Thursday, August 14, 2008

Steak Night Approaches

My computer has been a bit under the weather with hard drive problems which explains the lack of posts for the week. Dell assures that a new one will arrive tomorrow, then it's just a matter of moving EVERYTHING over. The mere thought has had me in search mode for upcoming pleasantries.

Steak Night: It's set for this Saturday at Bone's here in Atlanta. I'm getting really excited about cracking open the Silver Oak and perhaps even more the Turnbull. I will certainly share comments on both and should be able to declare a winner.

One deciding factor in the restaurant selection for this particular steak night was the restaurants' corkage policies as my companions and I have accumulated a few special bottles in anticipation of this upcoming celebratory Steak Night. Corkage policies vary all over Atlanta as I'm sure they do in all cities. They range from the very generous: Ruth's Chris Buckhead where they didn't charge anything to hostile: the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group (Chops, Panos & Pauls, Pricci's, etc.) where they don't allow outside wines, no excpetions. In all fairness the Buckhead Life restuarants have thoughtful lists with reasonable mark-ups, but sometimes you want to bring something not available on their list or a sentimental bottle. In the middle are restaurants like Kevin Rathbun's Steak at $20/bottle, Bone's at $10/bottle, and others going as high as $50. One frustration for those brave enough to try bringing their own bottle is that it's not easy to determine policies. They're generally not stated on the websites, or menus, or winelists. I'm gathering information now and will attempt to post a working list of corkage fees for restaurants in Atlanta in the near future and welcome others to join in and add other cities.

The wine columnists for the Wall Street Journal Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher have hit on this topic more than a few times and as I recall they have laid out a few basic rules for BYOB that seemed to be common sense for the well mannered diner. Following is my list, inspired by theirs: 1) Don't bring a bottle that's on the restaurant's list, 2) Don't bring something so inexpensive that it suggests you're only reason in bringing it was to save money, 3) Offer to share a taste of whatever you bring to the person pouring (waiter, wine steward, sommelier, etc.), 4) if you don't know the restaurant's policy call ahead to find out, and 5) tip the waitstaff as if you had purchased an average priced bottle from their list.

Does anyone have a corkage policy they would like to discuss? Posts are welcome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was at Kevin Rathbun Steak last night and they told me that they only allow people to bring in two bottles of wine per table at 20.00 per bottle.

They told me that some people were bringing in 5-7 bottles and that they had to implement a new bottle policy.