A few weeks ago my friend and I went to dinner in Boston (don't want to name the place, I like it a lot and don't want to discourage people from going there). The food was great, the service also very good, except for one issue.
We ordered a bottle of white wine, which happened to the screw-top kind. When our waiter brought it to the table, he was holding it in kind of an odd way - with his hand over the neck, and he poured it holding it like this, which I haven't seen a waiter do before. It looked odd to me, and it also seemed like there was some wine missing from the bottle. I also did not hear the "crack" of the top opening, which I realized later. After he had filled both of our glasses it was obvious that it wasn't a full bottle - it was less than 1/5 full, and two normal size glasses should not empty a bottle that much (yes.... I might drink too much wine).
I tasted it and it had that taste of wine that you open one night, don't finish, and stash in the fridge for the next night... a bit sour. Clearly we had been served an already open (and used!) bottle of wine. I was honestly kind of shocked, because it never occurred to me that a server/restaurant would try to pull something like this. I wasn't sure what to do about it, but I had to say something because I wasn't about to drink (and pay for) a sour, opened bottle of wine. I didn't want to actually accuse him of trying to cheat us out of a full bottle, so I just told him that it tasted sour and asked if we could have a new bottle.
Immediately he apologized, saying it was probably just a bad bottle, and brought us a new (unopened!) bottle within a few minutes. This is what strikes me as so odd about all of this; he was very nice and attentive for everything else during the meal, so I don't see what motivation he would have for doing this. The only thing I can think of is that a manager or bartender just gave him a bottle that needed to be used up and hoped we wouldn't notice. We did not tip any less than usual because of the wine issue - he fixed it as soon as he knew it was a problem, and it was the only bad note to an otherwise nice dinner.
Has anything like this ever happened to any of you? What did you do about it?
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