Tuesday, July 2, 2013

French Laundry

My sister is a magician at being able to get a reservation at French Laundry.  She did it again this past weekend for my birthday.  It's been a few years since I was last here for dinner and it is still top notch.  French Laundry has been awarded three stars in the Michelin Guide to San Francisco.  Service is impeccable. Though the dining room is very classy the staff is friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed and not at all stuffy.  I couldn't find anything but good things to say about the service.  The ingredients are super fresh.. a lot of the vegetables and herbs come from right across the street where there is a large garden for the French Laundry.
It is a very under stated building that dates back to the 1900's and is on the National Registry of historic places.  It used to to be a French steam laundry hence the origin of it's name. 
It was my birthday that night and the menu was printed up for the occasion, now that is a very special touch.  Everything that evening was all about my birthday.
amuse buche.  A sesame cone with a filling of creme fraiche and a smoked white fish I don't remember what it was other than it was delicious and I wanted another one.  It used to be smoked Scottish Salmon but this was a newer variation.  There were  also some amazing gougeres-choux pastry puffs filled with delicious cheese filling
Now one of my favorite things.. Oysters and Pearls.  Sabayon of Pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White sturgeon caviar.  
Chilled Garden Carrot Soup: Hearts of palm,Medjool Dates, Cilantro puree and Madras curry
Wild Columbia River King Salmon: German Butterball potatoes,Compressed cucumber, watercress and horseradish creme fraiche
Butter Poached Alaskan King Crab: Slow roasted cherry tomatoes, Brokaw avocado puree,petite lettuces, Greek bottarga
Wolfe Ranch White Quail: Glazed Royal blenheim apricot,ruby beets,toasted brioche and Komatsuna (Japanese herb sprout)
Marcho Farms Nature-Fed Veal: pickled ramps, turnip "Lamelles", celery branch and creme de morilles
"Ratatouille": "Tomes de Brebis (mild sheep's milk cheese),Nicoise olives,Fino verde basil, and sweet pepper essence
sorbet course- Bing cherry sorbet,pine nut bavarois and whipped cherries
Dessert: Dark Treacle:Devils food, Valrhona chocolate "Marquise,"Lyles's Golden Syrup, and Marshmallow Farms burnt honey ice cream

my birthday dessert- which was light and delicious  but I don't remember what it was    

And if those desserts weren't enough they brought out a big box of Truffles and said pick as many as you'd like.  These were the Salted Caramel and the Dark Chocolate
AND then out came a cup of Cappuccino Creme and donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar
AND toasted chocolate covered Macadamia nuts rolled in powdered sugar
AND as a finale.. a tin of short bread cookies and since it was my birthday I got a little pack of three chocolate bars.         

With each course the tasting left you wanting another helping then out comes the next course and you want more of that one..yes portions are small but by the end of the meal you are more than satisfied.
Yes, dining at the French Laundry is an amazing experience and I've been lucky to experience it several times now.  I hate to say this but this time as amazing as all the dishes were I just didn't have that "wow" experience I had  before.  The last times that I had dined here every course was almost an epiphany of food..an "Oh my god can food really taste like this?"  This time even though everything was delicious there just wasn't that "wow" factor.  Our whole table had the same feeling.  Are we just getting jaded?  Is this getting old hat since many restaurants are now doing pix fixe tasting menus, are they falling into a rut?  As much as I enjoyed my experience it was a little bit of a let down.  Saying that, would I go back again given a chance?  YES, in a hot minute!

French Laundry  check out the website for more information.
6640 Washington Street
Yountville  CA  94599
707 994-2380

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