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White Truffle Possibilities


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A single diner showed up at you-know-which restaurant a couple weeks ago. Ordered the White Truffle supplement on his four course dinner menu.

 

Because he was a single diner, and ordered the expensive item on the menu, the restaurant took great care of him. They sent out plenty of amuses bouches, and took care to make his evening special even though he was dining on his own.

 

He cleared his plates, every single one of them.

 

When it came time for the bill. He took one look and waived the server back, asking what this $75 supplement on his menu was. The server replied that it was the supplemental charge for the white truffle that he ordered. He feigned surprise and outrage, that no one had told him, and that he'd had no idea.

 

Well, the charge was printed on the menu for one, and the server insisted that he pointed it out when the man ordered it as well. As the server is an old timer at the restaurant, we chose to believe him.

 

The Maitre d. was called to the situation, and he brought the menu with him to show the diner where the charge was printed. The diner changed his tactic to complain that "well, it wasn't very good anyway. I didn't like it. I shouldn't have to pay for it."

 

The M.D. patiently asked him if he had told any of the server that he was displeased with the dish, as we would have surely done something to better please him.

 

He replied that he didn't complain to a waiter, but he sure told the tables nearby to him that he didn't like his food. The M.D. politely apologized, pointing out that since the neighboring tables did not work for the restaurant, he was sadly not informed of the diner's displeasure. Judging the situation to be hopeless, the M.D. decided to cut his losses so as not to create a big scene and bother other diners.

 

So M.D. went back to the till and brought a new bill, minus the supplemental charges. We were sorry you were displeased with the truffle, the M.D. informed the diner, and we have removed the charges from the bill.

 

The diner paid his bill and left the restaurant. The M.D. retrieved the bill only to find that he left $0 tip.

 

On his way out the diner was recognized by a small group of local wine importers also in the dining room that night. The importers waived the M.D. over, asking him who let that guy in the restaurant, referring to that diner who just left. The importers said that all wine importers and sellers in this area know this guy. He often goes to tastings and makes a huge deal about how none of the wine was any good. He always raises such a stink that most importers and sellers just give up fighting and give him the refund he wanted.

 

And here is another reason why I couldn't work in a restaurant. I would have kicked his fat arse out of the restaurant or called the police on him. :P

 

What would you have done?

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Like every year, I continue in my pursuit of reasonably priced (relatively) and delicious all-white-truffle menus. I've sent an e-mail to ADNY asking about this, and will visit the $50/person place

I went into Buon Italia last winter to get some rice, and the whole back of the store reeked of truffles. I floated back on the aroma to discover a couple of people unpacking what was essentially a s

The pierogies are nuxbait, right?

Great story.

 

Sounds like it was handled well - now you ban him.

 

Anyone who is absolutely nerveless and boundlessly cheeky could dine more or less free in restaurants all the time by politely refusing to pay for the food for some trumped-up reason (which is different from "doing a runner"). Just not the same restaurant twice.

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from MUG:

 

"Gaja Truffle Dinner

If we had a spare $385, we know how we'd spend it: at Scott Conant's Alto, 11 E. 53rd [5th/Mad] 212.308.1099, on Monday, November 13th, 7pm, when Conant cooks a five-course truffle menu that will paired with Gaja wines. Even the memory of drinking Gaja wines brings us pleasure, so the prospect of several vintages of Barbaresco (going back to the '85 vintage), not to mention Mr. Conant's cooking, may be as irresistible to some of you as it is to us. The evening is hosted by Sergio Esposito of Italian Wine Merchants."

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I was dining there at the time...he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

 

The staff handled the situation perfectly. After facing similar situations during my days in the restaurant business, there is not much else you can do. (although fantasies involving a large guy named Guido with a baseball bat awaiting him in the parking lot help :P)

 

I would certainly but a note in the computer system to "red flag" him in case he ever decides to try to return for another meal.

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from MUG:

 

"Gaja Truffle Dinner

If we had a spare $385, we know how we'd spend it: at Scott Conant's Alto, 11 E. 53rd [5th/Mad] 212.308.1099, on Monday, November 13th, 7pm, when Conant cooks a five-course truffle menu that will paired with Gaja wines. Even the memory of drinking Gaja wines brings us pleasure, so the prospect of several vintages of Barbaresco (going back to the '85 vintage), not to mention Mr. Conant's cooking, may be as irresistible to some of you as it is to us. The evening is hosted by Sergio Esposito of Italian Wine Merchants."

 

You might want to scroll up to post #147....

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I wonder if he's clever enough to use different names when he reserves.

 

No no, he's shameless. He used his own name. I googled him. He's in the food business as well. :P Well, not fine dining by any means, more like a cart with fire and dead animals on it... :P

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Get him where he lives - tit for tat - let his customers know somehow. Or send someone to patronize his 'establishment' and then complain and not pay. Get a bunch of people to do that over the course of a few week. Enough to equal the supplement on the menu he didn't pay for.

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NO!! no grater for white truffles. the truffle shaver is not a gimmick. consider the price of white truffles...and just get yourself a truffle shaver.

i am. but the truffle -well, I - couldn't wait another day and there was no time to go out and buy a shaver. (if i lived near a store that might carry such an item, it would have been a different story. but i don't.)

 

i'm happy to report that the mandoline worked beautifully and a simple pasta with lots of parmigiano and tartufo was thouroughly enjoyed with some barbaresco. mmmm.....

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Went to Hearth last night, and had white truffles shaved over porcini risotto (among other dishes). Risotto was being offered only with truffles, and was not on the menu. One could also get truffles over gnocchi, and over pumpkin tortelli. Marco would have made tagliatelle with butter and cheese and truffles, but I preferrred to have his risotto. The smell as he was shaving was really just fantastic - intense, rich, heady. I was reminded of Cabby's comments that so much of the "thing" about truffles is their smell.

 

I heart Hearth.

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