Rendezvous With A Rip-Off

Words of dining advice: Always ask how much the verbally recited daily specials cost. Or pay the consequences. For Peter and Neil, a vacationing couple from Danbury, Conn., the consequence was a nearly $300 tab for dinner at Rendezvous On The Beach (in the Beacon Hotel on Ocean Drive).

They chose Rendezvous because, as Peter put it, “The food looked really good.” Turns out the food was really good, especially a surf-and-turf of filet mignon and lobster -- according to Neil, “the biggest lobster tail I have ever seen. Seriously.” It had come highly recommended from the waiter. “It was delicious. And I knew it would be expensive” explains Peter. “But when I saw the bill I couldn’t believe it was $105.”

The rest of the dinner: One tuna tataki appetizer, one rib-eye steak, one cocktail apiece. With tax and automatic gratuity the bill came to $274.31. That's ridiculous, even allowing the caveat of Ocean Drive and all such restaurant strips routinely overcharging. This is a no-name establishment with no-name chef and no-name steaks -- meaning they go not by the moniker of "Kobe" or "grass-fed" or "organic." When charging $105 for an entree -- or, really, regardless of the charge -- it is incumbent upon the waiter to inform patrons beforehand. It really should be legally required for restaurants to include prices in verbal menu recitations, just as it is for them to print prices on the written menu.

But it is not, so I repeat: Always ask how much the verbally recited daily specials cost. Another suggestion might be to avoid any rendezvous at Rendezvous.

- Lee Klein

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