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Bergamot: yes, yes, yes. The Market (Gloucester): no, thanks

Our expectations for Bergamot were high...and they were all met extremely well. From the pleasant greeting at the door, to the excellent service, and the superb food. Small, flavorful portions that were blessedly satisfying. Combinations of ingredients that were honest and straightforward and surprising (nothing precious here.) Starters: crispy chicken and ham salad; duck, duck, duck; Spanish mackerel. Entrees: pan-seared scallops; pan-seared East Coast halibut; special--sirloin of pork. Desserts: Sweet Summer Salad (w/ olive oil gelato, black pepper financier, strawberries); blueberry tart with cornmeal crumble and herbes de provence ice cream; Guanjillo Chile Chocolate Pave with Milk Stout ice cream. Mmmmm-mmm from start to finish. Nice place, nice staff, nice job folks.

Alas, the admirable philosophy behind the latest North Shore resto to jump on the "local and sustainable" bandwagon, The Market Restaurant in Gloucester, does not seem to extend to its services and fees policies. We were told when we called that the place is BYOB as they had no liquor license yet. We were not told that they would impose a $10 corkage fee when we brought our own bottle. A corkage fee at a place that doesn't sell wine itself? And guess what?This fee, we were informed, extends to bottles of beer as well. Sorry, the menu and ingredients look good, but we can't support a place that operates in that greedy manner. When the policy changes or when they get their license, maybe. Good luck to them.

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Bergamot
118 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

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  1. I don't object to paying a modest corkage fee when the establishment provides service, glassware, ice, etc. as all things items are expenses.Same when bringing my cake to an establishment and they provide plates, etc.

    1. $10 is very reasonable as far as I'm concerned and about par, average that I have seen is between $10-$25. I have been to places that charge as much as $90 per bottle (Per Se in NY).

      1 Reply
      1. re: csammy

        Bergamot had very tasty food, but I thought the portions were teeny tiny for the price. I went w/ a couple of girlfriends and none of us eat huge portions but we all had to order our own app and entree to have enough to feel that we had a satisfying meal out.

        Went to The Market in Gloucester last night and I thought it was wonderful. We brought a bottle of white wine and they opened/poured, put it on ice and refilled throughout the meal. The menu is small and changes nightly. Last night they had one pasta/veg meal, shortribs (husband got) & seafood stew (I got -- really delishious). They had a seared tuna starter and someone sitting near me asked to order it as an entree and they happily obliged. It looked really good. Staff is super nice and the service was great. I don't consider $10 too much since the markup on the wine would be more than that at most places anyway. I still consider it a savings to bring my own and pay $10. (I even think the Causway in Gloucester charges corkage fee.)

      2. Totally agree the a BYO place should NOT charge corkage. That's sort of the point of BYOB.

        9 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy

          Even the 90 dollars that Per Se wants is cheap given the mark-ups on expensive wine; most restaurants charge 3 times retail. i usually leave an extra 20 per bottle if there is no corkage fee to offset the loss to the restaurant.

          And if there is no such policy; i frequently offer to buy the cheapest bottle on the menu and drink my own wine.

          1. re: cambridgedoctpr

            You are missing the point.

            They have no liquor license of their own. It is stricktly BYOB.

            I totally agree that if you are bringing wine and they have a license THEN you should pay corkage. But a place without a license should welcome BYO as long as it is legal.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              I guess I can see your point but are you bringing your own glasses as well?

              1. re: csammy

                There is a LONG tradition of BYO places not charging corkage.

                Heck, in Montreal BYO places are some of the finest in the city and often tout the ability to BYO.

                I honestly have never heard of a place that does not have a license that charges corkage. It's kind of the restaurant not having their cake, and eating it too if you know what I mean...

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I understand that a restaurant without a license is a bit ballsy charging corkage as customers are not taking money out of their pockets by drinking their own wine.

                  but restaurants in general make a good amount of their profit from their huge mark-ups on liquor so i try not to penalize them - even the ones without a license.

                  by the way, i also seem to have a nit to pick with you, but i think that you are the most knowledgeable guy about general dining along with MC Slim JB - who is a professional - on the site and follow your recommendations. there are other people like food dabbler who seem to really understand a particular cuisine in depth but you two are the most informative when it comes to a wide range of cuisines.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I was wondering if the $10 charge (which I disagree with) is an artifact of their all being from California?

                  2. re: csammy

                    OP said they charged the fee for bottles of beer as well. If i drink out of the bottle, would you still charge a fee?

                    My feeling is if the place is BYOB, then fees should not apply. I have never been to a place that is BYOB and charges a fee.

              2. re: StriperGuy

                Devra First of the Globe agrees with you - that part of her review is here:

                http://www.boston.com/ae/food/restaur...

              3. A friend and I went to Bergamot last night to celebrate her birthday. Everything about the evening was great and the food was exceptional. For an appetizer I had the gazpacho; I highly recommend it. This was only the second evening it was on the menu. A wonderful beginning to a fantastic meal.

                1. Went to The Market last night (my fourth visit) and was given to understand that they could have their liquor license in a matter of days.