The French Laundry

6640 Washington St. Yountville, CA 94599 • (707) 944-2380frenchlaundry.com

WINEormous-at-The-French-Laundry-in-Yountville-CA

Granted it takes selling a vital organ to get a reservation at this place. And the cost of dinner will be more than the airfare you paid to get there from JFK… AND, it’s hyped like no other restaurant on the face of the Earth- BUT, with all of that said, I can honestly say, it’s still pretty worth it.

The amuse bouche of salmon tartar on a cone filled with creme fraiche set the tone by giving my wife and I a simultaneous foodgasm right out of the gate – sorry for the TMI.

There were, however, a few courses here and there that were just okay, but then came the foie gras terrine with assorted salts including one dating back 40 million years! Now, while I do loves me some foie gras, I am more of a seared foie gras kinda guy – but I must say, this was the best terrine I have ever had.

And speaking of the “best,” the highlight of the meal was the rib-eye. Easily the Ultimate steak of my 44 year life.

A deconstructed cobbler for dessert was also quite stellar as were the little cookies and the amazing macadamia nuts rolled in chocolate, dusted with pistachio.

Then, as an added surprise, for my birthday they took us on a tour of the kitchen where they literally have a giant flat screen TV hooked up to a live feed with the kitchen at Per Se in NYC, so they can keep an eye on both places at once.

So why the four knives and not five? The decor is actually a bit of a let down to be honest. I know Keller likes to keep things minimal so as not to detract from the food, but I don’t buy it. I have been to many an amazing meal where the decor is jaw-dropping and in my not-so-humble opinion, actually ADDED to the experience. Just like service and presentation, which he seems to value greatly, as exhibited by the judicious use of great precision and artistry.

Also, one other pretty significant ding, compared to Cyrus (R.I.P.), I found the courses to be far more inconsistent. Some incredible. Some great. Some just okay. Whereas at Cryus, out of nearly a dozen courses, there was maybe one miss, with more than double the number of hits. And it was half the price.

Oh, and one more nit. We had a wine pairing with each course and I have to say, I have had better pairings at Frasca in Boulder, CO and at Aja (R.I.P.) in NYC.

But 4 knives is nothing to sneeze at. I sincerely can’t wait to go back- ideally on someone else’s dime.

4 teeth

The Ultimate Steak

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French Laundry – Yountville, CA

If you know anything about steak, then you probably realize by now that the best steaks are most certainly not served at steakhouses. Sure, they do a good job of it when you have to consider pesky things like quantity, but when quantity is no longer a factor, the sky’s the limit.

And speaking of the sky, the stratosphere is where this steak lives. A rib eye so selectively chosen it’s probably easier to win at Powerball than it is to make it onto one of Thomas Keller’s plates. This is no exaggeration. They literally only source one farm and from that farm, the cut they use is only the most tender portion of the rib eye, making it about a third to a quarter of the size you might find at other restaurants.

Now, all of this pomp and circumstance might seem like a bit much when all you want to do is sink your teeth into the side of a cow already, but I promise you that it is worth it. Because in that split second that your teeth penetrate the outer layer of steak heaven, it’s as though you have never truly eaten steak before in your life. And then you cry… tears of joy.