Gourmet Live and Saveur have interesting pieces today about the games restaurants play. First, Gourmet Live examines the phenomenon of Googling patrons before they arrive — Eleven Madison Park even winkingly served a mini-lamb-burger to a diner who had tweeted about eating at Burger King before his meal there! And Saveur reveals that a sort of vino bingo went on at Double Crown over the last few months. The waitstaff was split into two teams, and the team that sold every single bottle on the list would win a multi-course sit-down feast at the restaurant — served by the losing team. Within two months, all 50 wines had been served by triumphant team the Grizzly Grapes, with a bottle of Champagne being the last to go. We called the restaurant to confirm the tale, and yep, a $270 bottle of Dom Pérignon was the last one out the door.
“It’s an old stalwart on the wine list, always the toughest to sell,” said manager Kieran Chavez. Our fears that the table had ordered a porterhouse and been told to get a $300 Champagne were unfounded. “These guys are regulars,” said Chavez. “The key was that they love oysters. We have oysters with a Thai mignonette, so we sort of said ‘If you’re having this, why not go for broke. Go wild with Dom!’”
Chavez apparently was on the losing team, and had to serve a full suckling pig dinner, but does not harbor a grudge.