks

                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                            Per Se, TFL, Inn at Little Washington, creeping up there at Citronelle, L'Atelier, Guy Savoy. Those are the ones I've dined at. I'm sure there are more.

                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                              As I expected, Per Se, TFL, and Inn at Little Washington are all very high end places. A&D is not in that category. Therefore it was reasonable for the OP to be shocked at seeing TFL and Per Se prices for a recommended glass of wine at A&D.
                                                              I think that the OP will be asking price from now on but the attitude that some have held on this post that $25/glass is somehow no big deal has I think been sufficiently demonstrated to be unreasonable since apparently only Keller places and the like do it.
                                                              Thanks

                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                Let's take Thomas Keller out of the 26 links I have provided (yes, he's in there), so that leaves 25, that I was able to pull from my recent dining list in about 5 mins. Notice, I do not list anything in NYC. Notice, I do not mention anything in Chicago. Notice, that I do not mention any restaurant in Los Angeles. Notice, that I do not mention any restaurant in FR, IT or GR, though London does figure into my quick list, but that's because I'm dining there about 20x/year.

                                                                Sorry,

                                                                Hunt

                                                            2. re: Chinon00

                                                              $25 certainly isn't the norm, but it's not unheard of in restaurants in that price category in NYC. Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, Perry St, Insieme and Babbo all have wines BTG in that range (and up!). As I said in my earlier post, while I think the server should have probably mentioned it, I don't think it's crazy to charge $25 for a good glass of wine.

                                                              I'm still wondering what the mystery wine was...

                                                              1. re: oolah

                                                                Exactly!

                                                                Also, btg wine prices are usually in line with appetizer prices. The appetizers at A and D are $17-$24. $25 fits in just fine.

                                                          2. re: Chinon00

                                                            Chinon00,

                                                            Here's one off the top of my head. More to follow:
                                                            http://www.chefmavro.com/

                                                            Now, this does not mean that ALL b-t-g offerings are at that price-point, but some are.

                                                            Let me grab my Favorite's folder and more to follow.

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              Per the site Hunt:
                                                              "This may be the only restaurant of its caliber in the world completely dedicated to food and wine pairing. Instead of a wine list, every menu selection is presented with a wine pairing offered by the glass."

                                                              That complicates things a bit don't you think?

                                                              Anyway as I stated earlier I've called Allen & Delancey and all of their by the glass selections are between $12 and $16 save just one offering at $25. The OP and her friends were taken advantage of I think we can now agree.

                                                              Thanks

                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  My point is that any restaurant with average $25/glass prices is going to be very, very exepensive. Allen & Delancy is not in that class I think we can agree.
                                                                  So If you want to pay French Laundry prices at Allen & Delancy then I'm sure that the owners will be delighted with you. As it turns out the one $25 glass at Allen and Delancey is nearly 100% more expensive than the middle of the rest of their list. Who walks into a restaurant where the average entree price is under $30 and gleefully expects to pay nearly the same for a typical glass of wine?

                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                    If the OP had been talking about Chili's, I would have been horribly surprised, given the price paid.

                                                                    Now, from the A & D Web site, I could never find their wine list. Obviously, you called them. I did not. Still, from the site, it appeared to be a very up-scale establishment. Without that wine list, especially the b-t-g offerings, it's tough to make the final call.

                                                                    Now, what were the other reds b-t-g offered? Did any of the lesser ones meet the OP's criteria. I hope you got their b-t-g list in you call. Would you mind sharing it? That may go a long way to answering the original question/problem.

                                                                    Thanks,

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      I did not ask for the specifics although the person that answered the phone offered to email me their list.
                                                                      I was born with enough sense to realize that $25 was out of whack for a typical glass of wine at a place where again the average entree is in the same ballpark. And as it ends up I was correct but feel free to be upsold right up the whazoo there if you like.

                                                                      Cheers

                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                        When you do receive the e-mail, I would be interested in seeing it here, to maybe support the OP's assertion.

                                                                        Thanks,

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                2. re: Chinon00

                                                                  I think you might have missed your own point, regarding which restaurant actually have US$25 b-t-g selections. Sorry to bring that up to you.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                    Sorry, I thought you wanted to factor out Allen & Delancey.

                                                                    Hunt

                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                      Wow, I missed something here. Were we not talking about a US$25/glass wine? Yes, wines may well cost into the tens of thousands of dollars, but the OP did not buy a bottle of rare wine. The OP gave a server some specifics on a b-t-g selection, and no more, but the post. The OP was astounded by the price of the b-t-g selection, and nothing more.

                                                      Still, we do not know the wine in that glass. Until we do, all else is pure speculation. Also, for me, that might not be an extravagant expenditure, depending on the wine in that glass. For someone else, it might be "breaking the bank."

                                                      Hunt

                                                    3. re: invinotheresverde

                                                      You make a good point on filling the patron's request to the best of one's ability, predicated on the house's b-t-g list. Now, tell me that you want the "biggest Zin b-t-g for under US$15," and I will amend my selections to reflect hat additional info.

                                                      Hunt

                                                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                    You (and BobB) are "getting it." There are too many variables to make a definitive statement on a "glass of wine."

                                                    One should have an idea of where they are, and what might be on the menu. To go to Per Se and expect that the mains will be under US$10 is nonsense. Same if I'm at the French Laundry and tell the sommelier only the "style" of wine that I want. Heck, they could "dig deeply" into the cellar and come up with a glass of '00 Screaming Eagle and blow my monthly wine budget. This is not Houston's "happy hour," and the wine is likely not to be Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot. Now, if it is, and it's priced at US$25/glass, then "Houston, we have a problem... " Still, we do not know, as the OP has not bothered to offer this necessary info.

                                                    Hunt

                                                  3. re: Chinon00

                                                    If a patron wants a particular style of wine b-t-g, it should be incumbent on the server to mention the price. Now, I do not know this restaurant's wine list, especially b-t-g. Maybe I am jaded, but US$25 does not seem out of reason, but that is based on the "likely" wines, though maybe not on what was offered. We still do not know what the wine was.

                                                    The question begs to be asked, "are there any wines that you would pay US$25 a glass for?" For me, the answer is, "it depends." This, of course, is based on the wine. I can think of a hundred that it would be a bargain, and a thousand that it would be a "rip-off." Remember, "it depends." Beyond that, it is all conjecture, especially as we do not know what the wine was.

