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There was been talk of taking advantage of the half price special and putting together a group to check it out on a Sunday evening. 

If you are interested in joining in please contact me and let me know which Sunday in July works best for you.

As for Galileo -- yes, please! Anyone want to make it an outing?

We have a group going Sunday the 24th. If anyone wants to join us send me a PM and I will add you to the list :P

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D'oh! Curse "FastReply"! I hadn't seen the second page -- was wondering why my reply was all out of order! :P I will have to check the calendar about the 24th (it's ringing a bell for some reason...) but will let you know ASAP.

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First and foremost, my thanks to Galileo for being so fantastic and helping with the organization of the dinner.

We have a 6:30 reservation on Sunday the 24th. No, we don't each have to bring our own email. They have it in our reservation. I did not have to put down the $25 a head reservation insurance that you need to do on opentable so that is no longer a problem.

We may end up with a private room (woo hoo) but at the very least we will be seated at tables near each other.

There is still room for more if anyone would like to join us. Just let me know.

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From the Galileo Grill thread:

"For the record, I just called Galileo to see if the Grill was going on today. They informed me that Chef Donna is out of town, and the Grill will be cold until he returns. (it could be two weeks)"

Guess we might not have the chef present for our dinner on the 24th. Does this matter?

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From the Galileo Grill thread:

"For the record, I just called Galileo to see if the Grill was going on today. They informed me that Chef Donna is out of town, and the Grill will be cold until he returns. (it could be two weeks)"

Guess we might not have the chef present for our dinner on the 24th.  Does this matter?

From what I have heard he is not usually in the regular kitchen anyway.

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From what I have heard he is not usually in the regular kitchen anyway.

Hmmmm. I'd like to hope that for a group of approx. 20, all of whom are active food lovers who are active on a board all about local food, restaurants and chefs, that we would have the pleasure of eating WITH Chef Donna participating in the creation of our food. I've never had anything but the grill there, so for all I know all he does is spread green sauce during the day and work the Lab at night. I don't know. Maybe my expectations are too high, either of Galileo or DR.com's place in the DC food world, but I do want to express my skepticism of going without the Chef there. :P Edited by CrescentFresh
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Hmmmm.  I'd like to hope that for a group of approx. 20, all of whom are active food lovers who are active on a board all about local food, restaurants and chefs, that we would have the pleasure of eating WITH Chef Donna participating in the creation of our food.  I've never had anything but the grill there, so for all I know all he does is spread green sauce during the day and work the Lab at night. I don't know.  Maybe my expectations are too high, either of Galileo or DR.com's place in the DC food world, but I do want to express my skepticism of going without the Chef there.  :P

We are going on a Sunday night to take advantage of a half off deal. I'm not expecting fireworks or too much special treatment.

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We are going on a Sunday night to take advantage of a half off deal.  I'm not expecting fireworks or too much special treatment.

Good point, well taken. Skepticism diminished. Almost completely. I'm still thinking, though. Twenty-ish influential food lovers walk into a restaurant....

You complete the story.

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Good point, well taken.  Skepticism diminished.  Almost completely.  I'm still thinking, though.  Twenty-ish influential food lovers walk into a restaurant....

You complete the story.

I don't know if I would exactly call us "influential".

Our main influence probably lies in the fact that Sietsema and Kliman read this board.

It would be interesting to look into the web server log and count the number of unique IP's people are using to visit the site over the course of say a week or a month. That would probably give a better picture of direct "influence".

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I don't know if I would exactly call us "influential".

Our main influence probably lies in the fact that Sietsema and Kliman read this board.

It would be interesting to look into the web server log and count the number of unique IP's people are using to visit the site over the course of say a week or a month. That would probably give a better picture of direct "influence".

Perhaps the guy with the big pecs could give us some insight into exactly how fear-worthy we are. :P

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We are going on a Sunday night to take advantage of a half off deal.  I'm not expecting fireworks or too much special treatment.

