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Jan 25, 2009 09:18 PM

Is Compass Pointing True North? - A meal killer? [moved from Manhattan board]

My husband and I went out this past weekend to Compass. We were very pleased with the food, service and overall ambiance. The wait staff were attentive and the sommelier was extremely knowledgeable. We understand that many fine restaurants are probably hurting for business.
However, we discovered that the wine we chose (which was great, but at a whopping $130.00 per bottle) was marked up more then 4x it's retail value. To our dismay the wine still sells for approximately $27.00 in the stores. Because it was a lesser known wine from a smaller vineyard, we were not familiar with it and thought it was probably worth the price. Most restaurants will mark up a bottle, at the most, 3x the retail price. We left Compass believing that this restaurant was pointing true north. Now, I ask all you foodies, when you find out that you got ripped off on a bottle of wine does the experience turn into a meal killer instead of a killer meal?

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  1. Personally, I would be irritated, but I wouldn't see that as a meal killer if I otherwise enjoyed the food and service. I would just go in with my eyes open the next time.

    We had dinner at Compass this past weekend, too, for the first time in a long time. We really enjoyed the food and our evening there (though we had a significantly cheaper bottle of wine). I'm not sure that the over 4x markup is a normal thing on their wine list, though. When I looked at the list, the wines I was familiar with had more of a 2 1/2-3x markup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shawn

      Shawn, you bring up an interesting little point: You are familiar with many on their list. I would bet they are within the normal realm of familiarity of the average NYC 'Hounder. The OP notes that the 4x markup wine they were not familiar with.

      It might just be interesting to make a comparison -- known wines on the list = 2 1/2-3x markup versus esoteric wines = 4x markup? Might be hard to get a hold of the list to do this test, however...

      Oh, and Erica below makes a good point. Write a letter! If nothing else, you might get a free entree.

    2. Honestly, I think that I would be so annoyed by this that I would write them a letter. If they do not get any complaints, they will just expand this practice of jacking the markups. Putting smaller and less-known labels on the list is one way to hope that customers do not see the same wine in local shops and realize the extent of the markup. I am burned up just thinking about what happened to you! For the record, I've had a good meal here in the past year or so, but not since Frazier left.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. I've had a couple of meals at Compass since they revamped it, one good and one great. At the great meal (first week of January) we had a couple of delicious bottles of Malbec at $45 each. I didn't recognize this particular winery, nor did I write it down to check later, but I know there are plenty of really good Malbecs for around $10 - $12 a bottle retail, which means this could well have been a 4x markup. But at the price, for a bottle of good wine in a high-end restaurant, I'm not complaining.