One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

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Mark Golodetz
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One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#1 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 24th, 2020, 3:52 pm

I am in the middle of putting together a 1998 Pomerol lunch. Nine Pomerols plus a few complementary wines to make up a dozen. Looking for a private or semi private room, and decided to look at one of New York’s original French restaurants, La Grenouille. A sommelier friend will decant, so all the restaurant needs to do is to provide glassware and a spit bucket. But said services will cost $150 per bottle. Throw in a magnum of Champagne ($300) and the corkage fee comes to $2100.

I have to say I nearly fell off my chair, and I am afraid I started to laugh. I do hope La Grenouille has a loyal clientele, and they can afford to lose a dozen people for a Friday lunch, many of whom have never been there. Of course they can charge what they like, but can’t think of a less welcoming policy.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#2 Post by Jason T » February 24th, 2020, 4:01 pm

Ouch. Some restaurants get it. This one, clearly not.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#3 Post by Chris Seiber » February 24th, 2020, 4:12 pm

Some restaurants design high corkage fees, escalating corkage fees and/or per-table limits just for the purpose of discouraging these kinds of wine group offlines.

I'm not defending it (though of course it's entirely their right), nor do I really understand it, but I think some restaurants just don't like having this kind of event taking place in their restaurant. Maybe they had a few bad experiences with that kind of group, maybe they don't want the look and vibe of that in the restaurant, whatever.

I find it puzzling, but, like Mark, I just kind of laugh and take my business somewhere that wants it. Fortunately, in California at least, there are usually plenty of those.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#4 Post by RichardFlack » February 24th, 2020, 4:29 pm

You would think they would be keen to attract this sort of qualified clientele.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#5 Post by Kelly Walker » February 24th, 2020, 4:47 pm

Old school Upper-East-Sider kind of haunt. I put them in the same category as Nello.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#6 Post by Hal Blumberg » February 24th, 2020, 4:54 pm

Sometimes you kiss a frog and it stays a frog :)

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#7 Post by TerryD » February 24th, 2020, 6:07 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 4:12 pm
Some restaurants design high corkage fees, escalating corkage fees and/or per-table limits just for the purpose of discouraging these kinds of wine group offlines.

I'm not defending it (though of course it's entirely their right), nor do I really understand it, but I think some restaurants just don't like having this kind of event taking place in their restaurant. Maybe they had a few bad experiences with that kind of group, maybe they don't want the look and vibe of that in the restaurant, whatever.

I find it puzzling, but, like Mark, I just kind of laugh and take my business somewhere that wants it. Fortunately, in California at least, there are usually plenty of those.
Nice post and have been with a regular tasting group for over a year that has already run into this issue (not on the level on OP). Would is it a staffing thing as well?
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#8 Post by R. Frankel » February 24th, 2020, 6:20 pm

This is a very common problem in San Francisco - just not many spaces that work for a group wine dinner, and even fewer that want us there. Some block events with a very high minimum or escalating corkage, some just say no. My guess is that the restaurants are in general over crowded and just don’t need the business. Happily there are a handful of restaurants that welcome us (especially if we are going on a Monday or Tuesday, historically slow nights). We visit these frequently!
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#9 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 24th, 2020, 7:41 pm

Hal Blumberg wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 4:54 pm
Sometimes you kiss a frog and it stays a frog :)

Cheers,

Hal
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#10 Post by D. HEIN » February 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm

It appears your event was unwelcome, certainly NOT a diplomatic "NO"!

Perhaps, Mark, you could recommend a charm school for their continuing education!

