Man orders 'thirty-seven-fifty' bottle of wine, is given bill for $3,750

Joe Lentini found out the importance of reading the wine list the hard way

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The Independent US

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 "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”.

"[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."