Paying the bill is always the least enjoyable part of dining out at restaurants – particularly at more expensive venues.
But for one man, settling the bill must have been an excruciating experiencing when he was charged $3,750 (£2,368) for a bottle of wine he thought cost just $37.50.
Joe Lentini said he was furious when he received the hefty check at the Bobby Flay Steak restaurant, a part of the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, in Atlantic City. Mr Lentini, who says he is not a big drinker, claims he was told by the host of the dinner – who was paying for the meal – to choose a bottle for the table.
"I don't know much about wine at all," Mr Lentini told NJ.com. "I asked the waitress if she could recommend something decent because I don't have experience with wine. She pointed to a bottle on the menu. I didn't have my glasses. I asked how much and she said 'thirty-seven fifty’."
Mr Lentini said those drinking at the table agreed to the price and the wine was ordered. The corked bottle was presented and the wine steward offered him a sample, which he tasted and approved. But when the $4,700.61 bill eventually turned up, Mr Lentini and his fellow diners "all had a heart attack”.
10 best ports and madeiras
10 best ports and madeiras
1/10 Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port
Mellowed in seasoned oak casks this tawny port has a rich and nutty aroma with lasting and mature fruit flavours. Enjoy it slightly chilled at the end of a meal with sweet, fruity puds. 75cl £20, waitrose.com
2/10 Croft Pink Port
Just to prove that port’s not all old buffers and gentlemen’s clubs, here’s a sprightly pink number you can enjoy on ice. Fresh, vibrant and sweet with oodles of raspberry and cherry flavour. 75cl £9.54, thedrinkshop.com
3/10 Blandy’s 1996 Colheita Malmsey
Shakespeare had the Duke of Clarence drowned in a butt of Malmsey, which seems waste for this single harvest Madeira made from grapes harvested in a given year and then aged in the cask to produce a superbly rich and spicy wine with flavours of candied fruits, caramel and honey. 50cl £41, farehamwinecellar
4/10 Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 1996
This vintage port with its flavours of plum and cherry and a spicy aromatic background ages in the bottle, which should be stored horizontally like wine and then decanted before drinking. 75cl £26.65, thewhiskyexchange.com
5/10 Quady’s Batch 88 Starboard
Well, here’s a cheeky little interloper. Starboard comes from California where it’s produced using the same grape varieties and similar methods to those in the Douro. It can’t call itself port, so goes for the next best. Sweet and voluptuous. 75cl £17.99, amazon.co.uk
6/10 Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port
First introduced n 1969 by one the great names in port and a deserved bestseller. Deep red in colour with a lovely plum and strawberry aroma and a velvety, red berry finish. 75cl £12, ocado.com
7/10 Taylor’s Chip Dry Port
White port’s always a treat and this extra dry number sourced from the Douro hills is a smasher. Crisp, with fruit fragrances and hints of oak, it can be enjoyed, chilled, on its own with olives or roasted almonds or topped up with tonic. 75cl £13.29, waitrosecellar.com
8/10 H&H 15 Year Old Verdelho Madeira
Henriques & Henriques are traditional producers of this island’s famous fortified wine and this complex and medium-dry Madeira has a luxurious but vibrant aroma with flavours of figs, dried fruits, caramel and nuts. 50cl £20.99, waitrosecellar.com
9/10 Graham’s 2001 Quinta Dos Malvedos Vintage Port
A powerful and rich traditional port from one of the finest vineyards in the Douro and a shoo-in for this year’s Christmas lunch. A deep ruby colour with floral scents and a powerful and concentrated fruity finish. 75cl £34.49, amazon.co.uk
10/10 Sandeman 20 Years Old Tawny
Blended from wines aged between 15- and 40-years-old and matured in oak casks, this splendid tawny port elegantly combines flavours of honey, nuts, vanilla and dried fruits. Serve slightly chilled. 75cl £35, amazon.co.uk
"[The host] was sitting across from me and he handed the bill to person next to him, who handed it to the next person until it got to me," he said. "I showed the gentleman next to me and we were shocked. We couldn't believe it."
They immediately disputed the cost of the Screaming Eagle Oakville 2011 wine with the waitress, who refused to budge on their payment. After much wrangling over the cost, he said the restaurant would only reduce the final bill to $2,000, which he had to split between two others before leaving.
Borgata said it conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and believe the correct prodecure was followed. "As the leading culinary destination in this region, we consistently serve as many, if not more high-end wine and spirits without incident," executive vice president Joseph Lupo said. "In this isolated case, both the server and sommelier verified the bottle requested with the patron."
And Mr Lentini’s opinion of the $3,750 wine? “It was okay. It was good. It wasn't great. It wasn't terrible. It was fine."Reuse content