'98 Pomerol, great tasting!
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#11 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 25th, 2020, 6:24 am

I would prefer a restaurant to say there is no corkage. This is just insulting, but apparently the restaurant is proud of its wine list.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#12 Post by Corey N. » February 25th, 2020, 7:26 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 6:24 am
I would prefer a restaurant to say there is no corkage. This is just insulting, but apparently the restaurant is proud of its wine list.
But there is corkage, it's just not something you would want to pay. Almost certainly, if you were to order the same bottles off a traditional restaurant wine list, the restaurant would receive a profit in excess of $150/bottle (resataurant wine list pricing is a wholly separate topic). So while I wouldn't want to have a wine event there, from the restaurant's point of view, it is "logical" if not particularly welcoming, especially when you factor in that they almost certainly will not turn your table at lunch because the wine lunch will go on for several hours.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#13 Post by scamhi » February 25th, 2020, 7:57 am

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#14 Post by Alex N » February 25th, 2020, 8:32 am

Broken down, that's ~$12.50 per glass per person with wine service by a somm and I'm guessing a decanter for some of those wines, and a spit bucket. Plus someone will hand wash those delicate glasses.
If the restaurant is busy enough to pack those 12 seats with asses on Friday and sell wine from the list (or charge corkage) it seems to make perfect sense.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#15 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 25th, 2020, 8:47 am

Alex N wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 8:32 am
Broken down, that's ~$12.50 per glass per person with wine service by a somm and I'm guessing a decanter for some of those wines, and a spit bucket. Plus someone will hand wash those delicate glasses.
If the restaurant is busy enough to pack those 12 seats with asses on Friday and sell wine from the list (or charge corkage) it seems to make perfect sense.
Seems highly unlikely they're selling that much wine on a Friday lunch to make that a good exchange. Seems like it could be more a rigid adherence to the established pricing structure without actually considering the economics. Never know though.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#16 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 25th, 2020, 9:42 am

Friday lunch after Memorial Day is basically dead.

A few thoughts. A friend is in charge of decanting ( a couple of the more backward wines will probably be double decanted before we leave). We will probably be bringing our own decanters.

A couple of friends will be pouring, so the total amount of work is providing and polishing 36 glasses and three spit buckets. For convenience, I am assigning $50 per bucket which means each glass is $51.88. Assuming that one can wash and polish said glasses in two hours, the restaurant is making over $900 an hour for polishing glasses.

Not bad for a dead lunch period.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#17 Post by Neal.Mollen » February 25th, 2020, 12:15 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 6:24 am
I would prefer a restaurant to say there is no corkage. This is just insulting, but apparently the restaurant is proud of its wine list.
Yeah, that's what I don't get. A restaurant has every right to refuse corkage, and has every right to say no to big wine dinners even where corkage is allowed. The latter is more understandable to me than the former, but in either event, it is the restaurant's call. But why they don't just say "no" is a mystery. Who is going to pay that?
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#18 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 25th, 2020, 1:40 pm

The most nonsensical corkage story I experienced was at EMP years ago under the Danny Meyer regime, and when Daniel Humm was cooking there. At the time, you were allowed to bring X number of bottles, after which you had to pay an additional "dedicated sommelier fee." Maybe $300? Don't recall exactly. Okay, we got it - John Regan was the somm at the time and very good, lots of work for the restaurant, etc.

So we followed the rules, brought the correct number of bottles, and also bought a $1500 bottle of the list.

When dinner was over, and very good, one diner pulled a 375 of very old Yquem out of his bag - I think from the 20's. We asked politely if we could open it ourselves, use the glasses we already had on the table and pour a small glass each. The answer was a firm "yes, but then you'd have to pay the "dedicated sommelier fee."

So we'd, what, retroactively get a dedicated sommelier for the evening?

They were in the right to want to enforce their policy, but it made zero sense under the circumstances.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#19 Post by Nathan Smyth » February 25th, 2020, 1:46 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 4:12 pm
some restaurants just don't like having this kind of event taking place in their restaurant. Maybe they had a few bad experiences with that kind of group...
That's what I've been told by people ITB - that most restaurants loathe the wine snobs - and given some of the shockingly anti-social behavior I've seen out of certain wine snobs, I can completely understand the sentiment.

