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Name This Restaurant aka the foolish diner

j
JudiAU Oct 24, 2011 12:34 PM

I took Mr. JudiAU to dinner last week for his birthday and we were delighted to find that it was DineLA week. The menu looked great and I was delighted with the unexpected discount. heh heh I decided to splurge a bit and ordered two glass of rose champagne. I chose what I knew to be the more expensive option, remembering that the restaurant had a premier cru during the fall holiday season that was a splurge-worthy $35 or $35/glass. Delicous.

Dinner was terrific, as always. They added a special dessert for the birthday boy which we had briefly discussed when we came in (hey! celebrity treatment) and we had a great time.

I got the bill, paid it, and walked out the door. Champagne was $90 a glass. x2

So, this isn't one of those disgruntled "can you believe they charged $180 for two glasses of champagne?" posts. I know Champagne fairly well and if I had *though* for a moment I would have asked for the wine list again, which had been previously offerred. So, I declined the price list, made an expensive choice, and paid for it thanking god this was a time in my life when my credit card could handle it. But, ouch. And now I know why we got that extra dessert. So, my fault.

The question though is two-fold--

1) can anyone guess the restaurant and

2) share with me a similar story of foolish choice or ordering at a restaurant. i want to feel better.

  1. f
    foodiemahoodie Oct 28, 2011 11:23 AM

    I have to say something - that is outrageous. But I'm trying to figure out a way around the whole "manners" issue. It is rude for the waiter to tell you the price, or give you fair warning. It's not right to ask ever though I can't imagine a waiter or sommelier being offended.

    Was the price per glass in the wine list? In other other words - how would one know? How would one know if wasn't a mistake?

    8 Replies
    1. re: foodiemahoodie
      omotosando Oct 28, 2011 11:47 AM

      I can't stand Spago, but I don't find anything outrageous. I think it would be rude for the waiter to say, "by the way, you do understand that is $90 a glass." It could be perceived as insinuating either that you don't look like the kind of people who could afford such an extravagance and/or that you don't look like the kind of people who would appreciate such a rarefied wine.

      By the way, I do think the real question is whether the Krug was worth the premium. That's a calculation that those of us who collect wine make every day. Well, I could have this 2005 Bordeaux for $___ and that one for $___ -- am I really going to enjoy Bordeaux A that much better than Bordeaux B that it is worth spending $100 or $200 or whatever dollar amount more for the "better" wine.

      P.S. I'm considering buying the 2000 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon Rose for $174 a bottle, but am wondering would a Krug be that much better. Nonvintage Krug is available for $279 a bottle, so is the Krug $105 better? (By the way, some LA merchants are also selling the non-vintage Krug for as much as $425 a bottle. At $425 a bottle, the Spago $90 a glass is looking like quite a bargain, since restaurants typically mark up wine at at least 3x retail -- usually less for more expensive bottles).

      1. re: omotosando
        j
        jdwdeville Oct 28, 2011 12:52 PM

        Omotosando- having had both wines, I can tell you the Billecart is definitively the better wine. And, it's vintage as well as from a Grand Cru vineyard.

        1. re: jdwdeville
          omotosando Oct 28, 2011 01:38 PM

          Hmm, off to Wally's to pick up some champagne for tomorrow lunch. Trying to decide between the 2000 Billecart and the 1999 Philipponnat Clos de Goisses, the Phllipponant being $15 more expensive.

          1. re: jdwdeville
            omotosando Oct 29, 2011 05:59 PM

            Jdwdeville -- Thanks for the advice on the Billecart. Ended up choosing the Philipponnat at Wally's, but just found and the 1998 Billecart Rose in Chicago for less money than Wally's was selling the 2000 and 1 ordered it, as 1998 was supposed to be a far better vintage than 2000. Unfortunately, there is not a single bottle of the 1996 currently available at retail in the U.S.

          2. re: omotosando
            f
            foodiemahoodie Oct 29, 2011 08:03 PM

            I see it as some kind of comedy of manners conundrum. But it should have been written down someplace. That's the most polite way I can think of.

            Anyone else want to weigh in appropriate protocol here?

            1. re: omotosando
              j
              JudiAU Nov 1, 2011 10:53 AM

              omotosando- I really enjoyed the Krug. It is a delicous wine. But I prefer the Cuvee Elisabeth and I would choose it over the other.

              -----
              Cuvee
              2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067

              1. re: omotosando
                j
                JudiAU Nov 1, 2011 10:55 AM

                Personally, I'd choose the Cuvee Elisabeth which is one of my favorite wines. The Krug is delicious but I prefer the other.

                -----
                Cuvee
                2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067

              2. re: foodiemahoodie
                j
                JudiAU Nov 1, 2011 10:54 AM

                The price was clearly printed on the wine list which we declined. We had already chosen the wine pairing with our meal.

              3. omotosando Oct 28, 2011 09:04 AM

                I'm curious. How was the Krug rose? Was it worth the premium? Were you sipping it and thinking, wow this is so much better than the champagne they served us last time?

