Go to Auberge instead!.
I like to be offered a drink before dinner when I'm about to sit down for 10 courses. I had to ask twice and they would not serve our champagne until everyone had arrived at the table. 2/10 courses were truly magic. The others fell way short of the quality you get at Per Se.
I highly recommend the tasting menu at Auberge over the FL. The tasting menu has many similar items to the FL and the executive chef is actually there. There is a massive wine list comparable to Cru and the wine pairings (which we rarely choose) were excellent.
The view is beautiful and you can sit inside our outside. I was expecting Per Se in a California setting and it just didn't happen.
Simply the BEST Customer Service. Get ready to close your eyes, open your wallet, and sign a blank check. This is not your average restaurant. The service can be compared to no other. (Not that you would, but intentionally bump into a waiter and they blame themselves.) The winelist is filled with the finest wines imaginable. (But, if you bring your own, there is a bottling charge.) The tables are quaint and dressed with heavy linen and superior silver. The meal is prix-fixe ($240), differentiated by vegetarian or non with few options. In all, it was an endless journey of food and wine, continually peaking your sense of smell and taste. (Oh, don't pass on the foie gras. It is absolutely yummy!)
Nice, but not worth the price!. The French Laundry served up very good food. We had some clear favorites - tuna tartar and the oysters with tapioca and caviar. Food was pretty flavorful. But felt we have had better food elsewhere. Service was very good throughout the 3-hour lunch. They did forget to acknowledge my wife's birthday even though the hostess asked about it and said she would tell the server. So that was a little disappointing -- when you drop a few hundred dollars you expect them to remember details! Overall, a nice experience, however, you can get an equally nice meal elsewhere for less.
For the price we paid, I'd rather buy plane tickets to NY and do Babbo again. The food is everything it's said to be; Innovative. Interesting. Delicious. Noteworthy. Discussion inducing. Unfortunately, the menu has already "been there, done that". Everyone knows the salmon tartar in cones; the "oysters and pearls", the kobe beef, lobster poached in butter... Not everyone has tried it. But, if you have a few hundred bucks per person to spend, excluding wine, then by all means, have this experience. I can't call it romantic (too many lags between dishes; awkward!), but it is exhaustive. Four hours (two of which spent sitting next to a Japanese couple playing video games; our waitron kindly told them to put it away, after we complained), and a sommelier who just would NOT listen (thus giving us wines we didn't like and costing us $750 en total), we marvelled at some of the amazing dishes we were served. Go with the chef's tasting menu, and pay the extra for fois gras -- it is truly devine (until you go to France and realize that it's not so amazing at FL). The food goes on and on and on, and until you spend a simple evening at Babbo (not French, but then neither really, is FL, but truly amazing and entertaining), or a couple weeks travelling through france, you cannot know how (and I wince) pedestrian chef Keller really is at this point. Go because it's famous; go because you *must*, go because it's the French Laundry, but really, find yourself someplace quiet and exclusive in France, someplace exceptional in NY, like Babbo, or go to Japan and try a traditional Kaiseki-riori, and spend the same $1500 for 4 people, and you'll quietly remove yourself from Chef Keller's fan list. Not that it isn't good; it's just not all that when you compare it so many unbelievably excellent restaurants around the world. Now, if Keller would just come back to FL and come up with something new... then I might be impressed.
Once u get in the door the world stops, but u must get there first!.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend get me a reservation for two friends and me for my birthday and thought I had it made. The day of our reservation one of my guests was called into work at which time I notified the restaurant and they told me due to such last minute plans I would have to terminate the reservation. I was shocked by such a bold answer and immediately notified my dining guest. Her boss was familiar with the Laundry and told her to go and have fun, but it was a downer.
Once we got to Yonteville we couldn't find the place because street signs are little 3 foot high posts on the ground, not lit markers in the sky so we weren't sure if we were on Washington yet. So, we called the restaurant, but apparently after 6 no one answeres the phone so we just searched around Yontville until we believed we had found the place.
