Speaking of markups on wine… a Houston story

A reader comment on Rosas y Xocolate by Guest Critic Mark Makers regarding the markup on wines reminded the Critic of a funny experience he once had in the good old US of A.

On a not-so-recent trip to Houston, Texas, the Better Half and the Critic went out for a celebratory (ie ‘nice’) dinner at Pappas Steakhouse, the one on Westheimer, and after going through the opening sequence cocktail and having the dinner order taken by their flawless staff, a “house wine” was offered. Apparently this was a special wine that Pappas was serving this evening, blah blah blah.

“Sure, why not?” said the Critic. And he ordered two glasses, one for him and another for the Better Half. Along comes another server, pushing a cart with a gigantic bottle in a special sling and makes a great show of pouring two glasses of this wine for the Critic and BH. Other diners stare with amazement at the sheer size of this bottle.

Midway through an excellent steak, a delectable, cooked-to-perfection prime rib-eye, if the Critic recalls correctly, a second round of wine was offered. This time, only the Critic acceded to another glass. Again, the giant bottle on a cart show.

There was no room for dessert, as usual, but dessert was ordered anyway and it was fantastic. Gooey Pecan Pie. You will die and go to heaven if you order it – mouthgasms galore.

But the point of this story was the mark-up angle, remember?

Well. The bill comes to the table and lo and behold, that ‘house wine’ came in at 57 dollars a glass!!! Was the Critic in shock? You betcha. But hey, what can you do, right? Complain? About what? So the Critic paid and chalked it up to experience. And the Better Half and he laugh about it to this day.

Pappas Website – Highly recommended! But ask for the price of the house wine if it is offered!

9 thoughts on “Speaking of markups on wine… a Houston story

  1. Hi, William, papas brothers steaks house is No.1 in Houston in my opinion. And you should not pay 1 glass wine for that much. we go there lots of times and i order bottle of wine for less than $40 dollars, cheaper than merida. and price steaks, we always order one, bc it is enough for two people so you should ask about your bill. they should not charge for 1 glass of wine for over $50, it never happen to me. my opinion, Houston upscale rest. is really good price compared to merida upscale rest and merida upscale rest. foods tastes are really bad. i went all but i will never give more than 2 star and price is crazy. it is Mexico. it is not Paris or new york, even new york, i pay less and very tasty food. i know walter & I are very picky about food bc we lived in Europe for 4 yr, and i developed about food such early childhood, lucky me, also my grand ma & my mom are gourmet cooking person so my taste bud is not easily satisfy. one thing, merida any rest. upscale, i am just pay for the name, but not for the foods. it is very sad so i go one time and i will never return, like Rosa & chocolate, it was not much exciting and food was not that good, maybe you are a special person so they must put more efforts for their business but i was not impress at all, sorry, even Houston, i cannot satisfy lots of upscale places even you spend $500 meals. so i will cook & learn more when i am retire, right now, i do just little cook but still i think better than most rest. food. you need to check it out food in Seoul ,Korea then you will see what is real good food. And price is right. let me know if you & your better half want to go korea, u can stay my mom high rise and i will be your tour guide. what about that?

  2. Well I thought Rosas food was pretty good, and probably one of Meridas better meals. But you are right, much hype and not much in the way of quality is mostly the case here. Xcanatun hacienda has some good items on the menu – have you been there? In Houston, the Pappas family restaurants are among my favorites. I also like the House of Pies on Westheimer just because it is so ugly and has so much variety in their pies. Yum!

  3. Back in March, we stopped by Local 3 for an appetizer and a glass of wine – nothing special, they knew us well. We were offered a glass, and the manger suggested we might as well buy the bottle since we would have two glasses each. Cost of the bottle after we drank it – just over $100 USD. We were shocked since our usual glass of wine there was never over $10 USD, usually around $8. Lesson learned – ask before you drink!!

  4. Yes, I went to Xcanatun more than couple times, there price is pretty good. My friend gave her hubby bday party so she invited more than 50 peoples. They have a private party room so food was good & very cozy, service was great. The breakfast was very good & I enjoyed their Bellini , Owner showed me all their rooms & spa place, Walter was treat me my bday this year for their spa package but I said no. I got good one @ Houston less price . it is pretty place but not recommed it eat outside too many flies, can’t stand it. we go out eat most time here Houston, we know hole in the wall but food is great but still home cook is the best bc I know I use health & clean & good stuff & at least I know I clean my hand 100%, sorry bc my habit, drink good wine. Enjoy good food & thane for all your food critic I reall love reading it. did y see movie, chineses movie, eat, drink, & happy, I think.

  5. Suk – no I didn’t see that movie; I will have to look it up.

    Peter – that must have been SOME bottle of wine! I hope it was good. And not nice of the manager to set you up like that, especially if you are regulars.

  6. It was the last time we went to Local 3. It looks like they are closed for good now. Too bad – they had a good idea and some good food.

  7. Classic Merida restaurant lifespan. It seems that so many restaurants are opened on a whim, without much thought beyond the first week or so of operation. Does anyone remember Terra, I wonder, in San Fernando? I wrote back then that I predicted – correctly – it would close, not just because the service was so atrocious (the food wasn’t that bad actually) but because the manager person was actually hiding in the kitchen, looking through the portholes at the diners outside.

  8. Speaking of newly opened restaurants – we have tried El Gallo a couple of times. The happy hour (6 – 9 pm) drink prices are good, as are the drinks. The food is good and the atmosphere is nice. Would love to hear what you think about it.

  9. Hey William, sounds like a trip to El Gallo with our BH’s is in order! Jan returns tonight after he had a 26-hour flight delay in Frankfurt. A story which must be told over a meal!

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