                1. j
                  JudiAU Oct 27, 2011 12:04 PM

                  Hum, it looks like Chowhound ate my post yesterday. Dinner was in fact at Spago, as several people guessed.

                  Thanks for all of your similar tales. They did in fact make me feel better.

                  -----
                  Spago
                  176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  1. s
                    smiling ed Oct 25, 2011 05:05 PM

                    Rose Champagne can be pricey Don Ruinert and Krug ect I guess $200 at retail. Chinois on
                    Main has some pricey selections. Years ago at the Scandia I ordered California Lobster and
                    didn,t notice the lb symbol below the price ouch but it was best and biggest lobster I ever had.
                    '

                    -----
                    Chinois
                    2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: smiling ed
                      a
                      Axlsgoddess Oct 25, 2011 07:50 PM

                      So when are you going to reveal the name of the restaurant to these good people? ;)

                      1. re: smiling ed
                        z
                        ZoeZ Oct 26, 2011 12:07 AM

                        I miss Scandia

                      2. j
                        JE33 Oct 25, 2011 02:48 PM

                        Has got to be Spago. You can't win 'em all.

                        -----
                        Spago
                        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: JE33
                          Bob Brooks Oct 25, 2011 03:19 PM

                          Spago wasn't in dinela this year.

                          -----
                          Spago
                          176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                          1. re: Bob Brooks
                            t
                            TracyS Oct 25, 2011 03:36 PM

                            It sure was, and Spago is my guess as well.

                            1. re: TracyS
                              Bob Brooks Oct 25, 2011 04:48 PM

                              Not this year.

                              http://discoverlosangeles.com/restaur...

                              1. re: Bob Brooks
                                WildSwede Oct 25, 2011 05:10 PM

                                I went to Spago this year and ate the DineLA menu. Definitely was DineLA. Sorry.

                                -----
                                Spago
                                176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                1. re: Bob Brooks
                                  n
                                  ns1 Oct 25, 2011 05:13 PM

                                  It appears that Spago was on the DineLA menu from October 2-7. If you search Google still has it on their cache.

                                  Dinner$44*
                                  *Prices exclude alcohol, tax and gratuity
                                  First Course Choices

                                  Heirloom Tomato Soup
                                  with Ricotta Crouton and Confit Cherry Tomatoes
                                  Marinated Arctic Char Glavlax and Micro Mix Green Salad
                                  Mini Buckwheat Blinis with Crème Fraiche
                                  Dungeness Crab Cannelloni
                                  with Baby Calamari and Saffron-Squid Ink Sauce

                                  Second Course Choices

                                  Halibut with Shrimp Mousse in Crispy Shredded Phillo
                                  Ragout of Summer Shelling Beans
                                  Slow Roasted Liberty Duck Breast
                                  Onion Pastilla with Confit Leg, Natural Juice
                                  Slow Braised Short Rib
                                  with Mushroom Ravioli and Caramelized Shallots

                                  Third Course Choices

                                  Caramilk Chocolate Bar
                                  Caramel Milk Chocolate Cream, Ovaltine Ganache, Rice Krispy Chocolate Crunch
                                  Apple Vol Au Vent
                                  Poached Fuji Apples, Pâte Feuilletée, Green Apple Glace
                                  Lime Cheesecake
                                  Bear Lime Gelee, Graham Cracker Toffee, Coconut Puffs

                                  Supplemental Dishes (not included in the menu price)

                                  Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake - Medjool Date Cake, Warm Butterscotch, Tangerine Glace

                                  -----
                                  Fraiche
                                  9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                  Spago
                                  176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                  Green Apple
                                  6256 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                  1. re: ns1
                                    WildSwede Oct 25, 2011 05:19 PM

                                    We went on the 10th.

                                    1. re: WildSwede
                                      n
                                      ns1 Oct 25, 2011 05:23 PM

                                      whoops, you're right. It was on the normal dineLA dates, I just couldn't see the rest of the header.

                                      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com...

                                    2. re: ns1
                                      Bob Brooks Oct 25, 2011 05:26 PM

                                      But...Judi posted on October 24 and said she took her husband to dinner sometime during the week of October 17th... so that would suggest it was during the second week when Spago was no longer participating...

                                      -----
                                      Spago
                                      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                      1. re: Bob Brooks
                                        n
                                        ns1 Oct 25, 2011 05:30 PM

                                        I can only hypothesize that they extended it, as restaurants are known to do.
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593607

                                        Or you can hypothesize that Judi is a liar, your pick. (not a jab at you or anything, but those are pretty much the only 2 options)

                                        1. re: ns1
                                          b
                                          Bert Oct 25, 2011 05:52 PM

                                          Actually, the other option is that JudiAU did NOT go to spago.

                                        2. re: Bob Brooks
                                          t
                                          TracyS Oct 25, 2011 05:45 PM

                                          I went on the 14th for DineLA so Spago definitely participated during the whole period. Maybe your link is for the restaurants that extended past the initial two weeks.

                                          -----
                                          Spago
                                          176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                          1. re: Bob Brooks
                                            goodhealthgourmet Oct 25, 2011 06:24 PM

                                            well, seeing as Spago lists the Krug Brut Rosé on their current menu as a featured pour for $90 per glass, clearly that's where they were.