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      The average b-t-g is $25 at Per Se Restaurant (which is one of the most expensive restaurants in NYC). So it's not out of reason there but at other places it might be. And that would end up being most places wouldn't it?

                                                  4. re: invinotheresverde

                                                    That's right, they can't finish a bottle, and therefore do not want to pay for the price of a bottle. There may be people who can't finish a bottle, but still want a high priced glass, and those people will specify that they are going for something more expensive. In general, though, most people who are ordering wine by the glass are looking for something quaffable, not a transcendant experience. If they were, they would know that ordering even a really nice wine by the glass is going to be a let-down versus ordering an unopened bottle, because now you've got a wine that is no longer at its correct serving temperature (or even celler temp at that - it's either going to be too warm for a red after sitting at room temperature, or too cold for a white after sitting in a refrigerator or ice too long) and will also be oxidized because it was previously opened.

                                                    1. re: Reefmonkey

                                                      "and those people will specify that they are going for something more expensive."

                                                      If only it were so easy! That's really just not how it happens, although your idealism is sweet.

                                                      "...ordering even a really nice wine by the glass is going to be a let-down ..."

                                                      My restaurant uses preservation methods to keep wine from spoiling quickly,, and stores opened bottles at the correct temperature. Also, we sell through our higher priced btg wines quickly, so they're very rarely open for more than one day.

                                                      You're making generalities about all restaurants based on lower-end to mid-tier places that don't take their wine program very seriously and don't use common sense. You're out of date and completely incorrect.

                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                        "although your idealism is sweet."

                                                        and your attempt at condenscension is pathetic.

                                                        "My restaurant ...."

                                                        Ahh, you are a restaurant owner, your axe to grind is revealed. You certainly would have no problem if your waiters automatically gave any diner who asked for btg the most expensive glass, would you?

                                                        "...places that don't take their wine program very seriously..."

                                                        "serious wine program" is my new favorite on the list of neologisms that the pretentious in the restaurant industry use to inflate their sense of self-importance.

                                                        "You're out of date and completely incorrect."

                                                        Your transparent defensiveness is duly noted.

                                                        1. re: Reefmonkey

                                                          If you'd read the thread, you'd know I'm not a restaurant owner.

                                                          If you don't believe restaurants that fly their staff all over the world, spend hundreds of hours on staff training, spend tens of thousands of dollars on top of the line glassware and preservation methods, constantly go to tastings and seminars, obsessively keep up to date on new clones, regions, blends, etc. and permanently have their noses in a book or a glass are serious, then we're just not going to see eye to eye on anything.

                                                          Have you worked as a sommelier or server at a high-end restaurant (doubtful, as you'd have already known how much goes into a successful wine program)? If not, you're probably not the best person on CH to tell others how things work and what most people want in this regard. I've sold wine for 15 years. I think I have some idea of how it works.

                                                  5. re: Reefmonkey

                                                    Many wines by the glass are priced the same as it would be to buy a bottle (or close to). So, a bottle of that $25 per glass wine would retail (at a regular store) for around $25.

                                                    1. re: dalaimama

                                                      Exactly. The price of one glass in a resto is usually = to the retail price for the bottle.

                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                        How do you guys feel about that; paying say $11 per glass for a $11 bottle of wine?

                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                          It sucks. Particularly since all they are doing is opening it and washing the glasses. At least the mark up of the food is generally justified - there is a creative element, cooking, plating, serving, washing, etc.

                                                          Peddling wine is easy money for the restos.

                                                    2. re: Reefmonkey

                                                      I agree with the generalities of the stated pricing. That is close to "normal."

                                                      As for reasoning on the purchase of b-t-g, well that can vary. My wife and I find ourselves dining out as a couple, around the globe. We also love to pair our wines with our courses, and will hit the b-t-g list, if half-bottles are not available, much of the time. This allows us to have many wines with many courses. We also seek out "sommelier's pairings," with chef's tasting menus. Wines for each course, without buying a bottle/course. Or, I'm at the bar, and my wife is still in a meeting. We're dining in an hour, but I want wine now. B-t-g is the only way that I am likely to go. While I can drink a bottle, by myself at home, but if I'm going to dine with my wife, it's b-t-g only.

                                                      This is also a reason that we seek out great half-bottle lists, when dining. We get to pair different wines with different courses, and *usually* make out better than all but the better b-t-g lists. Still, good half-bottle selections are rather a rarity in the US.

                                                      Even if we have a group and go with the full-bottles, I give kudos to the sommelier, when there is a great b-t-g selection or half-bottle selection. Who knows, next visit might just be the two of us.

                                                      Hunt

                                                  6. That's outrageous for a glass of wine. It sounds like she definitely took advantage of you guys, particularly if that price wasn't in line with the majority of the wines on the list. When a glass of wine costs as much as an entree, it's downright deceitful of her not to mention it. Since it was only this past weekend, it's still recent enough that you can call them back. And if I were you, I absolutely would. Your server's primary concern should not be milking you for all the money she possibly can, and if this is the way she behaves, I guarantee you management will want to know about it.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Al_Pal

                                                      For what it's worth, many managers instruct their servers to do precisely what this one did. Calling the management may elicit an apology, but suggestive selling expensive items and upselling are pretty standard most of the places I've waited tables. Caveat emptor.

                                                      1. re: Al_Pal

                                                        Perhaps it's outragous in Texas, but not in New England, and definitely not in metropolitan areas of the country. Schwill is cheap, but quality wine isn't. I've seen glasses cost much more than $25.

                                                      2. What was the wine? Allen & Delancey isn't a cheap restaurant, so you might expect a more expensive selection of wines. I agree the waitress probably should have said the price (regardless of what it was), but when you're already dropping around $75/pp on your meal before drinks, $25 doesn't seem unreasonable for a good glass of wine.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: oolah

                                                          exactly. starters are $17-$24, where is the "surprise" in a $25 glass of wine at a place with these menu prices?

                                                          1. re: oolah

                                                            When I have $100+ dinners, $25 for one single glass of wine is still as shocking as when I have <$20 dinners.

                                                            And I am not made of enough money to feel that I don't have to ask what the price is for a wine by the glass.

                                                          2. Without knowing what their by the glass list looks like, you can "feel" that she "undoubtedly" tried to cheat you, but you don't know. If price is a concern (which it is for most of us), then you need to ask how much things cost. You asked for a 'full bodied red." Perhaps there was only one of those by the glass.

