As part of his essential "The Bad Deal" series about dining industry rip-offs, restaurant critic Ryan Sutton has taken dead aim at celebrated restaurateur Danny Meyer (Gramercy Tavern, Shake Shack, etc.). Sutton's beef has to do with a "deal" being offered by The Modern, Meyer's restaurant at MoMA, which offers a $210 picnic basket with a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot. The good news is you get to keep the picnic basket. The bad news is that it doesn't actually come with Veuve Clicquot. Sutton explains:

You reserve the picnic basket 48 hours in advance. But you wait a month to redeem the champagne. To understand why this is such a BAD DEAL, let’s pretend a guy named SUTTON is roaming the mean streets of Midtown Manhattan when a hairy fellow wearing a green bowtie pops out of a dark alley and tries to hawk this deal. We’ll call that guy YOGI.

YOGI: Hey man, wanna buy a pic-a-nic basket? $210 bucks.

SUTTON: That’s pricey for for a… . oh wait, are you selling me drugs?

YOGI: No man, it’s just a picnic basket for two from The Modern. Check out this photo on Gilt City’s website. You get caviar, gazpacho, liverwurst, quail terrine, arugula salad, salmon rilettes, panna cotta, a brownie and champagne.

SUTTON: What kind of champagne?

YOGI: Half-bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Thing is, we don’t actually give you the champagne when you pick up the picnic basket.

SUTTON: Come again?

YOGI: Yeah, probably some legal thing. So you don’t get the champagne until you return to the restaurant’s terrace.

SUTTON: But the Veuve Clicquot is photographed INSIDE the picnic basket on Gilt City’s website.

It's true. Or, it was... It seems they've deftly changed the image? Sutton points out that what really makes this such a raw deal is that you can get a four-course meal for two at The Modern for $196, and that comes with chairs. And according to Sutton, the champagne is marked up 200 percent! We dutifully reached out to Meyer's publicists at Union Square Hosplitality Group, and spokesperson Leah Herman had no comment, but "thanks for checking." After we pointed out that they'd already given a statement to the NY Observer, Herman replied, "We have nothing further to add to that." So here's what they told the Observer. There will be no encore:

The post on The Bad Deal website is a misrepresentation of what The Modern is offering the Modern Picnic Basket for $210 includes an eight-course meal for two people, with offerings like caviar, homemade liverwurst, salmon rillette, and quail terrine. The picnic basket was not advertised as featuring a bottle of Champagne- rather we wanted to invite guests to enjoy MoMA’s beautiful Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden by offering them a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot to be enjoyed on our outdoor Terrace. Come fall, we will begin serving a Terrace Menu, but in the meantime, the Terrace is currently open only to our Dining Room guests for aperitifs or coffee accompanying their meal.

Anyway, the takeaway here seems to be that anyone willing to pay over $200 for a picnic basket probably doesn't give a shit they're not getting a bargain. What a world!