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Umbria - overcharging for bottles of wine

m
mkfisher Mar 11, 2011 07:25 AM

We live right down the street from Umbria, so we ran in for a quick dinner last night. Since it was Restaurant Week, it was actually a pretty good value. We've been there before, and we really enjoy the pappardelle with wild boar ragu. Anyways, with dinner we ordered a bottle of the Gainey sauvignon blanc for $36. Add that with two RW dinners and it should all be a little over $100 when all is said and done. However to my surprise, the actual bill was over $130. I stared at it in amazement for a second and then I realized that they charged me $60 for my $36 bottle of wine. The receipt read Gainey, which is what I ordered, but somehow it was now $24 more. While I'm waiting to flag down the waitress and ask, I hear the couple two tables over (there was nobody between us) ask "was our bottle of wine really $70?" At this point we all made eye contact, and they asked us if the same thing happened to us, which it did. Ultimately both our bills were fixed, but this obviously leads me to ask if this was all planned? Once is an accident. Twice within two minutes of each other is a pattern. We had ordered a different bottle than the other couple, so it definitely wasn't a mix up in the computer. This happening during Restaurant Week makes it extra suspicious to me - are they trying to recoup some of the discount by overcharging for wine? I'd think a lot of inexperienced diners would miss this on a bill and just pay it (personally, I started paying extra attention when I read on CH about Prezza). Anyone else have this experience? Am I a crazy conspiracy theorist?

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Prezza
24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

Umbria
295 Franklin St., Boston, MA 02110

  1. t
    tamerlanenj Mar 11, 2011 08:21 AM

    Sounds like they were trying to recoup some of their RW discounts. A strange thing to do, since RW brings out the check-examining tightwads like no other week.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj
      9
      9lives Mar 11, 2011 08:38 AM

      Examining a check doesn't make some one a tightwad.

      If a dish or wine is priced on a printed menu, that's what should be on the check. RW or not.

      1. re: 9lives
        Bob Dobalina Mar 11, 2011 08:59 AM

        This is like some sort of logic game -

        Assume that...
        It is true that all check examiners are not tightwads.
        It is true that tightwads tend to be check examiners.
        It is true that tightwads tend to dine out during RW.
        Ergo, the best answer is:

        A) Some tightwads do not examine checks during RW;
        B) All RW diners are tightwads;
        C) Tightwads who are chowhounds avoid RW;
        D) Some chowhounds examine posted comments like tightwads;
        or
        E) Some chowhounds clearly have to get back to work....

        1. re: Bob Dobalina
          Johnresa Mar 11, 2011 10:17 AM

          Bob I think we were separated at birth because I thought the same thing.

          I was supposed to go to Umbria next week for RW but I think I will cancel that reservation now and just keep the one for Marliave.

          -----
          Marliave
          10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            9
            9lives Mar 11, 2011 02:11 PM

            Ha, I remember logic class.

            Having eaten thousands of dinners out, many with reg posters here, someone always looks at the check. I'm not talking a full item by item audit but a quick glance if it's in the right ballpark and we actually got what we ordered Wine is typically the highest priced item, so it's fairly easy to pick out. So it it's Troquet (not the best example as we usually do a price specified tasting, and they've never made a mistake) or Chinatown or someplace in between, one of us gives it a quick once over. rarely do we find a mistake but it occassionally happens.

            It seems some establishments make a habit of mispricing wine. Happens to me once, it could be an accident....happens reguarly, I cross the place off my list.

      2. MC Slim JB Mar 11, 2011 09:05 AM

        This is the same organization that refuses to serve tap water in one of its restaurants. Caveat emptor. Scrutinize your checks.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          r
          Ricardo Malocchio Mar 11, 2011 11:44 AM

          Anti-customer and anti-environment.

          I've had one unmemorable meal at Umbria several years ago, and was unlikely to return. But it's now permanently stricken from my list.

        2. m
          masterson Mar 11, 2011 11:59 AM

          I had something similar happen at RW a few years ago. We were at some Italian joint in the North End (can't remember the name now) and they had a bottle of something or other on the table. One of our party was a wine salesman so he knew the wine as a decent and inexpensive red. Because it was on the table we didn't think to ask the price. Surprise! We paid at least double what the normal restaurant price should have been. So as MC Slim said, caveat emptor.