                                                            Should she have told you the price? That's a difficult call. As another poster noted, doing so may alienate a customer just as not telling alienated you. There is no one way to please customers on this issue, other than providing a written list. I'm a huge fan of the written list, and I would always try to provide one, but often guests don't want to look at the list, order without looking over it, and then are unhappy witht the price.

                                                            Did you ask for a by the glass list? Did you look at the regular wine list to see if wines by the glass were listed? If you had a list that showed the prices and then asked by description, wouldn't the server have been wise to assume you wanted her to choose and not you?

                                                            So it's enitrely possible that she could have been taking advantage of you, but without more information, we can't determine that for you.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: nc213

                                                              At expensive restaurants, I always ask to see the list before I order a glass of wine - both so I can make the choice myself, and see what the prices are. Often, at those places, the wines by the glass are listed in the front of the wine list.

                                                            2. I have been in the food and beverage business forever, manager, server and bartender; worked on both coasts, upscale and everyday. If I intended to bring the $25 glass of cab I would have let the guests know ahead of time. There are tactful ways to do this. Very presumptious I say.

                                                              1. The burden is on you to ask. *Always* ask the price for everything that you have not been offered the price for. Get over the awkwardness, which is created by the restaurant for failing to offer the price, not by you in asking. Anytime you are paying, ask. Ask. Ask.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  Yes. Why do people feel intimidated? You are paying your hard earned cash for something, and you don't know the price?

                                                                  1. re: slacker

                                                                    I agree that we should always feel comfortable to ask the price. Apparently, given the number of bait and switches, asking seems fair enough. Still, if it's a place where $25 marks an unsusual price per glass, the server should have said something, An drastic change in average price should be noted.

                                                                    1. re: slacker

                                                                      yep. in what other business transaction would a customer be expected to buy something without first knowing the price. It is insane to feel intimidated asking a price for anything.

                                                                      1. re: rednyellow

                                                                        You are right. It is insane for a customer to go through such self-inflicted angst. If a customer feels intimidated, that is the customer's choice.
                                                                        I don't believe a customer is "expected" to buy without knowing the price. Countless times I've asked the price of a dessert, special, etc. No one has batted an eye. Not once have I felt "intimidated", as if I were behaving in an unacceptable or inappropriate way.

                                                                        The other day I was at a clothing store. A shirt I wanted had no price tag. Did I go ahead and buy it without asking the price, only to be surprised with the Visa charge three weeks later? Of course not. I asked.

                                                                  2. I'd be shocked as well...unless this was par for the wines by the glass at the resto or the server made some big deal about how special the wine was, which I suppose could be "polite code" for "this is an expensive glass I am suggesting". Generally, if I ask for a wine recomendation I include a price point in my request so there are no misunderstandings. I think it's horrible that restos don't always make the price of specials and suggestions clear - I always ask, but then I know it embarasses some people to ask the prices, which I don't understand at all. On the flip side, I'd guess that some people would be offended if the server said, after said wine was ordered, "that is $25 a glass - do you still want it?", which could be interpreted as if the waiter doesn't think the diner can afford the wine he/she ordered. Kind of a catch-22, I guess.

                                                                    Best practice would be for the diner to ask for a suggestion of a full bodied red by the glass around a particular price point. Second best would be, having asked for recommendations but not given a target price point, the server to list a few different wines at different price points, with the prices: "we have X which is outstanding, at $25 a glass, Y which is not as bold as X, but still quite lovely, at $18/glass, and Z at $12 a glass which is another popular full bodied red." I think that in this situation where you're at an expensive resto and asked for a recommendation without any price point guidance, you sort of gave the server carte blanche to recommend what he/she considered the "best" wine for you, and since many would find it very off-putting, it's not really the server's job to inquire as to whether you can afford what you order.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: akq

                                                                      Best practice is to give a written list with the prices. Alas, everyone needs to flip around in grey area like a fish on the living room floor.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        I agree. I should have been more clear - I was talking about when a diner asks for a recommendation rather than selecting something from a printed wine menu. Even if the resto has a printed wine list, asking for a recommendation for a full bodied red without giving a price range could be dangerous. Dangerous for you because you might not get a recommendation within your budget, dangerous for the server because he/she may try to guess your budget, possibly leading to embarassment, etc. Easier for everyone to just be above board and straight forward, imo. I usually give a price point/range when asking for a recommendation, and if I don't, I am usually asked for one or suggestions will be in a couple of different ranges. Sometimes the server will point at the list when giving suggestions or I can just follow along on the list, but other times he/she may just list off a few selections, which is fine with me if it includes the prices.

                                                                        1. re: akq

                                                                          not to worry akq, jfood understood. He is just totally frustrated when there is a "trust me" on the price. There is no winner when the gitcha arrives in the form of the bill.

                                                                    2. SO has had this happen to him. Frankly, at the end of the day, I think it's on him since he didn't ask the price. However, I think it's pretty shabby on the part of the waiter. If it's one of the more expensive glasses (or bottles), I think the price should be disclosed up front.

                                                                      1. This is probably somewhat repetitive, but here's how I'd deal with it. (No implication that you should do the same!) If the price was consistent with what this particular restaurant gets for other wines by the glass--no matter what that was--I wouldn't feel that I had any basis for complaint. I consider it my responsiblity to ascertain the price range beforehand, either by looking at the wine list or by asking the server. If it was a couple of dollars higher, same conclusion: "special" wines are often a little pricier. If it was considerably higher, and thus way out of line with the expectations raised by the wine list, I'd speak to the manager before paying, and would convey (as nicely as possible) that if the restaurant did not revise the check downwards, I would revise the tip downwards. If the manager didn't agree, I'd undertip the server and make it clear to the manager that not only would I never return, I would advise others not to patronize the place. I'd feel bad if the server suffered; but next time she recommended a wine, she'd use some common sense.