I think Bill has the right attitude. We are getting a very nice deal. They (and by they I do not mean Chef) are aware of the board and do read it although I do not know how often. They do know we are a dinner group from a local food message board and we will be reporting back on the meal.

Good point, well taken.  Skepticism diminished.  Almost completely.  I'm still thinking, though.  Twenty-ish influential food lovers walk into a restaurant....

You complete the story.

As for influential, well, at least we are in our own world :P I do know that some local chefs read check in on what we think but I am not sure how much actual influence we have in many places.

Any chefs/restaurateurs care to comment?

Is it too late to participate in the dinner on the 24th?

Nope! Just shoot me a PM if anyone wants to join us.

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I think one of the things I meant by influential was that we're not strictly sharing things on the board. I know I recommend a number of places to co-workers, friends and others who ask because they know I eat out constantly and of my great love for all things that are found on a plate. So, I'd venture to think that we are opinion leaders in this area, if even just casually suggesting certain restaurants to others we know or associate with.

Additionally, both my wife and I have selected certain restaurants for work functions based upon our perceptions of the places when we're there privately. Often, these can be quite lucrative, depending on the number of people attending.

And each time we turn someone new on to a place that we like through a suggestion we make, or by inviting them to join us, they themselves may tell two friends.....and so on....and so on....and so on.....

(What was that commercial for, anyway? Breck?)

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This is my current list. Please let me know if you have to change your reservation or if you have called the restaurant to cancel your spot ASAP!!!!!

laniloa

hm212

dcfoodie+1

funjohnny +1

mdt

jacques

crackers

walrus+1

crescentfresh+1

jpw+1

jeffalex+1

NCPinDC

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I just got off the phone with the restaurant after changing the reservation again.

Although the reservation is under my last name, for those of you who don't know it you can say that you are with the Don Rockwell party. They have been warned about you all :P

Crescent, I highly recommend the top hat and cane.

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Would someone be kind enough to inform Galileo newbies on dress code?  Jackets required?  Top hat and cane?  (Just dress like Mr. Peanut?).

Some of the staff will be in formal wear. Don't wear jeans, but you also don't need a sportcoat on a Sunday night. Collared shirt and nice pants and you'll be fine.

By the way, I think a 35-40% tip is appropriate this evening. Although that sounds like a lot, it works out to the normal 18-20% based on the entire check amount, and the service at Galileo will be first-rate luxe. There are times to economize in life, and tipping on a 1/2-off check is not one of them! It shouldn't be any problem getting one check per party, so nobody should have to cover for anyone else.

For the mathematically challenged, leave $4.00 for every $10.00 you get charged. :P

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Some of the staff will be in formal wear.  Don't wear jeans, but you also don't need a sportcoat on a Sunday night.  Collared shirt and nice pants and you'll be fine.

By the way, I think a 35-40% tip is appropriate this evening.  Although that sounds like a lot, it works out to the normal 18-20% based on the entire check amount, and the service at Galileo will be first-rate luxe.  There are times to economize in life, and tipping on a 1/2-off check is not one of them!  It shouldn't be any problem getting one check per party, so nobody should have to cover for anyone else.

For the mathematically challenged, leave $4.00 for every $10.00 you get charged.  :P

Re the tip. I guess that is another way to do it. I planned on tipping based on the check before the discount is figured in. Or, you could figure the tip on the net amount and double it.

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Boy, what a night at Galileo.

It got really nasty, man. We were all at one big table. So you had some folks who wanted to tip 40% of the total check in some places, and then you had other folks who wanted to calculate out 20% and then double it in other seats. And we were all mixed together trying to figure out what to do!

Well, it all got really heated, and the next thing you know, there were gooseberries dipped in chocolate being tossed from supporters of one camp to the other. It was carnage. Just like when the British quit India. The barolo flowed like blood in the dusty gutters. JG's calvados was turned into a molotov.