PS: Opening 1998 Pomerol in 2020 is pure rank infanticide.

Although I suppose you could argue that the infants will be sound asleep, so maybe they won't have to suffer through the pain of it.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#20 Post by Nathan V. » February 25th, 2020, 1:59 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 12:15 pm
Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 6:24 am
I would prefer a restaurant to say there is no corkage. This is just insulting, but apparently the restaurant is proud of its wine list.
Yeah, that's what I don't get. A restaurant has every right to refuse corkage, and has every right to say no to big wine dinners even where corkage is allowed. The latter is more understandable to me than the former, but in either event, it is the restaurant's call. But why they don't just say "no" is a mystery. Who is going to pay that?
I get it. They want to insure that people aren't casually bringing wine. You have to really want to open that special bottle to pay $150 corkage. If you are bringing a bottle of 1998 Trotanoy it is much cheaper to pay $150 than purchase off the list, I bet.

They probably don't want to have these kinds of events which is fair enough. There are plenty of places that do.

I'm interested to see the results. We did a broader (and I'm sure lower end) 1998 revisited dinner a couple years ago and there were a couple of real surprises.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#21 Post by Brandon R » February 25th, 2020, 2:05 pm

What would be the margin on the food served to such a lunch? I'd imagine not much, and almost certainly swallowed by the compensation paid to the cooks and servers.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#22 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 25th, 2020, 2:07 pm

Re infanticide

Lafleur and Trotanoy are the two backward wines I was referring to earlier, that we will probably decant at home before the lunch. But they were both showing a slightly more civilized side when we tried them last year. Not sure about Petrus; anyone tasted recently? The rest seemed in quite a happy place lately.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#23 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 25th, 2020, 2:12 pm

Grenouille is famous for its price fixe lunch menu being one of the highest in NY. It is around $85 plus a lot of surcharges. Wine list is indeed good and very but not ultra expensive. The Dover Sole is excellent. To be honest, I have only had that and the French Onion soup on the two occasions I was there.

We will probably net out at around $175 including corkage, tax and service.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#24 Post by Jeff Leve » February 25th, 2020, 2:23 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 1:46 pm

PS: Opening 1998 Pomerol in 2020 is pure rank infanticide.

Although I suppose you could argue that the infants will be sound asleep, so maybe they won't have to suffer through the pain of it.
That had to be one of the lamest comments I’ve read I ages. Are you serious? Other than Lafleur, Petrus and Trotanoy, (And those are close) every Pomerol is ready for prime time drinking. These wines are 22 years old. How long do you think these wines age for ?🤔

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#25 Post by Chris Seiber » February 25th, 2020, 2:57 pm

Brandon R wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 2:05 pm
What would be the margin on the food served to such a lunch? I'd imagine not much, and almost certainly swallowed by the compensation paid to the cooks and servers.
But if Mark and his friends were non-drinkers, the restaurant would happily welcome them to come dine there and drink lemonade and sparkling water. I'll bet a substantial percentage of the people eating lunch there aren't ordering expensive wine and cocktails with their meal.

So I think when restaurants say "we can't let you bring wines and pay corkage, we need to sell wines," that rings pretty hollow. Again, I think that's part of the "what they tell you to justify it" part, whereas the "real reason" part is that they just don't like having wine tasting groups there for whatever their reasons.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#26 Post by Alan Rath » February 25th, 2020, 3:23 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 2:57 pm
Brandon R wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 2:05 pm
What would be the margin on the food served to such a lunch? I'd imagine not much, and almost certainly swallowed by the compensation paid to the cooks and servers.
But if Mark and his friends were non-drinkers, the restaurant would happily welcome them to come dine there and drink lemonade and sparkling water. I'll bet a substantial percentage of the people eating lunch there aren't ordering expensive wine and cocktails with their meal.

