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Mar 11, 2011 07:25 AM

Umbria - overcharging for bottles of wine

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?

24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

295 Franklin St., Boston, MA 02110

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  1. 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

      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

        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;
        E) Some chowhounds clearly have to get back to work....

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          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.

          10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          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. 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: BostonZest

              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.

              241 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

              1. re: BostonZest

                A little google maps research reveals that it was Tresca.

                233 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

            2. 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. 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.