                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Miss Priss

                                                                          Let's see:

                                                                          - customer asks for a glass of wine and the server recommends one (granted it may not be cool that it might have been, although we do not know if it the most expensive of the choices)
                                                                          - customer accept the recommendation without asking the price. At a minimum we have share responsibilties, server did not offer, customer did not ask. Many threads that subject BTW
                                                                          - Bill comes, not what expected, but the algorithm presented states that if it's a couple of bucks higher, that's OK plus the additional carve-out that if it's a "special" wine then even higher is OK. Jfood struggles on how the server is to understand this qualitative algorithm). And what if the server thinks special and customer does not, go to arm wrestling, but that's a tangent
                                                                          - Now it become interesting. customer resorts to nicely phrased extortion at the restaurant's expense - brain cramp number 2 in this algorithm
                                                                          - And then customer should go to plan B with the added benefit of further nicely phrased extortion of taking it out on the server - brain cramp #3
                                                                          - Next step in the process is pre-meditated slander

                                                                          All because the server made a recommendation she thought was a good choice and the customer forgot to ask the price.

                                                                          Sorta like watching a snowball rolling downhill in jfood's opinion

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            I should tell you my getting stiffed over a fish at the fishmongers story - that was a real bait and switch if ever there was one.
                                                                            Anyway, long and short of it is, I ask "Do you have wine by the glass?", if answer is affirmative, I say "Can I have a look at the list please?"
                                                                            If there is no list, I'll ask to look at the bottle before pouring, and slip in the question about price - that way I avoid plonk and get to know price.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              Sorry Jfood was so outraged by Miss Priss's approach! Without seeking to change his opinion one iota, she'd like to respectfully point out that the ONLY scenario in which she doesn't uncomplainingly pay up is the one in which the server--without warning her--recommends a wine that's WAY above the restaurant's regular price range. I guess she just sees that as a violation of the social contract. As for her putative crime spree, she doubts the charges will hold up in court. Asking for an accommodation isn't extortion; undertipping isn't stiffing; and giving advice to one's friends isn't slander.

                                                                              1. re: Miss Priss

                                                                                Very well written MP, and jfood always appreciates a well thought out post. He loves the "putative crime spree" verbiage, fantastic words and he will use in the future. He bows to this. Nicely done. :-))

                                                                                And you are correct, it is not extortion, but closer to blackmail since, as you correctly pointed out, the difference between extortion and blackmail is the "then" in the if-then statement. Extortion would have an illegal "then." but as you correctly pointed out, the degradation of the tip is not illegal so jfood stands corrected as he should have used blackmail . And jfood agrees that it would probably get tossed from court. Won;t get into the slander discussion.

                                                                                And as jfood stated in his third bullet we do not know the delta between the normal and the recommended glass. If the normal glass wasa $3-5 then jfood would absolutely agree that the server was acting in bad faith. If the $12-16, then that is probably in the margin of error.

                                                                                And the "social contract" has several levels on both sides. One of the major tenets is that you order it, you eat it, you pay for it. You forget to ask the price, you failed on your side.

                                                                                And jfood speaks from experience. He went to a neighborhood red sauce place where pastas are mid-teens. The special was pasta with shell fish. He figured maybe $18-20. He ordered it, he ate it and the bill came for $36. Not the inexpensive meal he thought. But he did not ask the price so he learned a lesson, but it never occurred to him to take it out on the server. And you know what, he has returned numerous times, he loves the place.

                                                                                But in the end people need to take responsibility for their own actions. You make a mistake, don;t take it out on others. The social contract that really matters is when you put your head on the pillow at night and say to yourself, "was what I did the tight thing to do?" And that can only be answered in your head.

                                                                                Ciao MP.

                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                  At least Miss Priss has provided Jfood with some enjoyment this time, even if (by his lights) she's something of a social contract killer. And she empathizes with his pasta experience: long ago, a very similar episode taught her always to ask what things cost, so the "suprise price" question is really just hypothetical for her. By the way, she has a very low tolerance for alcohol. After just one glass of wine, at any price, she'll almost always hit the pillow knowing that she did the "tight" (sic) thing!

                                                                                  1. re: Miss Priss

                                                                                    Nice post Miss Priss. You and Jfood make a nice pair (dueling partners).

                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                      And with three you get eggroll.

                                                                                      Bring some Sally's and the three of you can cure the world

                                                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                                                    reminds me of a nice surprise I had at a resto in Valencia. I told the waitress I wanted a local wine, with local Spanish character and she recommended one. She then took my wine list and came back with big smile and different bottle she decided I would like more. I got a bit skeptical, thinking it was tourist trickery, I asked the price, and It was half the price of the original and stunning too. It was Mauro. I love pleasant surprises!

                                                                                2. re: jfood

                                                                                  Considering that this is a restaurant where the apps run in the US$20 range and the mains into US$30+ range, it *could* be assumed that the wines, even in the b-t-g selections might run up there. Still have not heard what the wine was, and even the restaurant's Web site does not offer a wine list, that I can find.

                                                                                  If I were in a restaurant with those prices, I would *expect* that their wine list covered that territory. I think that the OP might have been out of their element here, and did not want to confront the possibility, that the wines might be expensive.

                                                                                  If I'm at Chili's, I KNOW that the wines will be inexpensive and mediocre, at best. If I'm at Per Se, I will expect, and be prepared for, different wines.

                                                                                  Know your surroundings and, as the Boy Scout's motto says, "be prepared."

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    I do not agree at all. A restaurant's average entree price wouldn't nearly equal its average wine b-t-g price. That's just common sense.

                                                                                    Thanks

                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                      Wine by the glass and appetizer prices are very often quite close to each other, generally speaking, in most restaurants I go to where I drink wine. In this case, the entrees are in the $30s, right? And the appetizers in the $20s? Wine by the glass in the $20s wouldn't be out of line with the restaurant menu in that case.

                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                        The average starter price is $18.50 and the average entree price is $28.80 at the restaurant in question. I can't wrap my head around the idea of expecting to have to pay something close to $28.80 for a typical glass of wine there. At some place like Per Se maybe I would but that's one of the most expensive restaurants in New York (and Allen and Delancy doesn't strike me as in that league). No one expects to eat Per Se level food or spend that kind of money on a regular basis.

                                                                              2. If twenty-five dollars is in the upper upper end of the wine list's prices then what the bartender did to you and your friends was unconscionable. It's not good business because bottom line, will you guys go there again? A clientele that would be completely at ease with that pricing are rare.

                                                                                1. A good server would have said I recommend a glass of X, you have a wine list so you can see that X costs $100 per bottle. If you asked for a recommendation without asking what you were getting when you weren't told that's how it goes, assuming it was something that they did have by the glass, not something that they opened up for the express purpose of taking advantage of you.

