NYC Restaurant Owner Draws Praise For Handling Of $2,000 Wine Mix-Up

A New York restaurant owner whose staff mixed up a $18 bottle of wine with a $2,000 bottle is eating the difference.

Keith McNally, owner of the SoHo's Balthazar, laughed off the costly snafu in a recent Instagram post in which he recalled the anxious evening of dining.

One night four Wall Street businessmen dropped by Balthazar for dinner and ordered a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, the brasserie's most expensive bottle of red wine, which was poured into a decanter for them.

At the same time, a young couple ordered the restaurant's cheapest bottle, which they requested be poured into a decanter.

"Mistaking the $18 decanted wine for the $2,000 Rothschild, the first manager formally poured the cheap wine to the businessmen," McNally wrote in the post, accompanying a photo of a bottle of the posh wine. "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.'"

On the other side of the restaurant, the young couple drinking the $2,000 bottle, laughed and lampooned the stereotype of a wine snob, thinking they were drinking the cheap stuff they ordered.

The two managers discovered the error within a few minutes and called McNally at home. He rushed to his restaurant to figure out how to smooth things over with the businessmen.

Calling it "unthinkable" to take the expensive wine from the young couple's table — they were having a lot of fun, after all — he just told both parties the uneasy truth.

To McNally's amusement, the businessman suggested his palette had tipped him off and his suspicions about the Mouton Rothschild were only confirmed by this news.

"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," McNally wrote.

"Both parties left Balthazar happy that night, but the younger of the two left happier."

Photo: Getty Images

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