The Ultimate Foodie Experience: The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

How lucky can a girl get? Not only have I been to The French Laundry in Yountville, in the Napa Valley twice, I was treated on both occasions by my foodie cousin who kept his finger on speed-dial until he succeeded in getting us a reservation, the required two months out. (Editor’s Note: This restaurant from celebrated Chef Thomas Keller is one of the most highly regarded in the SF Bay Area and has garnered global recognition.)

People often ask me — is it worth it? — referring to the restaurant’s notoriously pricey menu. And, I have to say… honestly, yes, if you are looking for a true dining experience, not just dinner out. And, obviously, if you can afford it!

On our first visit, Bob had the 9-course Chef’s Tasting Menu and I ordered the Dinner Menu which consisted of five courses. But mind, you, when we say courses, these are mini portions. And the whole affair plays out over three hours, so there’s plenty of time to savor and digest every morsel.

We left the wine pairing to our waiter, Larry, who surprised and delighted us with the perfect selection for every course. One of our favorites of the evening was the Patz & Hall Chardonnay. On our second visit, we both dined from the 9-course Chef’s Tasting menu. This time, the sommelier selected the wines to complement our various courses. Each day’s menus are designed by Chef Thomas Keller and his staff to take advantage of the best seasonal items available. What sets their creations apart is the innovative — and unexpected — combinations of ingredients. And each dish set before you is exquisitely presented.

The menu changes daily so if you look at their Web site, don’t count on finding the exact same offerings when you go. But there are a few repeat items such as the tantalizing “oysters and pearls? featuring poached Beau Soleil oysters floating on a sea of pearl tapioca and finished with a scoop of Russian caviar.

In 2004, Chef Keller brought his Napa Valley concept to New York at Per Se. Here, overlooking Central Park, you can enjoy a menu of American food with classical French influences. As in Yountville, the menu changes daily according to seasonal choices.

THE FRENCH LAUNDRY
W: www.frenchlaundry.com/.
A: 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599.
T: 707.944.2380

Reservations :
Only by phone at 707.944.2380 or online at OpenTable.com only. Walk-in reservations are not accepted. According to OpenTable.com, “The French Laundry’s intimate dining room has 16 tables. The average dining time is 3-4 hours per table. Reservations are in high demand as The French Laundry has received global recognition for its award-winning cuisine and service.”

Jackets are required for both lunch and dinner service.
Ties are optional. No jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or tennis shoes.

Posted by Lanny Udell on December 09, 2006 in Food

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