                                                                                  1. Egads! I just checked out their menu out of curiosity and they have a reuben for $18! I think it's fair to expect a $25 glass of wine in a place like that. Wow. Talk about sticker shock.

                                                                                    http://www.allenanddelancey.net/menu....

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                      Looking at the menu you think that it's fair to expect a typical glass of wine be priced at a hair under the average entree price? That seems a bit out of whack to me.
                                                                                      I seriously doubt that the average glass of wine is $25. And the convention for a server is to suggest one of their more average priced wine when they don't know the guest's tastes or wallet. If anyone knows the wine list's by the glass prices that would help clear this up.

                                                                                      Thanks

                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                        "Typical"? No. But $18 bucks for a Reuben isn't typical for me either.

                                                                                        I agree it was a tad shady on the server's part. I've had this happen to me before, only it was an entree, not a glass of wine. It's a hard lesson to learn and I certainly empathize.

                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                          I've found a fairly strong correlation between the "typical" price of an appetizer and the typical price of wine by the glass.

                                                                                          That allen & delancey menu has many of their apps at $17, so I'd expect their wines by the glass to be in that range.

                                                                                          Most of the typical mid-range places in Philly are $9-11 for apps, and the wines are in that range. Go to the top-tier places and steakhouses, apps are $15 and so are the wines. You can get a $6 app and $6 glass of wine in low-key neighborhood places.

                                                                                      2. In our wonderful world infested with human predators and parasites in numbers equal to pine beetles, learn the price of EVERYTHING before you contract to buy it.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          This has been a most interesting debate; I drink one single glass of white wine per dinner, and my husband has 2 glasses of red wine; we love it when we can have higher quality wines by the glass and we gladly pay between 20 and 25$ per glass, a few restaurants will open a great bottle and serve it. My husband does not want to drink more than 2 glasses so even is his 2 glasses cost him as much as a cheaper bottle, he does not mind. I fully understand the concept of putting an overcharge on the individual glass, if a $100 bottle yields 5 glasses, they will not charge only $20 per glass, considering that they might throw out a glass out of that bottle if it stays on the shelf too long.

                                                                                        2. I skimmed the entire thread, but never saw the answer to my first question.

                                                                                          Without know what the wine was, there is no way of telling if you where shafted, or maybe got a great deal.

                                                                                          Saying that "I want 2 glasses of full-bodied reds" might yield an Aussie Shiraz-Cab blend that should go for US$10-12 at most restaurants, or a 5er Cru Bdx, that might go for US$30-50 per glass.

                                                                                          Usually, b-t-g prices are factors of the "bottle price" divided by 4. Often, a restaurant will get five-six pours from a bottle. It CAN be a profit center, but then one must factor in the spoilage factor with opened bottles, plus the additional cost of using pumping systems or inert gas. Some restauranteurs will put the b-t-g costs down to a bit less, because they really want people ordering the wines to go with their food. Some make a specialty of it. Others will stock half-bottles, which are almost always more expensive that one-half of a 0.75 ltr. More glass, more storage problems, etc.

                                                                                          We very often go with a good b-t-g list, or half-bottles, as it is then just my wife, and myself. In those cases, picking the quintessential bottle for all courses is really tough. We love variety in our wines, based on our cuisine.

                                                                                          Recently, I spent US$25 on each glass of a faithful négociant’s Puligney-Montrachet at a higher-end restaurant in Honolulu. It was a deal, and this was for a Chardonnay, albeit a really good Chardonnay. I considered this a bargain, as a full 0.75 ltr was US$175. I also considered it worth the price, because of the pleasure derived from the wine.

                                                                                          Now, when we moved to Phoenix, AZ, we got rave recs. for a particular wine bar in a tony shopping area. Stopped by and looked at the list. Their "special" was a glass of Lndeman's Bin 65 Chard @ US$25/glass. This was 1998 and that wine was US$4.99 RETAIL! They had to have been kidding me, right? They are history, but now THAT was a ripoff.

                                                                                          Now, if you had specified "something in the US$15 range, with some body to it," then you'd definitely have cause to be miffed. Otherwise, without the wines, we're all shooting in the dark here. It is like saying, "hey, they charged me US$300 for a bottle of 'full-bodied' red wine," only to find out that it was a bottle of Château Latour '70. That would be a bargain at a restaurant. Now, if it's Yellow Tail Shiraz, then there's a problem.

                                                                                          Hunt, off to really read the other replies.

                                                                                          1. BobB brings up a great issue when he talks about cognacs. It reminds me - someone ordering wine by the glass without asking for a specific label (eg "I'll have a glass of a sauvignon blanc") is by convention ordering a house wine. They are expecting something middle-of-the-list or below. It's just like someone ordering a well drink from the bar. If someone came to a restaurant and said "I'll have a scotch on the rocks" and when the bill came they realized that the server had served them Dalwhinnie 29 year single malt scotch at $25 a glass, they'd be pissed.

                                                                                            It's the same with

                                                                                            Usually, people who are ordering by the glass do so because they aren't in the mood to shell out for a full bottle. An honest waiter knows this and wouldn't try this stunt. There may be people who can't finish a bottle, but still want a high priced glass, and those people will specify that they are going for something more expensive. In general, though, most people who are ordering wine by the glass are looking for something quaffable, not a transcendant experience. If they were, they would know that ordering even a really nice wine by the glass is going to be a let-down versus ordering an unopened bottle, because now you've got a wine that is no longer at its correct serving temperature (or even celler temp at that - it's either going to be too warm for a red after sitting at room temperature, or too cold for a white after sitting in a refrigerator or ice too long) and will also be oxidized because it was previously opened.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Reefmonkey

                                                                                              This is just not true at restaurants with a serious wine program. In fact, I can't remember the last time I ate somewhere that had a "house wine" anywhere in NYC.

                                                                                              I don't recall the wine list at A&D, but if they have a $25 glass of wine on it, my guess is that they don't have a "house wine" and that they offer a good selection by the glass.

                                                                                              1. re: oolah

                                                                                                "a serious wine program." God, that's the most pretentious thing I have heard in a long time. (not to mention the "This is JUST not true" phrasing being histrionic)

                                                                                                Pretentiousness aside, you miss the point entirely. I did not say that A&D would have an official "house wine", I said that many, if not most people who are ordering by the glass and not calling for a specific label are by convention ordering a house wine, meaning that they are of the mindset that they want a wine which fills the the old niche of the house wine - as I said, something low to middle of the list in price, certainly not top of the list. I don't know, I am assuming that $25 a glass is top of the list and that there were plenty of lower-priced choices that the OP saw on the list after ordering. If not, and $25 was one of the more "value" priced wines on the list, then I don't know what the OP is complaining about.

