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So we went away for the weekend (it was a long weekend for us Canadians) and we went to Stowe. Long story short, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant, and my entree was 2 inches of olive oil soaked pasta with some chicken and pine nuts. I tried to eat what I could, but left a lot. Had I wanted an olive oil bath, I would have gone to a spa. When the waiter took my plate, I mentioned that the dish had way too much oil, he kind of grunted but said nothing else. We had coffee and a great desset, hubbie paid the bill and we left. When we were back at the inn, I asked him how much dinner was and he said the food was $52. Ummm what? 2 apps, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, one child's meal - we also had a half bottle of wine - (but that was a separate tab). Now I have to assume they comped my entree and maybe even dessert. There is no way that everything we ordered was only $52 (the apps themselves were $8-9). Now my question is- would the waiter or owner or someone not have mentioned that they were comping part of the meal? I've never had that happen where they don't tell you they're doing something nice.

By the way, this nice place was Trattoria La Festa in Stowe, Vt (just to give them a plug since they were so nice).

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  1. Hi fellow Canadian...yes, IMHO, that is weird...I am not sure why a resto/server would bother to comp you SO generously and NOT bring the fact to your attention big time.

    We were down in New England, (Gorham, New Hampshire) this weekend, too and dinner for two in a pretty run of the mill place with salads, dinner and 1 dessert split was $50---you really got a deal!

    1. I've been comped a few minor things without it being mentioned, so wouldn't be terribly surprised if they just took it off. It could have been that they felt bringing up the fact that they took it off might come off as sort of 'see how nice we are' or something. In any case, I don't think it's weird if they did that and didn't mention it, even if other places would mention it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cinnamon

        I was going to say the same thing myself. There have definitely been times where I have taken items off of someones check and not told them so. It's a gut thing. Sometimes, it just doesn't feel right to announce it, for the reasons you stated above. I do, generally, expect that people will look at their check and notice it has been taken off, but if not, oh well. At least we did the right thing. Thankfully, I work in a place where comping doesn't have to happen very often at all; in fact, very very infrequently. It all depends on the situation.

      2. Perhaps they didn't mention it because it is such a common occurrence for them? Seems that if it were a rare thing, people (the manager and/or manager) would be a little bit more concerned.

        2 Replies
        1. re: alwayscooking

          Actually, it's a pretty decent restaurant- I've been going to Stowe for close to 30 years now and eat there nearly every time I go. They have an extraordinary wine list - I've discovered some treasures there. So I don't think they have a lot of complaints. I'm just really surprised that they didn't mention anything, and now I'm feeling guilty (although I didn't find out until we got back to our inn) that I didn't thank them for the obvious gesture.

          I am very picky when it comes to food and service, so trust me, I would not have gone back so many times if the food were crap. Both our apps and my husband's entree were fabulous. Dessert was great too.

          1. re: maisonbistro

            I think you can let the guilt go on this one. You've been a regular customer and you'll be back, and now you've given them a nice plug on CH.

          1. re: LindaWhit


            I'm not really questioning if something was comped, because there is no way our food bill could have been $52. Both our apps were off the table d'hote - smoked prosciutto with aged goat cheese for him, a whole plate of homemade italian goodies for me- and both were between $8-10 each.

            And those menus are outdated. They don't have a lot of those things on the current one. My favourite (simple but rustic and oh well prepared) is the pasta with chicken and broccoli in a cream sauce. I was dreaming of it, and poof, it wasn't on the menu. They had no fresh broccoli in house or they would have made it for me. Instead I picked another chicken/pasta dish that was horrid because of all the olive oil.

            1. re: maisonbistro

              I wasn't sure re: the menus - they did say "Winter 2008-2009" so I figured they might be a bit old.

              Well, if you go back (and it sounds like you will) you can, perhaps, make up for the unstated comp of a food item this past time. :-)

          2. sounds like your husband didn't even look at the bill. THAT'S weird, lol.

            2 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                He hardly ever checks the bill - I usually do - but it was late and my son was falling asleep on me so I didn't bother.

              2. You were unhappy with your entree and barely ate any. You pointed this out to the server and (we now assume) he removed that item from the bill (without mentioning this for whatever reason).

                I don't see this as a "comp" as such. It is not compensation for anything; it is simply not charging you for something you did not consume.This is what a good restaurant should do.

                My question is why the server didn't notice your displeasure earlier so that he could get you something else to eat. This seems to be where he fell down on the job.

                1. I was at a restaurant in Manhattan recently and was unable to eat my carbonara as it had cream in it (a strange "thing" on my part - even the smell of it turned my stomache). I didn't complain or say anything, but the waitress took it off the bill and did not say anything to us about it.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    How odd, I've always had cream in Carbonara sauce, and most of the recipes that came up when I googled it also contained cream, although a couple of them said to add a tablespoon or two for the desired consistency. Interested to hear what the rest of the gang says about cream in Carbonara sauce.

                    EDIT: I take it back, no cream in Carbonara, got it!

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      There are various (at times heated) threads on the HC board about this topic. My sense is that "purists" find cream an anethma. I use the recipe from Hazan's book. The funny bit was, I'd loved the dish there a number of months ago, but from the minute this plate was put in front of me, I knew it had cream, which was confirmed by the server.

                      I'll see if I can find some threads for you.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I believe that any of the threads here will serve to introduce you to the controversy (though I don't think there is one!):


                        1. re: MMRuth

                          oic, cool. good information, and obviously a hot topic that does NOT have to be revisited.

                  2. Was it early in the evening? I ask because perhaps they have early bird specials, wherein many dishes are offered at a reduced rate if you are seated before 6pm, for instance.

                    1. If a customer at any restaurant that I've owned or managed complains about the quality of the food. And it is a justified complaint. I always remove the item from the bill automaticly. I never mention the fact that it is removed unless they ask. If it is a major f-up, I might throw in a dessert too.

                      Many places don't mention the item removal from the bill. They figure that you'll notice it.

                      1. Not weird. Your husband "was in the mood" and didn't want to upset you w/ the true cost and get you "out of the mood". No brainer.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Did I not mention we were there with our 5 1/2 year old son???? No moods happening this weekend.