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Washington DC & Baltimore

Bait and Switch at I Ricchi?


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Restaurants & Bars Washington DC & Baltimore

Bait and Switch at I Ricchi?

cuisnatrix | | Jan 16, 2008 04:43 AM

My friends and I just had a terrible experience at I Ricchi.

We came in for Restaurant week, and when we sat down, the waiter never gave us menus, but just started in saying that we were going to get certain courses. It was pitched to us as antipasti, appetizers, and choice of entrees. Given that it's restaurant week, we assumed that this was the restaurant week special. We were never given the option to look at a menu, order a la carte, or told that the restaurant week menu was more limited. The person who had organized the dinner had told the host on more than one occasion that we were coming for restaurant week, but that wasn't noted anywhere, and the staff plead ignorance to the request. In addition, there weren't wines on the menu at less than $100 a bottle. Sadly, the bill came to $240 per person.

The Waiter told us that it was the standard practice at the restauraunt. I have been a number of times before, and I have never not been offered a menu. Our friend who organized the meal said that when she called they asked if it was a special occasion, she said, "yes, it's restaurant week". When we sat down at the table our waiter asked who the hostess was, and when our organizer identified herself, he told her that they wanted to impress our group so that we would come back again.

While we would have been willing to pay more than restaurant week prices, the deceptiveness of the pricing was outrageous. We knew that we would pay more than the restaurant week prices for the wine, and for a party of ten spent more than $600 on wine. The first two courses alone were more than $35 per person, and the main courses turned out to be between $30 and $40 per person, though we didn't know that when we ordered. They brought us vin santo, which we were lead to believe was a gift from the restaurant, but in fact they charged us over $10 a glass for.

I have never spent so much on a meal -- not at Citronelle, not at Elizabeth Daniel or Fifth Floor in San Francisco. And there is no question that the food in no way worth the price. While an enjoyable meal, and competently executed, it wasn't innovative, nor was it amazing. I've had better meals at dozens of restaurants around Washington, and at a quarter of the price.

When we objected to the way the meal had been communicated to us, and complained to the management, they made no attempt at accommodation. Our server was informative, pleasant, and was the only person willing to make amends for the situation.

Is this kind of bait and switch standard at I Ricchi now?

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