This from a reader of Nosh:
The guy came to Loulay and sat in the bar to join colleagues and clients for a work schmooze. He was busy and engaged with his people, so when the waiter came to take his order he absently asked if they had a cabernet by the glass, which they did, so he ordered it.
Before the evening was through, he ordered another, along with an appetizer to share among his associates.
After graciously separating out the drinks onto each tab, the waiter laid down the checks. Our guy’s total: $75.
Turns out the one by-the-glass cab was $25. For a three-ounce pour. “That is, by anyone’s measure, an expensive glass of wine,” he told me. “I guess I feel like that might have warranted a heads-up from the waiter when I ordered it, no?”
On the other hand, the wine list was right there on the table for him to consult. Furthermore, no waiter in that position wants to potentially embarrass a guest in front of his colleagues by giving him a warning about an expensive wine.
On the other hand—this diner was visibly distracted, and part of any waiter’s job is to meet diners where they are. There are ways for servers to discreetly alert a diner to a price, from showing him the entry on the wine list (“Will this one be okay?”) to verbally finessing a warning, like “We only have one cab, the blahblahblah label at $25 for three ounces.” Either would have provided a face-saving out. If put off by the price, he could’ve acted like it was the label he objected to.
Instead, our guy produced his Visa, paid his tab…and learned a lesson.
Who was wrong? Discuss.