Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Tides Wharf (Bodega Bay)

The Tides has been a Johnson family favorite for years. Fresh seafood dinners have played a part in our family celebrations since the time that the Johnson Grandparents first brought me out there back in the 60's.

I'm sad that I now have to drop them a few notches in my list of special places. It's not that the food has dropped in freshness or flavor, or selection, or the fact that they still have decent prices and good serving sizes & fact I find it as enjoyable as ever.

It's the wine I ordered the other night. No it wasn't corked, oxidized, reek of barnyards, acetic acid or anything else that was out of place with it. It was the glass it was served in...

I've gone on for some length that the stemware that wines are served in shouldn't make or break the experience with that particular wine. And that different glassware isn't needed for each varietal of wine to fully enjoy it.
Again - that wasn't the problem here either...

The problem was that after going there for 4 decades they've downsized their wine servings. When Mrs. Johnson and I ordered wines by the glass we were expecting our normal full sized pours. What we got instead was what could only be called a small glass with what was ~100ml of wine. Meager by what we had received in the past.

We exchanged some glances at each other, and both shrugged lightly. Everyone else we saw was getting wines ordered by the glass in the same small stemware. Then our meals came & we started to dig in. A couple was seated next to us and we overheard the man order some Sauvignon Blanc, and "we'll take the whole bottle" he told the waitress.
When she returned with the wine - Lo! and Behold! - there were the old full size wine glasses! Apparently, people who get wine by the glass are not worthy of the full size glasses...and surely the meager pours that we got would've looked pretty small in a full size glass as well.

Sadly, the prices for the "on demand short pour" were still full price.
$7.00 for a small pour of Dry Creek Zin?? If it was only 100ml (my estimate), then they are getting 7.5 pours to the bottle - so that Dry Creek Zin would amount to $52.50/btl!!

I like the food, service & ambiance, but next time I'll bring my own bottle, because the corkage has to beat that bottle price...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good point. I have seen this kind of nonsense before. As someone who doesn't know the first think about the business, one theory I have is that some bars and restaurants that don't push through a lot of commodity-style beverages (which I assume can provide steady, reliable profit streams -- beer, mixed drinks, etc.) may resort to the stingy pour to make-up for lost profits. Wine in CA provides a good smoke screen for this practice because of its over-inflated pricing and market power.

Ironically, London Wine Bar in San Francisco, at least in my opinion, has a pretty stingy pour, compared to A-16. I guess the excuse for LWB is that they provide an exceptional selection of wine by the glass, the overhead cost of which gets passed-on to the customer.

Some SF bars and restaurants have both a decent by-the glass selection and a generous pour. Balboa Cafe, Eastside West, North Beach Restaurant and Harris' all come to mind.

February 15, 2005 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The glass in question holds 7oz. The pour is measured at 5 oz. Your estimates are simply incorrect. The Tides Wharf's fine dining counterpart The Bay View Restaurant uses a much larger, crystal wine stem. In fact, it is the same glass used at North Beach Restaurant. Due to the sheer volume of business at The Tides (Up to 1500 covers in a day) The use of crystal stems is not possible. The price charged is in accordance with the amount of wine served. If a guest wants more, they can order another. If you have further thoughts or concerns, please contact the restaurant management. They actually listen, and take your comments very seriously.

March 22, 2009 11:43 AM  

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