I need more time before I can report accurately on exactly what happened last night. Oh, the horror. Was it in the paper this morning?

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Really swamped today, but have a few minutes while waiting on an e-mail.

Quick summary -- A very pleasant evening in the laboratorio room. Chef Amy came out to greet us and went through the whole menu. Although some have said elsewhere that they find the service stuffy, I found it to be impeccable, from the floor manager down to the busboys. Proper and correct, attentive without being obtrusive. My mother in law would approve. In many senses, in a place like Galileo you're paying as much for the service as you are for the food. For example, I left my cell phone in the car and when I went out to retrieve it, the valet SPRINTED to our car to get it.

3 courses and dessert was more than enough for me and Mrs JPW.

I began with the beef tartar. A very asian inspired dish that came in a cylindrical fried wonton skin. A very fine chop with a hint of sweetness (oyster sauce?). Very nicely done -- especially the contrast of the silky tartar and the crisp skin. Perhaps a hint too sweet for me to enjoy the whole portion, so halfway through I switched with Mrs JPW who had the tuna carpaccio. The tuna was nicely presented in a single layer in a lemon vinagrette given a tiny bit of bitter flavor from what I'm guessing was orange zest. Superb. I could sit and have 4 or 5 orders of this and call it dinner.

Pasta course was agnolotti for me. Asparagus puree stuffing with a mascarpone cheese and basil oil sauce. Very nice balance of flavor and texture, but it was missing something that I can't quite put my finger on. Mrs JPW had the fettucinin with rabbit. This was the only real disappointment of the night. While I can appreciate the need to perhaps cut some of the gaminess of the rabbit (which actually I had never tried before so I'm taking mdt's word on this) somehow, the rabbit taste was overwhelmed with the taste of the chicken stock base. As a final note, I felt that the tiny dice of rabbit was overwhelmed by the extremely wide fettucini. A larger cut of rabbit or using a penne or farfalle might at least visually and texturely show off the rabbit to better advantage.

For mains I had the veal chop. Cooked to perfection, this monstrous slab of a chop was excellent. One might note here that the sureness of the kitchen can be seen in the lack of any hint of providing anything other than the basic table knife to cut the meat.

Mrs JPW had the butter poached lobster. I usually can take or leave lobster, but I enjoyed this greatly. Unfortunately, I only got the chance to steal one bite.

Dessert was sorbet for me and a chocolate cake for Mrs Jpw. I did not taste hers, but several at the table had it and will be able to comment. THere were three flavors of sorbet whose exact flavors I may be a little off on -- orange, some berry and lemon. The lemon was the standout. The berry was a little weak in flavor and not quite the perfect shaved texture of the other two.

At our end of the table we had a nice Barolo and a Bastianich Tocai Friuliani that I thought a perfect choice. Thanks to mdt and FunJonny for guiding us right in the world of Italian wine where my knowledge is very weak.

Thanks to Chef Amy and the whole Galileo staff for a memorable evening.

EDIT -- to add -- Thanks to hillvalley for her organizational efforts. Everything went off without a hitch. You da woman.

Edited by JPW
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JPW's post summed up the experience nicely. The veal chop was monstrous indeed, and I was quite impressed that when I looked over at mdt's plate only the bone was left. I had to take home most of mine in order to have room for dessert. This is a great deal at 1/2 price. The wine selections run from about $40 to the astronomical, but if you select from the $100 or so price point you won't be disappointed and the waiter (or was he the actual sommolier?) gave great advice -- just tell him how much you'd like to spend and leave it to him. I'm still stuffed...

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JPW's post summed up the experience nicely.  The veal chop was monstrous indeed, and I was quite impressed that when I looked over at mdt's plate only the bone was left.  I had to take home most of mine in order to have room for dessert.  This is a great deal at 1/2 price.

Curiously, the beef portion--although very tasty--was only a fraction of the size. I was jealous of all you veal and lamb chop eaters. I felt like I was eating among the Flintstones!

