Luxurious dining is primarily done for pleasure, but ordering big can also be used as a tool for revenge. Whale Week continues with this story from Troquet owner, general manager and sommelier Chris Campbell, which took place at his now closed Brighton restaurant Uva.
We had a young lady call on the telephone to say a couple was celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. She wanted to send them a bottle of champagne, the best that we had. I had a 1985 Clos du Mesnil from Krug, which was $750 a bottle at the time, which was pretty inexpensive by today's standards. She said I'm the young lady's sister, and I'm going to surprise her, and when I walk in I want you to open the bottle of champagne tableside for the three of us. I said okay. So we wait, they come in, and these are people are having a nice dinner when the lady walks in and I bring over the bottle of champagne and start to open it. But nobody's speaking at the table. Nobody's saying a word.
And it turns out that this lady that had walked in was the wife of the gentleman and the other woman was his mistress. I opened the bottle, poured it, and kind of walked away. And then there was all this screaming and screeching and yelling, and the two ladies got up and left. It turned out these two ladies concocted this plan; the lady who was the mistress hadn't even know that the guy was married.
And so he was left all by himself at the table with this bottle of champagne. He asked for the bill and I gave it to him with the $750 bottle of champagne on it, and he said "I'm not paying for this." And I said, well, it was ordered. "Well I didn't order it. Here's the telephone number of the lady that ordered it," he said. The next day I called her and she said "Don't worry about it, he's going to come by with credit card or call you with it." And sure enough, about a half hour later the guy called with the credit card number and paid for it.
He had drunk only about half the bottle before he left. At the time I don't think he thought he was going to be paying for it. If he had, he probably would have drank it all.