A young couple enjoying a meal at New York City‘s Balthazar restaurant could not believe their luck when they learned that a waiter mistakenly served them A $2,000 Bordeaux instead of the $18 wine they had ordered.
Restaurateur Keith McNally, the owner of the upscale SoHo eatery, shared the anecdote about the costly beverage mixup on his Instagram account this week.
It is unclear when the grape gaffe took place. Balthazar closed in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic and remained shuttered as of Friday.
Grape surprise! A couple dining at Balthazar in New York one night were mistakenly served a $2,000-a-bottle Chateau Mouton Rothschild instead of the $18 bottle of Pinot Noir they had ordered
The snafu happened when two mangers at the upscale eatery in Manhattan poured the expensive wine intended for a group of businessmen and the cheap wine ordered by a young couple into identical decanters
McNally, whose culinary empire also includes such fashionable establishments as Minetta Tavern and Pastis in New York City, recounted that the incident began unfolding one night when four Wall Street businessmen ordered Balthazar’s most expensive red wine: a $2,000 bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
According to the owner’s post, one of the eatery’s two managers poured the high-priced wine into a decanter at a waiter’s station.
‘Simultaneously, a young couple ordered the restaurant’s cheapest red wine, a $18 Pinot Noir, which they wanted pouring into a decanter,’ McNally wrote. ‘These two very different wines were now in identical decanters.’
When the first manager returned to the waiter’s station, he inadvertently picked up the decanter containing the cheap wine and ‘formally’ poured it for the businessmen instead of the $2,000 Bordeaux.
Balthazar owner Keith McNally shared the delightful vignette about his employees’ costly error on his Instagram page this week
‘According to the manager, the host considered himself a wine connoisseur, and showing off to his guests, tasted the cheap wine before bursting into raptures about its “purity,”‘. the owner revealed.
Meanwhile, the couple who ordered the $18 Pinot were mistakenly served the $2,000 Mouton Rothschild.
‘On taking their first sips of what they believed was cheap wine, they jokingly pretended to be drinking an expensive wine and parodied all the mannerisms of a wine snob,’ according to McNally.
Five minutes later, the two managers discovered the misunderstanding and, ‘horrified,’ called McNally at home, prompting him to rush to the restaurant to set the matter straight.
Seeing the businessmen’s celebratory mood that was ‘clearly enhanced by the wine they had mistakenly thought was the restaurant’s most expensive,’ McNally said he found himself on the horns of a dilemma: ‘whether to come clean and admit the manager’s mistake, or allow [the host] to continue drinking the cheap wine in blissful ignorance.’
In the end, McNally came clean to both parties and allowed everyone to enjoy the $2,000 red wine on his dime
The owner reasoned that ‘taking the latter route would certainly be the easiest. Also the cheapest. It was unthinkable at this point to pull the real Bordeaux from the young couple’s table. Besides, they were having too much fun acting out drinking a $2,000 bottle of wine.’
In the end, McNally decided to come clean about the mistake to both parties.
‘The Wall St. businessman responded by saying, “I THOUGHT that wasn’t a Mouton Rothschild!” The others at the table nodded their heads in servile agreement.
Meanwhile, the young couple were ‘ecstatic’ by the restaurant’s snafu, and gushed to McNally that it was like the bank making an error in their favor.
‘The trouble was, it was me who was down $2000, not the bank,’ the restaurateur noted in his post. ‘Both parties left Balthazar happy that night, but the younger of the two left happier.’