          3 Replies
          1. re: masterson
            BostonZest Mar 11, 2011 01:24 PM

            Was it one of the places on this list?

            http://www.depasqualeventures.com/

            Those are the related places.

            Penny
            http://www.bostonzest.com/

            1. re: BostonZest
              rlh Mar 16, 2011 06:30 AM

              Thanks very much for the list - I don't like any these spots anyway (there was a glimmer of hope at Bricco several years ago that was snuffed out with a chef change), and now I have more of basis for objecting to patronizing them - ever - for business or pleasure.

              -----
              Bricco
              241 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

              1. re: BostonZest
                m
                masterson Mar 16, 2011 07:10 AM

                A little google maps research reveals that it was Tresca.

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                Tresca
                233 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

            2. g
              Gabatta Mar 11, 2011 12:28 PM

              Am I even mildly surprised that this happened at Umbria Prime? ....absolutely not.

              Sorry for your experience. Glad you caught them though. This is a great example of why I no longer will step foot into that clip joint. I once caught them pouring one scotch while charging for a much more expensive one.

              1. m
                mkfisher Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM

                It's really a shame that places feel the need to do this. I'm 28 years old, and he's lost my business for the next 50+ years. I'm not really sure how that makes any sense? Moreover, I will tell every single person that I know to stay away from all of his restaurants. I just don't get it.

                1. t
                  tamerlanenj Mar 12, 2011 04:17 AM

                  Guys, sorry to have given offense. I was actually just being a little cheeky. Of course people should look over their checks and there is nothing wrong with it. There is also nothing wrong with not eating out at fancy restaurants at full price. Sorry: I was mainly kidding around.

                  1. m
                    mkfisher Mar 15, 2011 08:31 AM

                    In the interest of fairness, I thought I'd share the response I got from the Umbria GM on what happened. He claims that they had put a new wine list out that day and had some technical difficulty with programming their 10 year old computer system.

                    My two questions:
                    1) If you make changes to the 10 year old computer system, wouldn't logic dictate that you check that it produces the correct amounts before customers arrive?
                    2) We didn't receive our bill until around 8:15pm. I'd suspect that we (along with the people seated next to us) were not the first people to encounter this problem on that evening. Wouldn't you immediately inform all servers of the issue, so as to avoid the overcharging?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mkfisher
                      MC Slim JB Mar 15, 2011 08:36 AM

                      In a word, BS. It might be easier to believe if they didn't have a history of this kind of gouging behavior.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: mkfisher
                        StriperGuy Mar 15, 2011 08:39 AM

                        Total BS.

                        1. re: StriperGuy
                          r
                          Ricardo Malocchio Mar 15, 2011 10:16 AM

                          Lying liars. Thanks Bostonzest for the full list of restaurants to permanently cross off my list.

                      2. r
                        Ralphie_in_Boston Mar 15, 2011 10:17 AM

                        Thank you, and darn you, for you post!

                        Thank you for sharing your experience and warning us about this practice of thievery.

                        And darn you for making me hungry for pappardelle with wild boar!!! That was my favorite dish when I visited Umbria (the region of Italy, not the restaurant in question).

                        I guess I need to save up money for a trip to the Real Umbria!

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston
                          BostonZest Mar 15, 2011 04:15 PM

                          Come on gang, Fine some pappardelle with wild boar for Ralphie. Right now I'm drawing a blank on where I enjoyed this last-- it may have been Trattoria Toscano.

                          Who has had a good version elsewhere?

                          Penny
                          http://www.bostonzest.com/

                          1. re: BostonZest
                            b
                            bear Mar 15, 2011 05:04 PM

                            I've definitely had it at Trattoria Toscana. Really good. It's not Sox season yet, Ralphie, so the wait for a table shouldn't be too bad!

