Misheard wine price costs diners $4k

Diners at a New Jersey restaurant were left with a bitter taste in their mouths when a waitress’s garbled recommendation left them with a $4k wine bill.

The guests thought that the wine was $37.50, but it was actually $3,750 (Photo: Public-Domain-Images)

The guests thought that the wine was $37.50, but it was actually $3,750 (Photo: Public-Domain-Images)

We often call the dinner bill “the damage” – but this shock of a surcharge can only be described as “the car-crash”.

Because for one group of customers at a high-end Atlantic City restaurant, a simple grammatical quirk meant the cost of the wine for their meal was 100 times higher than they expected.

The scene was Bobby Flay Steak at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in the New Jersey city, and the diners were Joe Lentini and his business associates expecting a good – but not extortionate – power dinner.

Speaking to NJ.comLentini told how he, not being the host but an esteemed guest, was the man tasked with choosing the booze for their meal.

“I asked the waitress if she could recommend something decent because I don’t have experience with wine,” Lentini said.

“She pointed to a bottle on the menu. I didn’t have my glasses. I asked how much and she said, “Thirty-seven fifty.””

And it was this utterance that proved to be the clincher, as what the sommelier actually meant was “three thousand seven hundred and fifty”.

A taste of the wine was served for him to sample. He approved, and the bottle was placed on the table.

“It was okay. It was good,” Lentini said of the wine. “It wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible. It was fine.”

It turned out that the wine they had ordered was a $3,750 bottle of Screaming Eagle (Photo: db)

The wine they had ordered was a $3,750 bottle of Screaming Eagle (Photo: db)

It turns out that that this “okay” wine was a bottle of 2011 Screaming Eagle – a Californian red with a cult following that commands top dollar prices.

When the bill was presented, and a discount down to $2,200 for the wine was permitted by the defensive management, the guests agreed to split the cost of the pricey pour.

The restaurant is resolute: “We simply will not allow the threat of a negative story that includes so many unaccounted and questionable statements to disparage our integrity and standards, which Borgata takes great pride in practicing every day.”

They say that every effort was made to make sure that the guests knew what wine was being served.

It’s now up to Lentini and his guests to learn not to let a waffling waitress confuse their choice again.

“I’m going to ask for the wine list. I want to know exactly what I’m ordering,” he said.

3 Responses to “Misheard wine price costs diners $4k”

  1. missy says:

    A little unsultry advice: next time, keep your glasses on.

  2. Remie says:

    Know your wines. Otherwise, don’t be a hero and select the wine for a “power” meal, where high-rollers congregate.

  3. yuri says:

    No wine is worth 3.750, at least not if someone is gonna drink it.
    If you’re not a seasoned sommelier (and even then!) i guarantee you, you’ll never be able to select it from 12 wines under $100 in a blind test !!

    If someone tells you thirtyseven fifty, you may assume it is 37,50.
    A waiter/waitress serving such an extravagantly priced wine should be clear about the price & might wanna make sure there’s no mistake.

    Bottom line: never eat in a restaurant that selects its wines on price instead of merit. There’s absolutely no reason to spend such amounts, even when you like an extraordinary wine.

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