So I think when restaurants say "we can't let you bring wines and pay corkage, we need to sell wines," that rings pretty hollow. Again, I think that's part of the "what they tell you to justify it" part, whereas the "real reason" part is that they just don't like having wine tasting groups there for whatever their reasons.
I think the group should plan its lunch somewhere else, but go here another time, eat but drink nothing but water [wow.gif]
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#27 Post by Chris Seiber » February 25th, 2020, 3:30 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 3:23 pm
Chris Seiber wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 2:57 pm

I think the group should plan its lunch somewhere else, but go here another time, eat but drink nothing but water [wow.gif]
Stop for pizza or something beforehand, then just order some side salads as their entrees.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#28 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 25th, 2020, 3:57 pm

I love this restaurant, both for the food and the ambiance. Diane Kessler and I went there perhaps 5-7 years ago, and the corkage was $80. For 2 people bringing one bottle worth well more than $80, it became a no brainer. When they realized I was ITB, they poured us a nice Champagne on the house.

My guess is that a large party of "wine snobs" is not something they encourage. The restaurant has been there forever, and to my knowledge, has no difficulty filling the seats.

I would look elsewhere for a place who is anxious to serve you.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#29 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 26th, 2020, 4:00 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 3:57 pm
I love this restaurant, both for the food and the ambiance. Diane Kessler and I went there perhaps 5-7 years ago, and the corkage was $80. For 2 people bringing one bottle worth well more than $80, it became a no brainer. When they realized I was ITB, they poured us a nice Champagne on the house.

My guess is that a large party of "wine snobs" is not something they encourage. The restaurant has been there forever, and to my knowledge, has no difficulty filling the seats.

I would look elsewhere for a place who is anxious to serve you.
“Wine snobs”? That is somewhat dismissive and very insulting. The dinners are carefully put together and require a lot of time to organize. Many of the wines are sourced from Europe, which means extra work. We choose times when the restaurant is unlikely to be busy to minimize any disruption.

We are easygoing and friendly, we tip well, and if the staff is interested, we are happy to share some of the wine. Not sure where the “wine snobs” comment comes from, but if it reflects your experience, I think you may be in the wrong profession.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#30 Post by Jeff Vaughan » February 26th, 2020, 4:51 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 4:00 am

We are easygoing and friendly, we tip well, and if the staff is interested, we are happy to share some of the wine.
That describes my wife and me, but we would freely admit we are "wine snobs". Me more than her, actually. I think most of the people here on this board would be considered that from, the average Cavit Pinot Grigio drinker or person who won't pay more than $8 or $10 for a magnum of wine.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#31 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 26th, 2020, 5:02 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 4:00 am
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 3:57 pm
I love this restaurant, both for the food and the ambiance. Diane Kessler and I went there perhaps 5-7 years ago, and the corkage was $80. For 2 people bringing one bottle worth well more than $80, it became a no brainer. When they realized I was ITB, they poured us a nice Champagne on the house.

My guess is that a large party of "wine snobs" is not something they encourage. The restaurant has been there forever, and to my knowledge, has no difficulty filling the seats.

I would look elsewhere for a place who is anxious to serve you.
“Wine snobs”? That is somewhat dismissive and very insulting. The dinners are carefully put together and require a lot of time to organize. Many of the wines are sourced from Europe, which means extra work. We choose times when the restaurant is unlikely to be busy to minimize any disruption.

We are easygoing and friendly, we tip well, and if the staff is interested, we are happy to share some of the wine. Not sure where the “wine snobs” comment comes from, but if it reflects your experience, I think you may be in the wrong profession.
Mark, she is quoting Nathan in post #19 - thus the quotation marks. I thought it was clear the choice of words was meant to be tongue in cheek, but if you choose to take it literally, at least go at the original user.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#32 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 26th, 2020, 5:12 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 5:02 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 4:00 am
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 3:57 pm
I love this restaurant, both for the food and the ambiance. Diane Kessler and I went there perhaps 5-7 years ago, and the corkage was $80. For 2 people bringing one bottle worth well more than $80, it became a no brainer. When they realized I was ITB, they poured us a nice Champagne on the house.