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How much did dinner end up costing per person, out of curiosity?

This was not a set-price meal. It depended entirely which courses and how many courses, wines, etc. Entree prices were in the $28-$38 range, apps in the $10-14 range. All before the 50% discount.

Thank you hillvalley for your cat-herding efforts. You would have been proud of this group - there were real jackets and tie at the table, not the kind printed on t-shirts, and no flip-flops either.

A few additional comments.

The evening began at the bar where we were greeted with a lovely antipasti platter with our drinks. When the staff escorted us into the Lab we could tell that an extra effort had been put forth on our behalf. The candle-lit table had been decorated beautifully with Italian peasant figurines along the length and ample bread stick baskets (mktye - yours still rule)

post-46-1122312488_thumb.jpg

and two delightful amuse bouche to start - grilled prawns and small toast rounds with spreads that someone else will have to describe. Chef Brandwein was nice enough to take the time to greet all of us in the middle of what appeared to be a busy night in the rest of the restaurant, before disappearing into the kitchen to work her magic. Another great surprise was that we were told that we could order a la carte from the chef's tasting menu, which opened up a whole other dimension to the three meat entrees listed on the a la carte menu. For me, it meant a transcendental roasted rack of lamb with braised baby artichokes and orange anise sauce.

post-46-1122312607_thumb.jpg.

Others enjoyed the aforementioned veal chop post-46-1122312783_thumb.jpg

and beef tartare post-46-1122313456_thumb.jpg

as well as the ample cheese selection post-46-1122312841_thumb.jpg

I also enjoyed the semi-sweet chocolate mousse with caramelized banana

post-46-1122312678_thumb.jpg

As JPW mentioned, service was impeccable - no sitting down to chat with us, no drawing their names in little hearts with crayons on the table, no a capella arias. At the end of our meal, after the last of the wine had been sipped, after the complementary platter of chocolate tipped gooseberries and puff pastry nibbles had disappeared, Chef Brandwein and staff returned to hearty, and well-deserved applause. Half-price or not, Galileo gave us the full measure of their devotion last night.

Edited by crackers
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and beef tartare post-46-1122313456_thumb.jpg

Okay.

I didn't make to this event last night, but I'm a huge beef tartare fan (I was just graced with the beef tartare at City Zen -- my birthday gift).

But is this caption right?

Why does it look like overcooked sweetbreads or something? :P:wub:

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Okay.

I didn't make to this event last night, but I'm a huge beef tartare fan (I was just graced with the beef tartare at City Zen -- my birthday gift). 

But is this caption right?

Why does it look like overcooked sweetbreads or something?  :P   :wub:

The cylinder thing is sort of a crispy rice contrapion that is stuffed with the tartar. The stuff on the side is mushrooms. The picture does not actually show any of the "tartar."

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While the food was good and the service great, I have to say that I can't possibly imagine paying double what I paid for the dinner last night. The prices on the wine list are criminal. It seemed like most of the wines were prices in the $300-400/bottle range. It was hard to find a wine on the list in the $100 range. I get the feeling that the place is living on its reputation.

Keep in mind also that the restaurant is actually 4 restaurants. There is the Lab, the regular restaurant, the Osteria and the lunch grill. The Lab is probably the only part to make a fuss about.

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The Lab is probably the only part to make a fuss about.

Well, even though they have a penchant for fucking up orders, I think it's worth fussing about the grill. I like leaving there with what I hope is my correct sandwich (shall I call it a Galileo Grill Sandwhich?) and seeing all the poor saps standing on a line snaking out the door at Potbelly a few blocks away. A better quality sandwhich for about a buck more at Galileo, that you can also call ahead for and have waiting for you, beats any fast food option hands down.
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While the food was good and the service great, I have to say that I can't possibly imagine paying double what I paid for the dinner last night.  The prices on the wine list are criminal.  It seemed like most of the wines were prices in the $300-400/bottle range.  It was hard to find a wine on the list in the $100 range.  I get the feeling that the place is living on its reputation. 

