Restaurants are always looking to nab some publicity with insanely priced menu items. Usually they are made from the expensive and incompatible ingredients: truffles, foie gras, Wagyu or Kobe beef, caviar, gold leaf, etc. And usually they throw you a pricey souvenir like a diamond or something made of crystal.
Fleur, Chef Hubert Keller’s restaurant at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas jumped on the band wagon with a $5,000 hamburger. So what’s on a $5,000 burger? A few hundred dollars worth of Wagyu, black truffle and foie gras. Plus you get a bottle of Petrus 1995 — which retails for around $2,000 or $5,000 in a restaurant. It’s the real money piece.
CNBC wealth reporter Robert Frank gave the meal two thumbs up and incredibly the chef says 28 people have already ordered it.
But unfortunately, the $5,000 burger is a steal for the dishonest. With your meal, the restaurant includes the crystal wine glasses and the empty bottle of Petrus. Yes, they hand over the empty bottle, giving the entrepreneurial wine forger the means to scam.
Wine forgery has become big business for criminals with suave taste and the movie “Sour Grapes” recently brought mainstream awareness to the problem — by the way taking home empty bottle is exactly how Rudy Kurniawan forged his wines.
Sure handing out empties may seem like a fun souvenir for collectors, but it’s so easy to refill and reseal a bottle as desirable as a Pomerol Burgundy.
An empty bottle of Petrus is currently listed on Ebay, which restricts the sale of empty wine and spirit bottle due to counterfeiting operations, for $140. An empty bottle Romanee-Conti 1985 is asking more than $300.