My guess is that a large party of "wine snobs" is not something they encourage. The restaurant has been there forever, and to my knowledge, has no difficulty filling the seats.

I would look elsewhere for a place who is anxious to serve you.
“Wine snobs”? That is somewhat dismissive and very insulting. The dinners are carefully put together and require a lot of time to organize. Many of the wines are sourced from Europe, which means extra work. We choose times when the restaurant is unlikely to be busy to minimize any disruption.

We are easygoing and friendly, we tip well, and if the staff is interested, we are happy to share some of the wine. Not sure where the “wine snobs” comment comes from, but if it reflects your experience, I think you may be in the wrong profession.
Mark, she is quoting Nathan in post #19 - thus the quotation marks. I thought it was clear the choice of words was meant to be tongue in cheek, but if you choose to take it literally, at least go at the original user.
I did not get “tongue in cheek” from Merrill at all. And somehow it came across as being unnecessarily snotty, especially as it was coupled with finding another restaurant “anxious to serve” us.

But you are right, I should share the abuse with Nathan. Nathan, you are hereby abused.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#33 Post by Carlos Delpin » February 26th, 2020, 5:45 am

Mark, bring your group to Puerto Rico. You can have your dinner at a world class restaurant for $125 all in including plenty of smiles. We can even add a few 98s into the deal.

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#34 Post by Ramon C » February 26th, 2020, 6:15 am

La Grenouille is simply playing along the space with other top local French that discourage byob (as far as I know, Le Bernardin and Daniel up-front disallow), while others charge northward of $100 per bottle (Le Coucou, Batard).

Could be tough to do large group off lines at these types of NYC establishments without paying up or otherwise look for lower end alternatives.

Of course, it could be a different corkage experience if one knows the secret handshake with the management/owners.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#35 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 26th, 2020, 6:25 am

I would never put Grenouille in the same category as Bernardin and Daniel.

Not sure about the other two, but we used to have a great time at Batard’s previous incarnation, Montrachet. I am trying to keep this in Midtown or north; and we do have a great venue.
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#36 Post by Ramon C » February 26th, 2020, 6:28 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 6:25 am
I would never put Grenouille in the same category as Bernardin and Daniel.
Neither would I. I just presumed that they think should play along the same space.
@brera

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Mark Golodetz
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#37 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 26th, 2020, 6:50 am

To quote Terence Rattigan then,
“Il a les idees au dessus de sa gare”
ITB

ybarselah
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#38 Post by ybarselah » February 26th, 2020, 8:38 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 1:40 pm
The most nonsensical corkage story I experienced was at EMP years ago under the Danny Meyer regime, and when Daniel Humm was cooking there. At the time, you were allowed to bring X number of bottles, after which you had to pay an additional "dedicated sommelier fee." Maybe $300? Don't recall exactly. Okay, we got it - John Regan was the somm at the time and very good, lots of work for the restaurant, etc.

So we followed the rules, brought the correct number of bottles, and also bought a $1500 bottle of the list.

When dinner was over, and very good, one diner pulled a 375 of very old Yquem out of his bag - I think from the 20's. We asked politely if we could open it ourselves, use the glasses we already had on the table and pour a small glass each. The answer was a firm "yes, but then you'd have to pay the "dedicated sommelier fee."

So we'd, what, retroactively get a dedicated sommelier for the evening?

They were in the right to want to enforce their policy, but it made zero sense under the circumstances.
i love this story so much because so much of DM's ethos is ensuring that his staff finds a way to say "Yes" to their diners - sounds like they followed orders quite well!! insanity.
Yaacov (ITB)

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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#39 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » February 26th, 2020, 8:43 am

ybarselah wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 8:38 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 1:40 pm
The most nonsensical corkage story I experienced was at EMP years ago under the Danny Meyer regime, and when Daniel Humm was cooking there. At the time, you were allowed to bring X number of bottles, after which you had to pay an additional "dedicated sommelier fee." Maybe $300? Don't recall exactly. Okay, we got it - John Regan was the somm at the time and very good, lots of work for the restaurant, etc.