                                                                                                I am assuming your perseverating on the idea of a "house" wine is what you were saying was "just not true", so that what I wrote above satisfies you, though I can't be sure as your post is undetailed and barely responsive.

                                                                                                1. re: Reefmonkey

                                                                                                  Wow, ok -- I didn't mean to impugn on your character, reefmonkey - sorry if you took my comment personally. I'm also sorry you found my use of the term "serious wine program" pretentious -- all I meant is a restaurant with a wine list that someone actually put some love and thought into; a list that goes beyond Kendall Jackson. Jeez.

                                                                                                  Just to clarify, what I'm saying is that at a restaurant like Allen & Delancey most people ordering wine by the glass ARE looking for something special, not being cheap. I'm also saying that in places with nicer wine lists, the BTG selections are taken care of and aren't oxidized, etc. Maybe that's not true wherever you live, but it's certainly the case here in New York. That's all. Hope that's clear enough for you.

                                                                                            2. Ok so I called Allen & Delancey and was told that they carry by the glass 5 whites and 5 reds and a few sparklers for between $12 and $16 with one glass at $25. To the OP it is now official: you and your friends got screwed.

                                                                                              Thanks

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                Did you, by chance, get the name of the offending $25 wine? Inquiring minds want to know what wine has gotten so many panties in a wad!

                                                                                                1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                                                                                  Unfortunately, the OP has declined, so far, to offer that answer, though it has been asked by many, and many times.

                                                                                                  That, plus Chinon00's b-t-g wine list for the restaurant would go a very long way towards helping us define whether it was out of line. Without the wine, we are only speculating here. The b-t-g wine list would definitely help, as within it, based on Chinon00's statements, define whether this was a gouge by the wait-staff.

                                                                                                  Until we have that data, it's moot.

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    To be clear the point isn't if the wine is worth the price. I'm assuming that it is. The question is, with no price point established is it appropriate to recommend to a customer not just the most expensive wine on the list (which is bad enough) but one which also happens to be nearly twice as expensive than the average of the other offerings.
                                                                                                    And I hope that a restaurant would carry more than one "full bodied red wine" (fairly common). The idea that the only match for a "full bodied red wine" on a restaurant wine list is the $25/glass offering is hard to swallow.

                                                                                                    Thanks

                                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                      I respectfully disagree. The question is what is offered, pursuant to the OP’s request to the server. If I ask the Mercedes dealer for an auto that has certain requirements, and the bring around the S-600, I should not then say, “but hey, the C-class is kinda’ close. You should have brought that one around, even though it was not what I ordered.”

                                                                                                      If one gives specs., and there is one wine on the list, that fills those specs., regardless of price, what should be done?

                                                                                                      Should the server ask, “you don’t look like the type, who can afford such a wine. Are you really, really sure that this is the wine you want?” I do not think so.

                                                                                                      Were I the sommelier, and a client asked for a “full-bodied red by the glass,” I’d probably have done the same thing, but that would ONLY be predicated on not having any other “full-bodied red by the glass,” on my list. I would hesitate to question the patron’s ability to pay. Now, I might offer some other selections, but those would be based 100% on the wines on my list, not on the price per glass.

                                                                                                      Until someone can define the list, and the wine, again - it’s moot.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                        How does asking for a "full bodied red wine" equate to asking for the "Mercedes" exactly? Many wines can be described that way. Anyway, if (and only if) the ONLY full bodied red wine available was the $25/glass selection then the server as least has an argument. Some how I doubt that this is the case though.

                                                                                                        Thanks and Good Night

                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                          Chinon, if it's any consolation, I understand where you're coming from.

                                                                                                          If one understands that the standard range of wines runs up to $16 b-t-g, then a glass at a 50% rise deserves mention. The sommelier or waiter only need to point out that this is a higher end wine than the others, but one that fits the diner's request. It is not a matter of questioning the patron's ability to pay.

                                                                                                          As for the others, particularly the commanding arguments of Bill Hunt, I take the question of 'was it worth it' out of the mix. I, too, want to know which wine this was, and I certainly hope it was a wonderful glass. But I think that if there's no printed out list (there should be always, especially for those of us faced with servers who are not perhaps at there best with pronunciations) and if there's a standard price from which this one thing deviates, it would be considered a courtesy to flag it, even subtly.

                                                                                                          If anything, this kind of courtesy stops people from leaving restaurants with a bad taste in their mouth. Yes, I always ask, but I'll admit that if I were under the impression that the range of wines existed at a certain price point, I might not ask.

                                                                                                          (It is also a shame when we feel compelled to treat our encounters with servers like a reading through of the fine print on a credit card/loan application. Perhaps this sense alone creates tensions in dining scenarios and does little to cultivate the love and appreciation of wine and food,)

                                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                            Well, since you will not share the wine list, so we can decide what the options were, and the OP will not divulge what the wine was, we have no idea, do we?

                                                                                                2. If you didn't give a price range, that's your bad.

                                                                                                  1. I always ask the price of a glass of wine because we have had some surprises--not any more.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: pepperqueen

                                                                                                      Wow who knew that my post would stir up so much controversy - I am going to call the restaurant and find out the name of the red wine that was served and also find out what the prices are of the other red wines by the glass. In addition, I am going to find out if there are other full body red wines available by the glass and if so put in a complaint about this waitress with the restaurant manager. In addition, I will refer him/her to this post so that he/she can see these responses! I will get back to everyone if I can get this information!

                                                                                                      1. re: mboxermd

                                                                                                        Instead of putting the burden on your server, who has no clue what you want to spend, why don't you let him know? I would never order a glass of wine the way you did.

                                                                                                    2. In your case, I think you were taken advantage of. One of the things I've learned is to always ask questions. I don't care how annoying I may get, but I am on a budget and I have to watch what I spend.

                                                                                                      I think wine is just obnoxiously marked up in restaurants in general, that I usually avoid it when dining out. I was in SF on vacation 2 weeks ago, and my husband and I were waiting for our table at the bar at Boulevard. We asked to see a wine list since we just wanted to have one glass before our table was ready. I purposely passed on one wine because it was $15 per glass and I had the bottle at home. I paid $26 for the bottle.

