Haute Dish - eat at the bar.
We ate at the bar at Haute Dish and had a terrific meal.
The bread was great.
The wedge salad and the grilled romaine salads were very very good.
Mac & Cheese (with crab) and the Char Cut plate (I asked for and got bread along with crackers) were also very very good.
For mains we had Tater Tot Haute Dish and General Tso's Sweetbreads.
The sweetbreads were amazing. Just simply amazing. They are a small portion, which is good because they're ridiculously rich. They come on top of the best fried rice I've ever had. The egg in the fried rice is tender and delicious. The round slice of poach foie gras was extremely good but perhaps overkill in this dish given the egg and the sweetbreads. It's like soft unctuous protein triple-threat.
The Tater-Tots were good. I didn't really dip into that plate because I was getting really really full.
I liked the wine list. I thought it presented interesting wines at reasonable price-points.
The bartender was friendly, attentive, not intrusive and he knew the food.
Tax, tips and drinks and we're out the door for $65 / person.
I'm glad you had a great meal. I enjoyed Haute Dish in the past as well.
But their wine list is DEFINITELY not interesting wines nor is it at reasonable price-points. These are your typical bottles at the typical 3X + markup. Guigal Gigondas for $48 and you can buy it at a liquor store for $15. Ferrari Carono fume blanc for $36 and it's available all over town for $10 - 11. Argyle Brut for $75 and that is a $20 wine. Their cheapest bottle is Cristalino Cava which is a cheap crappy sparkling wine normally sold for $6 and they're charging $28. I'm pretty sure you can find every bottle on their wine list at Costco.
I think you're conflating the Guigal Gigondas (usually $25-$30 in stores) with Guigal Cotes du Rhone (usually $12-$15 in stores). $25 > $48 is, in my view, a reasonable markup for a restaurant.
Using the time-honored 2nd cheapest selection on the list is usually the best bet, absent other information, I'd pick the following...
Red: Malbec Piattelli Vineyards ‘09 Mendoza Argentina 32
White: Gewurztraminer Wolf ‘10 Pfalz Germany 32 or Chenin Blanc Simonsig ‘11 South Africa 32
Sparkling: Durello Dama Del Rovere Sumante ‘07 Italy 42
Me? I just had a couple of pints of Surly Bender for $6. Sure I can get it for $2.50 at a store, but that's not the point of going to a restaurant.
On reflection, my only critique is more a self-criticism. I ate too much high-fat food and felt like crap from about midnight to about 4 am.
Online, you can find lots of retailers selling Guigal Gigondas for $15.
There are a few places that either look at the wine list as a moneymaker or an afterthought (meaning not matched to the cuisine). Bar La Grassa, unfortunately, seems to have one that is both. Love their food, but the list is atrocious. The former Aquavit used to have one that didn't go with their food at all. Bachelor Farmer and Heartland, however, both have obviously given a lot of thought to their lists.
I know the feeling, especially if you washed it down with 2 pints of beer. At least they had the beer on tap, so it was a better experience than drinking a can at home.
You're right, I was thinking of the Guigal cote de Rhone. Still, there is nothing on their wine list that I would order at those prices. That is a COMMON problem at restaurants - they look at their wine list with dollar signs in their eyes. Most people do not know enough about wine to realize how much they're getting screwed. Restaurants will often bring in obscure wines intentionally to further this. Anyway, Haute Dish is a nice restaurant, and has a lot of things going for it. But I think their wine list is very typical and I would probably order beer if I went there.