King of Ketchup ripped off by UWS Cottage’s “All You Can Drink” Wine

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***DISCLAIMER*** The review you are about to read is written by King of Ketchup NOT the NYC Food Guy. King of Ketchup is a friend of the site and his opinions do not represent those of NYC Food Guy.

As seasoned alcoholics and lovers of everything Szechuan, a few friends and I, King of Ketchup (not NYC Food Guy), decided to check out The Cottage last Friday night — a Chinese restaurant on the UWS that supposedly served unlimited wine with dinner. The Cottage (a ridiculous name for a Chinese restaurant) sits at the corner of 77th & Amsterdam, just a few blocks away from another Chinese restaurant with all-you-can-drink wine, Silk Road Palace. I went to “the palace” years ago when I was still underage, but I do recall that the speed and ferocity in which they continued to refill our empty wine glasses was incredible; at no point during the meal did we have fewer than two full carafes of wine on the table. So fast-forward to last Friday night, and let me walk you through the dining experience at the “other” all-you-can-drink wine restaurant, The Cottage.

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8 pm: Two friends and I enter the restaurant, and tell the woman at the desk we’re going to be five people. She gives us an attitude, and refers us to another Asian woman, who writes our name down on a list, telling us we can’t be seated until our entire party arrives.

8:15pm: We ask the woman if we can have some wine while we wait to be seated (Silk Road Palace gives its patrons wine while they wait). Woman does not even consider this a feasible possibility and says “No” immediately as she hurries away.

8:25pm: We see open tables, ask the hostess if we can sit down, and tell her we’ll order appetizers while we wait for our friends to show up. She says, flatly, “No.”

8:30pm: We tell the woman our friends won’t be joining us, and politely tell her we’ll take a table for three when it frees up.

8:33pm: Our friends call back and say they’re now going to come, so we tell the woman to switch it back to a table of five. She is clearly NOT happy with this, and acts like this is the world’s biggest inconvenience…like her sole job in life as a hostess isn’t to accommodate groups of patrons who want to eat dinner in her restaurant.

8:45pm: We discuss leaving The Cottage and going to Silk Road Palace, since we’re all starving and absolutely despise the hostess.

9:10pm: The hostess tells two men seated at a table by the door to leave, taps my buddy on the shoulder, points to the table, and says, “GO, GO, GO!”

The waitress comes over, we order our food, and she brings us a carafe of white wine. We ask for another (we’re five hungry, thirsty, pissed off alcoholics), and she says “No, finish this one first.” We finish it within seconds, and call her over to refill it. We also ask her to bring some noodles and duck sauce, to which she responds “OK.” We never saw those noodles, or any duck sauce.

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They bring out our appetizers within five minutes, but no wine. I’m not gonna lie, the scallion pancakes and steamed dumplings were delectable. We asked again for more wine, the woman nodded, and didn’t bring us more wine as requested. When the busboy came to clean up the appetizers, we asked him for more wine. He brought another carafe, and then we proceeded to watch the lady in charge scream at him in Chinese, basically destroying this poor guy’s life in front of the entire restaurant.

Our main courses came out soon after that, and once again, our wine glasses were empty. I ask the hostess for more wine as she passes our table, and I literally get waved off as she acts as if this is an absurd request. Completely appalled and fed up, I lean over to the empty table behind us, and take the half-full carafe that was left there, filling up my friends’ glasses. This got the attention of the lady in charge. She comes over and tries to take the carafe out of my hand, but I pull it back and finish filling our glasses. We tell her if she isn’t going to bring us wine, we’ll get it ourselves. Then she tells us “no more wine.”

Uh oh. No she di-innt! We say, “What do you mean? This is all-you-can-drink, and we’re not even finished with our main course, please bring us more wine.” She tells us the place is not in fact unlimited wine, and that we are mistaken. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I tell her “that’s a load of crap — the only reason we came here is because of the unlimited wine, stop lying to us and treating us like crap, this is absolutely atrocious.” My buddy tells her he called the restaurant earlier in the afternoon and asked if it was all-you-can-drink wine with dinner, and the woman he spoke to said flatly, “Yes.” The woman tells us if we want more wine, it’ll cost us $15. We tell her to bring us more wine, and we’re not paying for it. She begrudgingly abides, and tells us this is our “last one.”

In awe, I get the phone number off the menu, go outside, and call the restaurant. I ask, “is this the Chinese restaurant that serves unlimited wine with dinner?” The woman responds, “Yes! 77th and Amsterdam.” Haha, you just can’t make this up.

We received a bill of $58.50, left them an overly generous $1.50 tip, and got the hell out.

The people who run this place are rude, mean, unaccommodating liars, and made for one of the worst dining experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The food was good (and cheap), but if you want to get drunk off some free wine on the UWS and grub on some Chinese food, Silk Road Palace is where it’s at. I will never step foot in The Cottage again.

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20 Responses to “King of Ketchup ripped off by UWS Cottage’s “All You Can Drink” Wine”

  1. KingOfKetchup Says:

    needs to stop crying like a little girl.