                            -----
                            Trattoria Toscana
                            130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

                            1. re: bear
                              r
                              Ralphie_in_Boston Mar 15, 2011 05:52 PM

                              Good idea Bear and Zest! I can't remember where I had that dish last, and it was in the Boston area. Havent' been to Trattoria Toscana, and I see another reason why I need to go, thanks!

                              -----
                              Trattoria Toscana
                              130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

                              1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston
                                t
                                Taralli Mar 16, 2011 07:21 AM

                                At TT(but I'd call 1st to make sure it's still on the menu):

                                Pappardelle Al Sugo Di Cinghiale wild boar & vegetables braised in chianti classico $17.00

                                1. re: Taralli
                                  r
                                  Ralphie_in_Boston Mar 16, 2011 09:11 AM

                                  (sound of Homer Simpson drooling)
                                  thanks!

                                  I'm really racking my fuzzy brain thinking of where I've had that dish in Boston. I may never remember.

                                  OH I remember.! I'm pretty sure it was at Lucca in the North end. It may have been a special that night, not on the regular menu. But it was pretty good. Time to make a comparison!

                                  -----
                                  Lucca Restaurant
                                  226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

                            2. re: BostonZest
                              MC Slim JB Mar 16, 2011 09:24 AM

                              I've been to Trattoria Toscana a couple of times recently -- as terrific as ever (got to review it in Stuff for the recent Dining Issue, yay!) -- and that wild boar dish is not on the current menu. It comes and goes, maybe an autumn dish?

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              -----
                              Trattoria Toscana
                              130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

                            3. re: Ralphie_in_Boston
                              t
                              tamerlanenj Mar 16, 2011 10:27 AM

                              Not wild board but a similarly satisfying rabbit ragu with fresh pasta is a staple at Mama Maria.

                              1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston
                                g
                                Gabatta Mar 18, 2011 06:11 PM

                                La Campania is currently serving a special of garganelli with wild boar ragu.

                                Saving up for a trip to Umbria is certainly worthwhile though.

                                1. re: Gabatta
                                  r
                                  Ralphie_in_Boston Mar 18, 2011 08:27 PM

                                  Thanks...and to think, Umbria is not far from Campania!

                              2. t
                                tysonmcneely Mar 16, 2011 02:13 PM

                                Went to Umbria for RW lunch today. There was a little bit of a reservation error on their part, which made us wait 15 mins. I got the jumbo lumb meat crab cocktail which came with a pretty generous portion (for an RW app) of crab meat. The crab meat was not the most tasty, unfortunately. One other diner at my table got the house made Proscuitto and Speck (basically a charcuterie board), which looked very good. I would probably suggest getting this app if you went. Other apps were mussles (decent) and some salads. Next came the mains, I got the Filet, which came out rare as requested. Not a huge steak, but definitely 6+ oz (maybe even 8?) It was a little cold, but whatever, that's to be expected during RW. The table only got the filets or Salmon, which I heard was good. I got the Tiramisu for dessert. I wasn't expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. The server was very polite/professional, no RW-esque attitude. No Bill problems, although we didn't order anything off RW menu or drinks. Overall I would say it was a very good value for RW lunch.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: tysonmcneely
                                  g
                                  Gabatta Mar 16, 2011 02:27 PM

                                  The inside of a rare steak should be red and cool, but the overall dish should not be cold even during a promotional period.

                                  1. re: Gabatta
                                    t
                                    tysonmcneely Mar 17, 2011 08:32 AM

                                    Yeah, Maybe I should have specified. The steak was a little cold (on the outside) because it sat in the window. We were a 5-top so it's not unexpected.

                                    1. re: Gabatta
                                      CocoDan Mar 17, 2011 02:07 PM

                                      I agree 100%. Any restaurant worth it's salt (no pun intended), should have it's absolute best foot forward. I'm really tired of posters on this board making excuses for servers and food during RW. This is your business, and it's supposed to be good all the time.
                                      I'm Trying To Enjoy,
                                      CocoDan

                                    2. re: tysonmcneely
                                      r
                                      Ralphie_in_Boston Mar 17, 2011 08:36 PM

                                      Wow, they make their own Prosciutto an Speck? I might try them after all!

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