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Fancy Restaurant Protocol? - Page 2

post #16 of 19
Many people tip less on the wine portion of the bill - say 10-15% vs. 20% on the food portion. I agree with marc237, and again suggest that the restaurants you mentioned are not IMO the wisest choices for such a meal.
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by wpeters
I may be a complete rube, but I'm never even thought about this. I've always assumed that the sommelier's tip is derived from the 20%, and that he/she is tipped out according to some formula, just like the other servers.

I think it's fair to assume the sommelier does not take a percentage of the tip. They are salaried at a very high level; "an average of $68,125 in 2005," topping out at around $150K. For them to take part of the tip would be thievery. This is not universal, but at the restaurants above, you better believe it.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by marc237
I would suggest you might also want to re-think the choice of restaurants. All of the three you suggested are wonderful places for food, but are not necessarily the most fun choices around. For example, I find Le Bernadin to be a bit austere and a bit cold at times. Bouley and Daniel can be a little impersonal in the service.

There are certainly other wonderful restaurants in NYC. One of the things I would recommend is deciding first on the kind of food you might prefer and then working from there. The three that you have chosen are much more French than anything else.

As to tipping the sommelier, it is not required and increasingly rarely done. However, if you were ordering a particularly expensive bottle of wine or s/he had been particularly helpful and attentive, a percentage of the alchohol charge is certainly welcome.

I actually ended up choosing Bouley. Factor #1 was that it was the only open place (of the three aforementioned) on Sunday, which was the only day that worked for both of us. I also liked the menu, which was predominantly seafood oriented, which my mother likes. The reason I was looking at the three was because Per Se is impossible to get reservations for, and I really wanted to stay in the top restaurants in Zagat food ratings, since i don't have too much experience with them, and I wanted to try good French food. Since I have very little experience with French food, I thought it would be the path of least resistance. While the ratings aren't everything, it does make for a pretty convenient shortcut and guarantee at least decent quality of food. Me, not being too fussy, will probably find any of those sublime in terms of taste.

As for enjoyment factor, I feel that it's just one of those things you have to try out on your own before making the determination. So this will be a first foray. I will probably be more adventurous (or go to Per Se) for my next choice.

Thanks everyone!
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
An update:

Bouley was phenomenal. Perhaps I'm not very picky when it comes to restaurants, but I found the service, decor, and food to be all top-notch. We got the tasting menu with the accompanying wine service. The wines were great and matched the food quite well. I was especially a fan of their apple-scented entryway/vestibule (racks and baskets of apples created a fragrant orchard-like scent; an excellent idea, I thought), they gave us some experimental desserts from the pastry chef, a sampler of sweets (on top of our tasting menu dessert), as well as a lemon cake for my mother on the way out. In all, it was quite awesome from start to finish. I can definitely see going back there again, even if I have to pay for it myself. The logistics were all less complicated than I expected, so I just left a standard 20% or so. I think it worked out well.

Again, thanks everyone for your input!
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