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I've been once and enjoyed it immensely

August 23 2002 at 8:13 PM

  (Login ei8htohms)
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Response to Has anybody been to the French Laundry in Yountville ?

Hi Hans,

Dawn and I were lucky enough to be invited to go with some friends a couple years ago and we loved it. The tasting menu consists of about 11 courses (IIRC) so I think the menu you posted includes all the options that several of the courses had (at least three or four of the courses had two or sometimes three options as I recall).

It really was a wonderful experience. The restaurant is perfectly elegant without being stuffy or overly formal and the food is absolutely the focus. The waiter was incredibly knowledgable and friendly and selected some lovely wines for the guests that allowed him to (Dawn and I picked a couple of half bottles of wine ourselves on a whim, the wine list was amazing and quite varied). We seemed to be waited on by three or four servers dedicated to the small room we were in (we had a table of 8 in a room with three other tables of slightly smaller size, 4 and 6 I think) and they were all perfectly coordinated and the service was seamless. Even the busboys could tell you what was in every sauce down to the last herb. Truly, you graduate from working in some of the finest restaurants in the bay area to bus tables at the French Laundry.

The food was unlike any I've ever had before or since. It struck me as quite European so perhaps it would not seem so otherworldly to folks used to dining in the finest restaurants in that part of the world. Every course built on the last to a lovely crescendo with the fish and meat courses. Then the cheeses and deserts swept you off the earthly plane entirely. I had a white truffle ice cream float in white truffle soda that particular blew my mind. Even after the 11 courses and the 3 or 4 more rounds of chocolates, petit fours, etc. I did not feel overly full (although perfectly sated).

The one imperfection in the entire meal was that the espresso I had with desert was a little bitter. I know how hard it is to always get perfect espresso but it was sad to see the utter perfection of the meal sullied by one of the last items served.

My recommendations for anyone lucky enough to dine there are to bring a fat wallet and rent a room nearby. Dawn and I spent something like $450 for the two of us (and our wines were not exorbitant by any means) and really wished we could have walked to a hotel room nearby rather than driving back down to San Francisco (not a short trip). We would have enjoyed a little more wine and maybe even a cocktail and after dinner drink if the drive had been taken out of the equation. I also recommend inviting me to join you.

_john

 
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