                                            @Judi, yes, i've made expensive ordering mistakes before. perhaps most notably was the time i spotted one of my favorite 20-year tawny ports on the after-dinner drinks menu and ordered by name without specifying vintage...unfortunately i hadn't noticed the 40-year listed at the bottom. guess which one they brought me and put on the bill? ouch.

                                            -----
                                            Spago
                                            176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                              n
                                              New Trial Oct 26, 2011 12:49 AM

                                              Good grief! DId you at least enjoy it? On the one hand, it is flattering that they recognized that you were a patron with exquisite taste; on the other hand, if they offered more than one vintage, the server ought to have confirmed which you intended. Did you raise a fuss? You know what they say: "Any storm in a port."

                                              1. re: New Trial
                                                goodhealthgourmet Oct 26, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                i did enjoy it, and yes the server should have confirmed, but i was also at fault for not specifying. i was treating a friend to a special birthday dinner, and based on the wine & food i had ordered throughout the meal she must have assumed i wanted the pricier one. i didn't want to make an issue of it in front of my guest so i just tried not to wince too obviously and paid the check.

                                                ironically, an old friend used to be the sommelier for that same restaurant, and i polished off more than my share of open bottles from their wine cellar (he used to bring them home at the end of the night and we'd have at it)...so i guess this was some sort of karmic payback ;)

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                  n
                                                  New Trial Oct 26, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                  Or karmic corkage.

                                                  1. re: New Trial
                                                    goodhealthgourmet Oct 26, 2011 02:12 PM

                                                    brilliant :)

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      n
                                                      New Trial Oct 26, 2011 10:26 PM

                                                      In case you still enjoy port, tonight I saw a 30 year old Graham's Tawny on Jar's after-dinner drink list--only $20.

                                                      -----
                                                      Jar Restaurant
                                                      8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                      1. re: New Trial
                                                        goodhealthgourmet Oct 27, 2011 11:07 AM

                                                        thanks, Graham's happens to be one of my top picks. unfortunately i'm not in LA anymore! feel free to indulge on my behalf next time if it appeals to you...

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                          n
                                                          New Trial Oct 27, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                          Oh no! It seems only recently that you came back out here from the East. Where have you moved to this time?

                                                          Yes, port normally does appeal but just not last night so I will make a point to raise a glass in your honor next time.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                            n
                                                            New Trial Oct 27, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                            Sorry to hear it. I hope everything turns out ok.

                                                            Loved the article--no flies on Frank Bruni!

                                2. f
                                  foodiemahoodie Oct 25, 2011 01:57 AM

                                  Give me a better hint. Otherwise I'm just going to name every expensive restaurant in town.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                    c
                                    carter Oct 25, 2011 08:48 AM

                                    One hint - the place had to be on the DineLA roster, so the Giorgio Baldis, etal at least could be eliminated.

                                    1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                      j
                                      JudiAU Oct 25, 2011 10:23 AM

                                      I am a little woozy thinking that there are so very many restaurants in Los Angeles that one could order a $90 glass fo champagne. Yes, DineLA was the big hint and the other hint was "celebrity treatment."

                                      1. re: JudiAU
                                        The Oracle Oct 25, 2011 10:36 AM

                                        Scarpetta?

                                        1. re: JudiAU
                                          c
                                          carter Oct 25, 2011 06:17 PM

                                          Valentino, the Palm in Weho, Spago.

                                      2. n
                                        New Trial Oct 25, 2011 12:24 AM

                                        Spago, I would think--where both the champagne and the dessert are charged by the Yard.

                                        Some years ago, I took a first date to an Italian restaurant on South Beverly and we ordered the special lobster salad appetizer without asking the price (hey, it was a date). One, small, salad was more than both entrees combined.

                                        -----
                                        Spago
                                        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                        1. Bob Brooks Oct 24, 2011 05:25 PM

                                          Valentino? When I was a very young man (23ish) and thought I knew way more about wine than I did. I ordered a bottle of white Bordeau for a main course of sole amandine. It was a Chateau Rieussec. I was too embarrassed to admit to my date that I had made a mistake, so I just choked it down pretending that this was exactly what I'd meant to order. I've since learned to love the wines of Sauternes, but still not with filet of sole.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Bob Brooks
                                            j
                                            JudiAU Oct 25, 2011 10:36 AM

                                            Oh, I can see that. White Bordeaux is always tricky. 5-6 years ago a white bordeaux was suggested to me at Du Vin as a pairing for some rabbit sausage I make. Perfect pairing. I've always kept a few bottles on hand and I cannot tell you the number of times it has disconcerted, flummoxed, and otherwise discomfited people.

                                            Ah. And I forget to mention that the champagne in question was Krug Rose. So you see if I had thought *at all* about it I would have guessed the correct price. But in the past, they've offerred Laurent Perrier Rose (non vintage) at around $35 or 45 and in the more distant past it was Billecart-Salmon Rose (non vintage) and I just calculated past experience + prestige house + rose.

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