Keep in mind also that the restaurant is actually 4 restaurants.  There is the Lab, the regular restaurant, the Osteria and the lunch grill.  The Lab is probably the only part to make a fuss about.

And keep in mind that you had a special seating in the Lab and a personal visit from the Chef. We sat in the regular dining room a few weeks back, and while the meal was an overall enjoyable experience considering the discount, I definitely wouldn't go back to pay full price at a later date.

I'd be interested to hear back from others that have been for the Galileo promo. Would you go back and pay twice as much for the same deal?

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I'd be interested to hear back from others that have been for the Galileo promo.  Would you go back and pay twice as much for the same deal?

No, for a comparable fine-dining blowout, I'd rather spend my $ on _two_ meals (including drinks etc.) for the same price at Restaurant Eve.

Not just better value for money, but better food and service.

Edited by tripewriter
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I'd be interested to hear back from others that have been for the Galileo promo.  Would you go back and pay twice as much for the same deal?

I have to say that, personally, nope. I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I found the food to be mediocre, and I had to admit that I found the service polite but spotty -- my main dish, for example, came out (with a number of others) and was placed up up the lamps on the counter -- so I could watch the sauce congeal -- as we waited for other dishes to come out...

I had a fine time -- great company! -- and perhaps I've been spoiled by Corduroy and Eve, etc., but I found that even at 50% off, I felt that it was a little expensive for the experience.

Our total (not counting the outrageous bar bill) was $94/person.

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As someone who was there last nite, I can see exactly what you mean.

I'm probably a bit jaded, so I'm gonna pick the nits. I'll preface by saying that the food and presentation were, in general very very good...the presentation much more so than the food, however.

Nit #1: The service. OK, so we were in the Laboratorio. The restaurant was not THAT crowded, at least when I peeked in on the way to the restroom. Can someone explain to me why it took nearly FOUR hours to serve three courses plus dessert? I know that they have to present each course in unison, but we didn't get the appetizer for quite some time after we placed our orders. My wife noticed that this had the advantage (for the restaurant) that anyone who ordered a bottle of wine pretty much had finished by the time the second course was served, and so had to order a second bottle to go with the main course.

Plus, my second course came perilously close to being sent back to the kitchen before it was served to me, and my wife's dessert sat on the serving table for a good 15 minutes before they figured out that it was meant for her. Hmmm.

Nit #2: Portion size. I do have to say that the portions were a manageable size. However, something was not very clear about the menu. Most of us ordered the "tasting menu," where you can select X number of courses (3, 4 or 5) plus dessert for a fixed price. What was NOT on the menu is that when you order the tasting menu, each course served is about a half-portion or smaller. The few who ordered a la carte got MUCH more food than the rest of us--probably too much. Again, I got enough food to be satisfying, but it felt a bit strange to see the person across from me get twice as much pasta even though it was exactly the same order. Note that if I had ordered the exact same courses a la carte, I probably would have gotten twice the food for about $15 more (menu prices, NOT discounted prices).

Nit #3: Consistency. Some of the dishes seemed very good. My wife's filet was not only too small, it was also somewhat overdone. My own main course (the swordfish) was a bit dry. Folks who ordered things like the veal seemed to fare a lot better than we did. Plus, as someone else posted, my courses appeared to have spent too much time under the heat lamp--or not under it, as the case may be.

Again, the quality of food overall was very good, and the company was of course excellent. If I had paid double for the food, I would have been pretty severely disappointed. I didn't feel too bad about the fact that they failed to charge me for my wine. That's OK--they made that up in profit in other areas.

As a basis of comparison, we had dinner tonight at Grapeseed Bistro in Bethesda (which I'll post about later) for almost exactly the same cost--but with much more food, and to be honest better quality as well. Comparing Galileo to Grapeseed is a bit like comparing grapes to raisins--they are very different establishments--but the point remains the same.