So we followed the rules, brought the correct number of bottles, and also bought a $1500 bottle of the list.

When dinner was over, and very good, one diner pulled a 375 of very old Yquem out of his bag - I think from the 20's. We asked politely if we could open it ourselves, use the glasses we already had on the table and pour a small glass each. The answer was a firm "yes, but then you'd have to pay the "dedicated sommelier fee."

So we'd, what, retroactively get a dedicated sommelier for the evening?

They were in the right to want to enforce their policy, but it made zero sense under the circumstances.
i love this story so much because so much of DM's ethos is ensuring that his staff finds a way to say "Yes" to their diners - sounds like they followed orders quite well!! insanity.
Right?

FWIW, and to that point, I told this story shortly thereafter to one of Danny's partners who is a friend of mine and he was quite apologetic, said that's not what the rule was supposed to be about at all, and promised to speak with the staff.

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R@y.Tupp@+sch
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#40 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 26th, 2020, 8:50 am

ybarselah wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 8:38 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 1:40 pm
The most nonsensical corkage story I experienced was at EMP years ago under the Danny Meyer regime, and when Daniel Humm was cooking there. At the time, you were allowed to bring X number of bottles, after which you had to pay an additional "dedicated sommelier fee." Maybe $300? Don't recall exactly. Okay, we got it - John Regan was the somm at the time and very good, lots of work for the restaurant, etc.

So we followed the rules, brought the correct number of bottles, and also bought a $1500 bottle of the list.

When dinner was over, and very good, one diner pulled a 375 of very old Yquem out of his bag - I think from the 20's. We asked politely if we could open it ourselves, use the glasses we already had on the table and pour a small glass each. The answer was a firm "yes, but then you'd have to pay the "dedicated sommelier fee."

So we'd, what, retroactively get a dedicated sommelier for the evening?

They were in the right to want to enforce their policy, but it made zero sense under the circumstances.
i love this story so much because so much of DM's ethos is ensuring that his staff finds a way to say "Yes" to their diners - sounds like they followed orders quite well!! insanity.
Similar story about five or six years ago, which was my last time there. And not just because of this incident.

Four of us brought a bottle each to dinner. The last bottle opened, a '93 Rousseau Chambertin was corked and obviously not served. I always bring an extra bottle or two for these kind of situations, so I asked them to open one of my back-ups. We were told we had reached our four bottle limit and if the back-up was opened we would incur the $300 fee plus the corkage for all five bottles.
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Mark Golodetz
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#41 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 26th, 2020, 9:22 am

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 8:50 am
ybarselah wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 8:38 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 1:40 pm
The most nonsensical corkage story I experienced was at EMP years ago under the Danny Meyer regime, and when Daniel Humm was cooking there. At the time, you were allowed to bring X number of bottles, after which you had to pay an additional "dedicated sommelier fee." Maybe $300? Don't recall exactly. Okay, we got it - John Regan was the somm at the time and very good, lots of work for the restaurant, etc.

So we followed the rules, brought the correct number of bottles, and also bought a $1500 bottle of the list.

When dinner was over, and very good, one diner pulled a 375 of very old Yquem out of his bag - I think from the 20's. We asked politely if we could open it ourselves, use the glasses we already had on the table and pour a small glass each. The answer was a firm "yes, but then you'd have to pay the "dedicated sommelier fee."

So we'd, what, retroactively get a dedicated sommelier for the evening?

They were in the right to want to enforce their policy, but it made zero sense under the circumstances.
i love this story so much because so much of DM's ethos is ensuring that his staff finds a way to say "Yes" to their diners - sounds like they followed orders quite well!! insanity.
Similar story about five or six years ago, which was my last time there. And not just because of this incident.