As we parked we got a call asking if we were coming and said we could find the palce and they sounded decent. That's when the experience began.
Once inside serves was almost flawless, leaving vary little to be desired. During the course of the evening I'd say we had 8 servers attending us, our head server was Kevin, and two Sommelior's. Service had a nice flow, always allowing for adequete time to order another bottle of wine :). Servers were professional, but nice, unlike the the ultra stuck up servers u find at inner city restaurants in SF or NYC this isn't the Ritz.
I chose the chef's tasting menu which covered all a Kellers bases with a few tricks up his sleeve. From the oyster and caviar to begin with to the little pastries at the end the food couldn't have been anybetter!!! The foie gras was a true treat... The wine list kind of finished of the whole experience seeing as how there were bottles in every price range and I mean every but it was great and truly well thought out.
For 3 we spent 1500, but it's worth it! Only live once!
Amazing, for a price. This is the best restaurant in the bay area, hands down. The food is spectacular, the setting amazing, and the service beyond compare. From the opening amous bouche to the final surprise package, the night passes quickly despite three hours of perfect food. When you're as good as the French Laundry, you can charge what you want, but I'm not sure it's that much better than other places. The wine list is amazing with finds, particularly with phenomenal half bottles, perfect for a couple.
Yummy!. The food was the best I've ever eaten, and the reservations were surprisingly easy to get. Just call at around 2 in the afternoon and ask if they've had any cancellations. Out of 7 phone calls, we found 3 openings, with one that we could make. I was surprised by how down-to-earth the food was! The flavors and textures were very warm and inviting, and the chef took full advantage of the season - we were served fish, lobster, quail, and lamb - all impeccably prepared. The sommelier was also extremely nice - we were very frank about our $150 wine budget, and he selected a glass of champagne each, and a half-bottle of white and one of red. It was well worth the $650 for the two of us, and this is coming from a grad student!
Wine Country's most famous restaurant elevates fine dining to an art.. A wooden clothespin at each table setting reminds you that this, perhaps the greatest restaurant in America, began life in the 1890s as a French steam laundry. The upstairs dining room of the two-story stone house is suffused with golden light at sunset, while a handful of outside tables bask in a fragrant rose garden. The main dining room bustles with anticipation for the nine courses that await. (There are two unique menus to choose from every day.) Master of the elaborate tasting menu, chef Thomas Keller gives diners just enough of each dish so they are pining for one more spoonful--that is, until the next tiny, jewel-like dish arrives. Typical of his masterwork are Oysters and Pearls (a poached malpeque oyster floating on a sabayon of pearl tapioca with a scoop of osetra caviar), Tongue in Cheek (a succulent marriage of braised beef cheek and lamb's tongue), and Coffee and Doughnuts (airy coffee semifreddo supporting puffy little beignets).
Disappointed. For all the hype about the FL, the experience fell way short of what this highly rated restaurant should be serving. Every single item out of their kitchen must be a "to die for" dish with no excuses for mediocrity. The small cone with tuna tartar and creme fraiche was just plain and uneventful. You'll get a choice of salad or foie gras. Don't pass up on the foie gras--it was fantastic!! The salad,which my wife had was boring. We found the dishes as they alternated were huge hits or misses. The lobster ravioli was out of this world good. The snapper was served semi rare and was fishy and bland. The hen stuffed with ham and foie gras tasted like a slab of smoked ham. The kobe beef was good but average when compared with any good steak house. The ballet walking servers is just silly. Save your money.
Overrated. After hearing so much about the French Laundry, I expected that the food would be phenomenal. Service was excellant. The ambience of the restaurant was also wonderful. The foie gras and lobster ravioli were phenomenal and did live up to expectations, but all the other dishes were not as consistent and were just average to good and not what I would expect from a restaurant that is lauded as one of the best restaurants in the nation (or even internationally). The snapper served was a bit fishy, the hen stuffed with ham mousse and foie gras just tasted entirely of ham, and the cheese plate was uneventful. Given the price (over $1300) for five people, every dish should have been a dish to die for.
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