  2. The REAL King of Ketchup Says:

    Just because you’re not of legal drinking age doesn’t mean you need to hate.

  3. DDR Says:

    I’m really taken aback by this story.

    First, your sneer about The Cottage’s name is itself ridiculous. The original The Cottage is in Union Square and has been doin its thang for at least 25 years, possibly as many as 40 or 50. My wife’s late grandparents were regulars there and she remembers eating there as a wee child, more than 20 years ago. So, the place is an institution. Possibly the oldest running chinese joint in Manhattan outside Chinatown?

    But I’m even more appalled that you got the steamed dumplings, because The Cottage UWS has the best fried dumplings on the UWS hands down. Your loss.

    Re the wine dispute: sounds like she was giving you a hard time but you were part of the problem. I have to say you do come off as an obnoxious frat boy in this story, even though the service was unacceptable. It’s like the old joke of a 500 pound man going to an all u can eat buffet and then proceeding to clean the place out. Why are you surprised that a restaurant (which happens to be a relatively upscale place as far as chinese UWS joints go) didn’t want to accomodate your request to sit there all night and get wasted? They provide free wine but it’s not a bar. Again, I say all of this recognizing that the service was terrible. I’ve gone there with groups of 4 many times and polished off more than a carafe on my own with nary an objection. Maybe your attitude was part of the problem.

    Also, serving alcohol to potential patrons (i.e., those who are waiting for seats but have not yet ordered) may run afoul of certain liquor laws/regulations, notwithstanding Silk Road’s policy.

    Finally, whether the PC people out there want to accept it or not, Chinese service companies (including restaurants) do not generally abide by American hospitality standards, and Chinese restaurants other than Shun Lee are not the most accomodating.

    I like the blog and appreciate your reviews, but I say frankly that you come off looking like an ass here. P.S. I have no connection to the restaurant whatsoever.

  4. The REAL King of Ketchup Says:

    DDR–obviously you didn’t read the review.

    a) There was nothing frat-boyish about the way we behaved. We were given attitude the SECOND we walked into the place, but we continued to be polite. So, we like to drink, maybe we drink faster than most other patrons. If that makes 2 guys and 3 women frat-boyish, so be it. The only time we started to give them attitude was when the woman blatantly LIED to us and told us it wasn’t unlimited wine.

    b) the fact that your wife’s grandparents were regulars at another place called “the cottage” 70 blocks away 70 years ago has absolutely NO BEARING on the awful manner in which we were treated that evening. I’m pretty sure the two awful women who were serving us weren’t the same people who worked at the cottage in union square in 1927.

    c) My buddy was the one who ordered the steamed dumplings, not me. If you’d like to take me out for some fried dumplings at the cottage sometime so we can bury this hatchet and you can see how rude these people are, name the date.

    d) Re: your comment about them not wanting to “accommodate our request to sit there all night and get wasted”…this is just flat out inaccurate. If you read the article, you’d see that we hadn’t even finished our APPETIZERS before they were being stingy with the wine. And they RUSHED the appetizers out! All we expected was to have wine on the table throughout the meal, regardless of how fast we wanted to drink it. You advertise unlimited wine — you come through with unlimited wine. It doesn’t say, “unlimited wine, except when we think you drink too fast or smell funny.”

    e) you write, “I’ve gone there with groups of 4 many times and polished off more than a carafe on my own with nary an objection” — who’s the frat-boy now? I can’t believe you wrote the word “nary” and I actually took the time to discredit your clemens-esque response.

    anyway, let me know about our date.

  5. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    DDR-

    For the record, I, NYC Food Guy, did not go to The Cottage. It was my friend King of Ketchup. Either way, I respect your opinion but I also respect King of Ketchups. He went there more for the wine than the food and was vastly disappointed by the service he received. I think calling him “an ass” is a little harsh, but we’re not afraid of a little controversy here. You have to understand, he’s just a guy who loves to drink and always tells it how it is and that’s what we’re about at THE NYC Food Guy, keeping it real. While I respect your allegiance to The Cottage, I can only hope that they redeem themselves in the future. Until then, thanks for your time and even more so, for your opinion, it’s the voice of the public that will keep this site alive. Look forward to hearing more as the reviews pour in.

    To that end, what are some of your UWS Top Spots, any cuisine?

  6. Pastrami on Rye Says:

    DDR,

    Let’s be civil here. I am going to give an unbiased opinion on the situation. It seems fairly obvious to me that you most certainly have a connection to the restaurant. KOK wrote a civilized opinion on his dining experience, and you clearly are taking it to heart. How do you have the nerve to call him a “frat boy”? Because he went to a restaurant that ADVERTISED unlimited wine? UNLIMITED WINE sounds to me, like a blatant advertisement for 20-year olds who want to get their party started with a little dinner. Just because the service was insufficient doesn’t mean you need to take KOK’s opinion personally.

    KOK – to be flat-out honest, you owned DDR with your response. I could not agree with you more. This guy/gal is a simpleton. A simpleton who has ties to the UWS Cottage.

