A restaurant boss who says his staff mistook a £1,525 Rothschild for a £13 bottle of wine has told he ended up with an eye-watering bill of his own.
New York restaurant owner Keith McNally said the very expensive mistake occurred at his brasserie Balthazar in Manhattan.
An unwitting member of staff at the posh restaurant accidentally delivered the pricey bottle to a couple after they ordered a £13 bottle of Pinot Noir.
And they then inadvertently delivered their couple’s bottle of cheap plonk to a table of Wall Street businessmen who were none the wiser that they weren’t drinking Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
Writing about the incident on Instagram, Keith explains how he managed to keep everyone happy, despite the mistake.
The legendary restaurateur said he ended up losing money due to the honest mistake but was praised for his response to the unfortunate mixup.
He explained: “One night at Balthazar four Wall Street businessmen ordered the restaurant’s most expensive red wine: a $2000 bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
“One of the two managers transferred the Bordeaux 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.
“These two very different wines were now in identical decanters.”
You can see where this is going – these two wines were switched resulting in a hilarious but unfortunate mixup.
In his Instagram post, Keith continued: “Mistaking the $18 decanted wine for the $2000 Rothschild, the first manager formally poured the cheap wine to the businessmen.
“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 young couple who ordered the $18 Pinot Noir were inadvertently served the $2000 Chateau 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.”
But the manager raised alarm in less than ten minutes after noticing the error and Keith rushed to Balthazar to assess the situation.
And Keith admitted that he faced a “dilemma” – come clean and admit the manager’s mistake or let the businessmen continue to enjoy the cheap plonk.
He continued: “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 $2000 bottle of wine. I decided to veer from my normal behaviour, and tell both parties the truth.”
Happily, both parties ended up in good spirits, as Keith continues: “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.
“The young couple were ecstatic by the restaurant’s mistake, and told me it was like the bank making an error in their favour. The trouble was, it was me who was down $2000, not the bank.”
After sharing the story on Instagram, one person commented: “Hahaha!! Absolutely terrific story‼️ Handled properly with elan, style and alacrity.”
Another wrote: “Three cheers for the young couple and you.”