Four of us brought a bottle each to di. The last bottle opened, a '93 Rousseau Chambertin was corked and obviously not served. I always bring an extra bottle or two for these kind of situations, so I asked them to open one of my back-ups. We were told we had reached our four bottle limit and if the back-up was opened we would incur the $300 fee plus the corkage for all five bottles.
Even worse. Bad enough you lost the Rousseau, without the restaurant deciding to take advantage. Definitely not the way Danny Meyer would have played it.

The four bottle limit is stupid anyway; leads to clueless staff making bad decisions
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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#42 Post by Merrill Lindquist » February 26th, 2020, 10:39 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 4:00 am
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 3:57 pm
I love this restaurant, both for the food and the ambiance. Diane Kessler and I went there perhaps 5-7 years ago, and the corkage was $80. For 2 people bringing one bottle worth well more than $80, it became a no brainer. When they realized I was ITB, they poured us a nice Champagne on the house.

My guess is that a large party of "wine snobs" is not something they encourage. The restaurant has been there forever, and to my knowledge, has no difficulty filling the seats.

I would look elsewhere for a place who is anxious to serve you.
“Wine snobs”? That is somewhat dismissive and very insulting. The dinners are carefully put together and require a lot of time to organize. Many of the wines are sourced from Europe, which means extra work. We choose times when the restaurant is unlikely to be busy to minimize any disruption.

We are easygoing and friendly, we tip well, and if the staff is interested, we are happy to share some of the wine. Not sure where the “wine snobs” comment comes from, but if it reflects your experience, I think you may be in the wrong profession.
Oh boy.
Merrill
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ybarselah
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#43 Post by ybarselah » February 26th, 2020, 10:39 am

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 8:50 am


Similar story about five or six years ago, which was my last time there. And not just because of this incident.

Four of us brought a bottle each to dinner. The last bottle opened, a '93 Rousseau Chambertin was corked and obviously not served. I always bring an extra bottle or two for these kind of situations, so I asked them to open one of my back-ups. We were told we had reached our four bottle limit and if the back-up was opened we would incur the $300 fee plus the corkage for all five bottles.
did they ring a bell behind the bar to note the occasion?
Yaacov (ITB)

Stuart Roberts
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#44 Post by Stuart Roberts » February 26th, 2020, 11:20 am

Which high end restaurants in NYC allow BYO for a high or unlimited number of bottles per table for any corkage fee? Last time I checked the highest bottle limit I could find was four (EMP). Most were either zero or max of two. I’m surprised Grenouille agreed to such a high number of bottles, even if we find the fee excessive.

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R@y.Tupp@+sch
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#45 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 26th, 2020, 2:38 pm

Stuart Roberts wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 11:20 am
Which high end restaurants in NYC allow BYO for a high or unlimited number of bottles per table for any corkage fee? Last time I checked the highest bottle limit I could find was four (EMP). Most were either zero or max of two. I’m surprised Grenouille agreed to such a high number of bottles, even if we find the fee excessive.
A number of high end restaurants in NYC will waive the bottle limit if you are in a private room.
Killer, Staggering, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor ®

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Mark Golodetz
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Re: One dozen bottles plus a magnum of Champagne at $150 per bottle corkage for a special lunch at La Grenouille.

#46 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 26th, 2020, 6:13 pm

Stuart Roberts wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 11:20 am
Which high end restaurants in NYC allow BYO for a high or unlimited number of bottles per table for any corkage fee? Last time I checked the highest bottle limit I could find was four (EMP). Most were either zero or max of two. I’m surprised Grenouille agreed to such a high number of bottles, even if we find the fee excessive.
Stuart,
I think the response to your question has been a deafening silence. Personally I prefer not to broadcast the names of restaurants, but be assured, there is no shortage. And not one tried to cap number of bottles. In fact, more wines mean more corkage.
ITB

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