    -Pastrami on Rye

  7. 1 Concerned Reader Says:

    NYC Food Guy,

    I think you should take it easy a bit. I think it was pretty obvious to your readers that King of Ketchup wrote this article and that you merely posted it. It clearly states in the title: “King of Ketchup ripped off by UWS Cottage’s “All You Can Drink” Wine”. Now I am no brain surgeon but I do know how to read. I don’t believe there is any need to add a disclaimer or edit in that King of Ketchup (and not NYC Food Guy) had problems with this restaurant. It is your site but I actually enjoyed the honesty and passion that King of Ketchup wrote with. Hey, if a restaurant sucks, I want to know about it!

    – 1 Concerned Reader

  8. DDR Says:

    NYCFG – Thanks for your response. You’re telling me your buddy went to a Chinese restaurant for the free boxed wine? Enough said. Unfortunately, UWS Top Spots is almost an oxymoron – other than Gennaro. I recently ate at Charle’s Southern (not a typo) and although it ain’t UWS, I found it vastly overrated.

    King of Ketchup (KOK?) – Thanks for your impassioned “rebuttal.” Your selective use of capitals allows the reader to feel your burning sincerity. Unfortunately, you didn’t win me over. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just concede that you must be correct – I “obviously didn’t read the review.” Nothing else would make sense, would it? As for your offer of a man-date, I’ll pass. I like the Cottage; you don’t. What would we talk about?

    Pastrami – “Let’s be civil here.” …. DDR “is a simpleton who has ties to the UWS Cottage.” You are a joke. Thanks for the laugh.

  9. The REAL King of Ketchup Says:

    I happen to love pastrami, and appreciate the support. let’s not allow one homophobic, illiterate alcoholic (DDR) to bring everyone in here down. Also, DDR, saying you’ve been to the Cottage with a group of 4 would imply that you have at least 3 friends, which is almost as believable as your claim that you have no connection to this craphole of a restaurant.

    And it wouldn’t be a man-date, don’t worry. I’m the guy, and you’re mi lady.

  10. Pastrami on Rye Says:

    DDR:

    I’m glad I made you laugh but I am no joke. Why don’t you, KOK and I all go meet up for dinner at your favorite UWS establishment. NYCFG can come as well! That sounds like so much fun, does it not?

    -Pastrami on Rye

  11. kingofketchup Says:

    I would totally do dinner. I don’t think NYCFG would want to put his rep on the line and risk being seen in public at that delightful table of 4 though. Don’t worry about not having enough to say, DDR, we’ll have PLENTY to talk about.

  12. Da Brotha Says:

    KOK- if you were so pleased with silk road palace why would you even bother going to the cottage…i dont think ive ever been to chinese with you do you douse your food with an entire bottle of ketchup there too?

    DDR- i still hate you for making fun of NYCFG on midtownlunch.com…plus you never seem to have anything positive to say except about the Steak Tips at Del Friscos which I’m actually about to go get

    NYCFG- Can you say goodbye lunch at Frisco’s on the department? Fuckin a i bet you wish I had a camera….i’m feeling BK Diner, Virgils, Hale & Hearty, Goodburger, and Burger Joint as the lunch lineup for next week….in that order….on dad

  13. asian fatty Says:

    whatever. is anyone really surprised? as a chinese guy myself i can tell you that the chinese are inherently judgmental/racist and they usually have shitty service…

  14. not an asian fatty Says:

    haha what an honest statement, asian fatty (i don’t think i’ve ever seen a fat asian, but i’ll take your word for it that you’re fat).

    asians are supposed to be hard-workers, willing to go that extra-mile to satisfy their patrons. happy endings are a perfect example.

    -mao tse tung

  15. o'doyle Says:

    silk road palace is the fuckin shizniiiiitttttttt

  16. Laurel Wright Says:

    hi
    8yrmdak1v9lj0v6f
    good luck

  17. Dr. Dyspepsia Says:

    Thanks to Laurel, for pointing out this page. I have absolutely no idea what your cryptic message signifies, but exactly one year ago today, DDR and KOK had a cage death match at this very place! Coincidence? That defies logic. On behalf of NYCFG devotees everywhere, I hope the mystery will unravel in the richness of time.

    DDR, for the record, I know KOK, and he is NOT a frat boy. No self-respecting frat would pledge him. And “nary” IS ridiculous.

    KOK, in the interest of balance and my editorial integrity, complaining about not getting enough box wine in a public forum, even under an implied contract, is not cool. But you did own DDR in the cage match, not that it really matters.

    Dr. D

  18. 8=======)tation Says:

    sounds like it was an express contract doc (they SAID it was all u can drink)…stick with the medicine

  19. Dr. Dyspepsia Says:

    I stand corrected, Your Honor. Regardless, it’s box wine. The King should be grateful that he was not given the opportunity to poison himself on that toxic waste.

  20. Olivia Peck Says:

    hi
    8yrmdak1v9lj0v6f
    good luck

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