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: MrsT

                                                                                                        True, but that's really another topic, wine markups in restaurants. I have to say I was pretty annoyed to see a bottle on the list this week at a local Italian place priced at $38, when I had just bought the same wine for $10.

                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                          3.8x markup isn't really very excessive especially for the more moderately priced wines.

                                                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                            I know - but when I have an identical bottle sitting in my wine rack at home that I just bought for 1/4 the price it seems harder to swallow (so to speak). It's one thing to know in theory how much they're marked up, quite another to have the two prices side-by-side in my head.

                                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                                              BobB,

                                                                                                              That does weigh heavily on one's decision. I've been there too.

                                                                                                              However, when dining out, I'm most interested in "does this wine go very well with the food?"

                                                                                                              Yeah, sometimes, it does hurt. I'm usually ready for 4x markup over wholesale, but have paid, depending on the wine and the meal.

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                uh, i think wine markups are generally reasonable. restaurants mark stuff (esp beverage) up so they can stay open & profit, they aren't liquor/grocery stores-- you pay $2 in a restaurant for a soft drink you buy in the store for $.50, you pay "outrageous" prices for a cup of coffee you could make at home for cheap. you pay $7 for a cocktail when the bottle of booze can be had for $20-$25. you are being served-- if you think the restaurant shouldn't profit from, or mark up, any part of your meal, you should probably dine at home. if you don't recognize that there are paid employees taking care of the wine bottle (and every other element of service) until the glass is set before you, perhaps you could volunteer your time taking care of wine cellars at your local restaurants. lots of fun stuff--schlepping cases around, breaking down cardboard boxes, temp control, and dusting. lots of labor/worker hours, designated wine/barstaff & all that.

                                                                                                                maybe order something you *don't* drink at home when you're out. you might have a better time and make some new discoveries. additionally, lots of little local bistro places often do 1/2 price wine nights on mondays and tuesdays, or whatever, so that their wine-loving patrons can get a bargain, try something new, have a nice time on an off-night. ignoring the establishment's staffing and overhead and saying "wow i could have a whole six-pack for what you're charging for that bottle of beer". . . is pretty gauche/ghetto imo.

                                                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                  Hey soupkitten-

                                                                                                                  You brought up a ton of valid points. The only point you missed was that the author was set back by not be told in advance that the wine was over, say, fifteen-bucks.

                                                                                                                  You even missed stuff like workers comp, breakage budgets (for example Trotters in Chicago spends $40k a year on new glasses), and other ancillary expenses. Imagine a world where no one knew what things cost before it was too late?

                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                    Soupk, you are seriously overreacting here. I understand you're in the business and thus no doubt sensitive on the subject of wine markup, but there's no need to rip me a new one here. I dine out regularly and my wife and I usually order a bottle of wine with dinner without complaint about price. I fully understand the need to make a profit to stay in business (I've owned businesses of my own). My point, which you'd realize if you read the exchange between Bill and me more closely, was that IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE, because I had just bought a case of this wine (which, ironically enough, I was first introduced to at the restaurant in question) and had the two price tags side by side in my head, the difference just jumped out at me in a way that it normally does not. Yes, I understand intellectually why the markup is appropriate (though I do think a near 400% markup at a neighborhood Italian joint with no dedicated wine staff whatsoever is a bit steep), it's just that I don't normally have it thrust in my face that way. And yes, that night I did order a different bottle of wine, and enjoyed it perfectly well, thank you very much.

                                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                      <<Soupk, you are seriously overreacting here>>

                                                                                                                      am i? sorry, i've got a short fuse-- but i'm not *mad* or anything, sorry 'bout that. i do understand what you are saying about "intellectually" understanding a markup but knowing the cost of the ingredients wholesale-- i use a certain delicious local goat cheese, that seems to have gotten very popular with lots of restaurants in town lately (*duh*, it's da bomb), and sometimes i see it on a menu somewhere with a *very* hefty markup----- and i'm like, i'm an ***idiot***, i could be charging that much for this goat cheese LOL! :)

                                                                                                                      just kidding. i do get your point, that there are restaurants that earn their wine markups with great glassware, service, dedicated staff & storage facility, and there are other restaurants-- that are gougers. as the customer, we've got the choice of drinking wine or water or tea or milk, & get to decide our best value. we also don't know the restaurant's specifics: maybe the restaurant has to rent an extra 10'by20' storage room at $40/square foot from their landlord, in order to offer wine to patrons-- who knows what hidden fees the restaurant needs to cover with a markup? you see the price tag and decide whether it's worth it to you to order or not, same as the $18 simple pasta, $19 pot roast, $13 salad. . .

                                                                                                          2. Ouch. Not on the wine price but that you weren't made aware. There's a discreet way of going about this. The waitress hands the host the wine list and says "the 2006 Brunello, on the left side 4th from the top" matches perfectly with your $80 fillet mignon. It's a trick to make sure the two of you are on the same page.

                                                                                                            I wrote a little post concerning wine b-t-g pricing I'd like you to comment on also. And, by any chance would you remember the wine you drank there? Maybe the cop wrote the producer on the police report? You did report this didn't you?

                                                                                                            I feel for you. I've ordered bottles for friends across a restaurant and been hit with $450/bottle wine bills. I'm done looking like the big man on campus.

                                                                                                            Check out my post at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570621

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: billyparsons

                                                                                                              Billy,

                                                                                                              No, to date, the wine has not been mentioned. It seems that the OP and one other know what it was, but will not comment. Until the board knows, most of this is moot.

                                                                                                              The presentation of the price is a valid one. It *seems* that most of the b-t-g offerings are well below this price. This one *seems* to be the zenith of the list.

                                                                                                              Personally, I like to see a b-t-g list in front of me, and request same, when dining, or bar-hopping. I do not usually turn a bartender loose, though I do with a restaurant's sommelier. Servers are often not the folk, with whom to speak, regarding wine selections. Too many want to upsell, regardless of how well, or poorly, a wine fits the patron's requests.

                                                                                                              I seldom tell the sommelier to dig deeply into his/her cellar, because I know how quickly the prices can accelerate. I like making my selections, or with restraint, letting the sommelier do so, for my dining pleasure. That constraint is usually reflected in price, either printed, or stated.