Glad to have the chance to meet some of the folks on this forum--look forward to future outings.

JeffAlex

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I didn't feel too bad about the fact that they failed to charge me for my wine.  That's OK--they made that up in profit in other areas.

JeffAlex

Did you really leave knowing that they had mistakenly not charged you for your wine? I think if you ordered it and drank it, you should have paid for it. Geesh - am I out on a limb here? :P

My meal was very good (my lamb was outstanding), and I found the service to be first rate. (If there is somewhere else one can get such a satisfying four course meal of that calibre for $34.50 in DC, please do tell!) I was glad the courses arrived at a leisurely pace, as I was not in any hurry to go elsewhere on a Sunday night. I agree with JG that at half the price the wines are still no bargain. However Galileo's severe markups are notorious, and they do offer corkage as an alternative. I also agree that at full price point there are several other options in town from which to choose. Also, try the Laboratorio experience at least once - it is one not to be missed.

Edited by crackers
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A few follow up thoughts (ok, they're really opinions)...

I was fine with the pacing of the courses. Don't forget the two amuse that came out before the primi.

Of course, some dishes had to sit under the heat lamp...

People, we were a table of SEVENTEEN!!!!!

I'd rather have food under a lamp for a few minutes than watch half of the table eat and the other half staring at them.

Can't comment on the wine prices given my ignorance of Italian wine, but a quick glance showed very few bottles of wine that would cost less than the food.

Would I go back without the discount? Doubtful for the main dining room as financial considerations enter into mind. But as the appetizers were for me the main strength of the kitchen, a Happy Hour graze at the bar sounds good.

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I don't know that I'd go back and order the 3 course with dessert option because it was more food then I typically eat in one meal, but I'd go back and order off the menu at full price. I enjoyed my meal (steak tartare, fetuccine with rabbit -- the one dud of the night, butter poached lobster, caramel napoleon with chocolate mousse). I thought it was a tremendous bargain and very great meal for $35. I'd think it was still a good meal for $70. The service was a tad slow to start and I think they would have been better off seating us at smaller tables. It isn't as if we had table-wide conversations and it is much easier to bring out dishes for 5 at once.

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I don't know that I'd go back  and order the 3 course with dessert option because it was more food then I typically eat in one meal, but I'd go back and order off the menu at full price.  I enjoyed my meal (steak tartare, fetuccine with rabbit -- the one dud of the night, butter poached lobster, caramel napoleon with chocolate mousse).  I thought it was a tremendous bargain and very great meal for $35.  I'd think it was still a good meal for $70.  The service was a tad slow to start and I think they would have been better off seating us at smaller tables.  It isn't as if we had table-wide conversations and it is much easier to bring out dishes for 5 at once.

I think Laniloa is right, but $70 is just for the food you'd have to add another $50 to that for the wine. For $150 (incl. tax and tip) there is a lot of competition out there. You could probably have a decent meal at Cintroelle for that, and seriously bloat yourself at places like Corduory, Komi and R. Eve.

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Does anyone know what the corkage fee is ? Sound like a solution to the cost problem is go for 50% food dicount and bring a $ 50.00 Amarone from Calvert Woodley for which Roberto would charge $ 200.00...wouldd that be called wourking the System or just plain tacky.

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Does anyone know what the corkage fee is ?  Sound like a solution to the cost problem is go for 50% food dicount and bring a $ 50.00 Amarone from Calvert Woodley for which Roberto would charge $ 200.00...wouldd that be called wourking the System or just plain tacky.

I can't comment on the "tackiness" issue, but I wonder if the half price deal extends to the corkage (or am I displaying my tackiness by even wondering about that?). I guess it depends on how hard you want to work the system.

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I can't comment on the "tackiness" issue, but I wonder if the half price deal extends to the corkage (or am I displaying my tackiness by even wondering about that?).  I guess it depends on how hard you want to work the system.

Don't most restaurants not allow you to bring a bottle that they have on their list?

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