Customer's Request For a Wine Recommendation Gets Him Into Trouble

New Jersey resident Joe Lentini learned the hard way that it’s important to have clarity when ordering wine. In 2014, Lentini went to Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City, where he was encouraged to select a wine. Not having much experience in ordering wine, he asked his server if she could recommend something. She pointed to a bottle on the menu and Joe, who didn’t have his glasses with him, asked how much it was. “Thirty-seven-fifty” was the server’s response, which to Joe meant it would cost him $37.50 for the bottle. Everyone at the table agreed to the price and the wine was ordered. It turned out that the bottle of Screaming Eagle Oakville 2011 wine that the server recommended wasn’t $37.50 — it was $3,750, one of the priciest wines on the 24-page menu. With appetizers, a seafood tower, lamb chops and two New York Strip Steaks, the total bill ended up being $4,700. The maitre d’ was called over and he said he could bring the cost of the wine down to $2,200. Though Lentini said he couldn’t afford that price either, the other diners agreed to split the bill so they could leave. The restaurant explained that they had done nothing wrong, and both the server and sommelier verified the bottle requested by Lentini. As for whether it was worth it, Lentini said it was “Ok…..not great, not terrible, it was fine.” The lesson Lentini learned is that in the future he should order from the “Top 50 under $50” section on the wine list.