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                              PS, did you find enough posts to answer your question in the other thread - the one that seems to get moved hourly? If not, let me know, and I'll gather some CH links, though most of these are fairly current on the appropriate boards.

                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                "It seems that the OP and one other know what it was, but will not comment. Until the board knows, most of this is moot."

                                                                                                                You seem like a bright person. The point isn't whether or not the OP got what she paid for. I'm sure that the wine, whatvever it was, was worth every penny.

                                                                                                                Thanks

                                                                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                  Thank you. I am a bright person. What I alluded to was that no one has come forth to state what the heck the wine was, for whatever reason. Whether the wine was worth the price, should be based on what it was.

                                                                                                                  Now, let's say that it was a glass of '70 Latour. Would you have complained about US$25 per glass from a good, fresh bottle?

                                                                                                                  You claim to know what the wine was. The OP seems to have lost track of what the wine was. What is do difficult about naming the wine? What is there to hide?

                                                                                                                  It's like the people, who post to the Adobe forums for their non-linear editing programs. They state the error that they got, but do not list what their assets were. When asked for these details, they often do not list them, but instead rant against Adobe.

                                                                                                                  A simple answer would clear this matter up. If it was a super cheapo OZ Syrah, or similiar, then I would be in your and the OP's camp. Until I know, you do not get my vote - sorry.

                                                                                                                  As for the OP giving carte blanche, with no regard to pricing, and not looking at the b-t-g wine list, then I'm sorry. The OP's description was filled. The price was higher than they expected, but that is the way that life goes. If the OP was thinking of something else, they should have mentioned that as a guide. Like my earlier auto analogy. If I ask the dealer for a fast, luxury touring-sedan and the S-65 shows up, when I was really thinking of the E-55, then I have not done my job.

                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                    Now, let's say that it was a glass of '70 Latour. Would you have complained about US$25 per glass from a good, fresh bottle?

                                                                                                                    I would. I'm not a huge wine person but will order a glass or a bottle on occasion. If the waitress just told me a name I'd have no idea how much it should cost but I know I wouldnt order a glass that expensive and if most of the menu wasn't that well priced, I'd be annoyed even if it was a great bargain for that particular wine.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jes

                                                                                                                      Now see, that is the difference between us. I'd have paid 3x the stated price and felt glad to do so. For a vertical tasting of Latour wines with dinner, I paid US$900 per person and it was some of the best wines I've ever had.

                                                                                                                      If one wishes to order anytiing in a restaurant, they should inquire as to the prices, or be ready to be surprised. Order the "surf n' turf," at "fair market price," and take your chances. Say, "yeah, I'll have that lobster and Kobe beef dish," without asking about the price, and the diner has relinquished the right to be miffed.

                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                        yes but my view is in with the original poster. if every glass on the menu is in the $25 range and i wanted wine, id get a $25 glass of wine and try to ask someone for one that was worth the price. im not saying $25 is outrageous for every single glass of wine. There are clearly expensive wines and clearly there are people that enjoy them. But if most wines at a given place are in the $10-$15 range and i get a glass i expect it to be in that range and not to have one double that price served to me even if that was a glass that should cost $1000.

                                                                                                                        1. re: jes

                                                                                                                          Were I the sommelier, or the server, I would have stated, "I have the Ch. XXX '01 in a b-t-g pour AND the price is US$25. I also have a nice 'medium-bodied' Barosa Cab by YYY and it's the '02. For a 'full-bodied red, I recommend the Ch. XXX '01, but it's a more expensive offering." I was not.

                                                                                                                          However, then the post would likely have read, "Dismissive Sommelier Didn't Think I Could Afford a $25 B-T-G Wine - What's Up With That?"

                                                                                                                          I am beginning to believe that too many people want their hands to be held for everything that they do. They expect someone to be culpable for every mis-step that they make, and it is not going to be them. It seems that someone is always the victim.

                                                                                                                          Enough said. I have stated my feelings and articulated both my feelings on prices of B-T-G selections and the prices of wines. Nothing else to say.

                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                            Bill,

                                                                                                                            The next time I'm heading to NOLA, I'm going to look you up and see if we can share a meal. I don't always agree with your posts, but you have the strongest and most coherent food philosophy of any poster on CH.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                              Now remember, I live in Phoenix, and only get to visit my old "home town" of New Orleans a few times per year. Still, if we happend to be there, I'd love to dine with you. Heck, I have a bunch of free tickets on SW Airlines, and we love dining in NOLA - wife still has a lot of family there. Click my profile and e-mail me off-line, when you'll be there. Same goes for Phoenix, or Las Vegas, San Francisco, London, or Paris. Who knows, maybe we can break some bread and drink some wine.

                                                                                                                              As for agreement, even my poor enduring wife of 38 years seldom agrees with me!

                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                Well, my husband of 30 years frequently disagrees with me, as well. That said, we both love a great meal We have had some super meals in Phoenix, and my old love is my birthplace, SF. That said, I love NoLA, and it needs our help. We'll probably head on down at spring break next year, so maybe we can hook up- and have a remarkable meal in this great American city.

                                                                                                                                Whatever the outcome, I really enjoy your posts.

                                                                                                            2. I think we should all defer to Bill on this one -- he's obviously the primo wino here (and I mean this in a good way). I think he has the extensive experience to judge what's acceptable and what's not. I know what my gut tells me, but Bill eats out a lot more than I do, with seemingly diverse groups of diners. His is really useful experience, IMO.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                Yes but the point isnt was this wine worth $25/glass. (If that was the post I'd surely defer to BIll) but the question is if most wines b-t-g are around $10-$15 is it reasonale for the server to bring you a $25 glass without any sortof warning of price. You don't need to be a drinker at all to weigh in on that.

                                                                                                                1. re: jes

                                                                                                                  I'm assuming that OP can read, and that the wine list has wines by the glass ranging at least to $25/glass.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                    No list was presented. I think that's where the biggest problem lies. By not asking for the list, the diner was at the "mercy" of the waiter.

                                                                                                                    I know others here disagree with me, but if the diner doesn't ask the price, he's basically ripe for suckering. Ask the price if price, not taste profile, is the factor.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                      Based on the OP he/she didn't look. I agree with jes, there are lots of wines worth $25 or more per glass, but if you're just looking for a full bodied red you shouldn't be given something at the top end of the offerings unless that's what you wanted.