Dear Dine

Dear DINE,

What makes Wagyu beef so special?

– Carole S.

Dear Carole,

Good question! It is easy to consume great food and not understand exactly where it comes from or why an ingredient may be better than others. Chef Kyle Anderson from Baela Rose helped explain that Wagyu is a Japanese cattle breed prized for the marbling of its high intramuscular fat content. He described Wagyu as having a fine, tender texture with deep flavor, making it more desirable than other beef.

“At Baela Rose, we serve Wagyu because we want our customers to experience the best beef the land has to offer. We have a couple of favorite ways to showcase this beautiful flavor and texture profile. One is through our braised wagyu short ribs, which take several hours to complete. Another is a completely different preparation, our wagyu beef tartare, the focus being on the true and pure texture of wagyu beef,” said Anderson.

Dear DINE,

How do you overcome bad service at a restaurant you love?

– Scotchandthefox

Dear Scotchandthefox,

This is a topic we can easily have our own opinions about, so for an expert’s opinion, we contacted Justin Gilmore, Director of Operations at both Dante and Forno. Gilmore explained, “I think if someone is having an experience that isn’t what they expected, they absolutely should ask for a manager. I would always love the opportunity to turn things around and create a happy ending to their experience with us. So many people seem to feel bad raising their hand when something isn’t going right. Or worse, they bottle it up and publish a public review later about how ‘terrible’ the place is, based on one experience. We strive to create a perfect experience for every guest, but we are all humans and sometimes we make mistakes. Give us the chance to do right by you right now, while you are here. I am always happy to listen. We would love to fix it if we can.”

Gilmore also had a good point on understanding that everyone has different ideals for how things should taste, which can also affect an experience at a restaurant. He said, “Diners should understand what different restaurants offer and seek out things they expect to enjoy.” An example he gave was that a person may not like wood-fired pizza with a charred crust, but they should not become upset at the restaurant if this is something they do not enjoy. Instead, diners should remember that food is not automatically bad or of poor quality because it does not taste right to them. Everyone has their own palate and taste preferences, and not every restaurant is going to fit each palate.

Dear DINE,

What are corkage fees and how do they work? Is there any other bring-your-own wine etiquette to know about?

– Laura C.

Dear Laura,

Jake Dunwoody, a server and cook at La Buvette Wine & Grocery, explained to us that a corkage fee is used at some restaurants as a small charge for opening up a bottle of wine that they sell for retail price. “At La Buvette, the $4.50 corkage fee is nice because it can be a specific dollar amount instead of a percentage of the bottle.” He continued to share that this set corkage fee works well with nicer, more expensive bottles as it is a flat fee rather than a percentage of the cost of the bottle. Buying wine by the bottle is usually cheaper than buying by the glass at a restaurant, so if you are in the mood for a few drinks, you may be better off buying the whole bottle with the small additional corkage fee.

As for bring-your-own wine etiquette, Dunwoody stated, “To bring in an outside bottle, we charge $25.00.” (Across the industry, corkage fees can range from $10-$40 or more). Dunwoody gave the example that a couple might come in for their anniversary with a bottle they drank on their wedding night. In that case the $25.00 corkage fee would apply. However, if they carry the bottle, it may be cheaper to buy it from the restaurant and pay the flat $4.50 corkage fee. Another reason for taking a bottle to a restaurant could also be that a person has a specific taste and wine preference that the restaurant may not offer. Whatever the reason may be, we recommend calling the restaurant ahead of time to find out what options and pricing they offer for corkage fees.

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