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Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

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Oklahoma City...
Destination Expert
for Oklahoma, Grove
posts: 4,454
reviews: 58
Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Best friends (4 of us) celebrating our birthday and would love a French Laundry type experience with food/wine pairings, several courses, 2-3 hour dining experience without the $240 price tag. Some in this same group went to The French Hen in Tulsa, had 9 courses, each paired with wine for $100 per person and it was superb. Here is a current 4-course menu:

http://frenchhentulsa.net/events/

Any suggestions for this type of dining experience in Napa?

We've rented a cottage (http://napasanssouci.com/) less than a mile from downtown Napa and would like to walk or take a cab so we don't need a designated driver. Thanks for any suggestion you might share,

Dublin, California
posts: 10,285
reviews: 30
1. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Ad Hoc?

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 20,548
reviews: 114
2. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

He has Bouchon and Ad Hoc as well which are not that expensive. Others include La Toque and for the best tomato soup in CA (IMHO) Bistro Jeanty.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 4,548
reviews: 38
3. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

>>experience with food/wine pairings, several courses, 2-3 hour dining experience <<

While Ad Hoc, Bistro Jeanty and Bouchon are quite good, they are not the same type of experience that you're asking for (I don't believe any of them offer a multi-course tasting menu). Redd offers a 5-course tasting menu for $125 pp including the wine pairing. Etoile at Domaine Chandon has a 4-course tasting menu for $165 including wine.

Oklahoma City...
Destination Expert
for Oklahoma, Grove
posts: 4,454
reviews: 58
4. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Thank you for all your quick replies. I will check each and every suggestion to find the experience we are all looking for.

St. Helena...
Destination Expert
for Napa Valley
posts: 896
reviews: 37
5. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Consider The Restaurant at Meadowood's (Michelin 3-star rated) tasting menu: 'The Restaurant offers a Chef's Tasting Menu each evening of nine or ten courses

for $225 per person. Wine pairings are offered for each course for an additional $225 per person. Should you wish to make a selection from the wine list, The Restaurant has a wonderful cellar with more than 1200 labels.' Located east of St. Helena.

www.meadowood.com/dining/the-restaurant

May not meet your criteria for a 'poor man's FL', but certainly provides the exquisite tasting menu you're after.

Edited: 10:24 am, May 11, 2013
Oklahoma City...
Destination Expert
for Oklahoma, Grove
posts: 4,454
reviews: 58
6. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Sounds amazing, but definitely a budget killer, Nancil. I wish to spend about half that. Maybe fewer courses?we did a 4-course chefs tasting, with wine, in Paris a couple of years ago, at a restaurant with a well respected chef for about $100. Surely there's something similar?

Oklahoma City...
Destination Expert
for Oklahoma, Grove
posts: 4,454
reviews: 58
7. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Here is an exempt from my trip report (From Paris With Love), of a chef's tasting we did in Paris a couple of years ago with Chef Delage, who has the reputation of being one of the finest new chefs in Paris. It describes what I'm searching for. It cost the equilivent of about $100 with wine paired with each dish. From my trip report:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k37664…

Here is an excerpt:

"After a glass of wine, we left, found the nearest metro station, and off we went to our evening meal at Jadis, in the 15th, where Chef Guillaume Delage is at the helm."

"Chef Delage is considered one of the finest new chefs in Paris and has been highly recommended by our leader's daughter, a serious foodie, who had sought him out on her last trip to Paris. We were ripe with anticipation and were not disappointed. Three of our group has the prix fixe menue of steak and sides and our leader and I had the chef's tasting menu. While the food was delicious, the service was aloof. When you do a chef's tasting menu, you put yourself in the hands of the chef and let him decide what your dinner will consist of. The problem here was, we had no idea what we were eating at times and the waiters couldn't or didn't want to understand what we were asking them to tell us. When I've done chef's tastings in the past, the waiter announces what the dish is as he presents it to you, then will discuss the cooking techniques, sauces, seasonings, wine selections, etc. At Jadis, they plopped the food down and were gone. My best guess is we had sardines on top of greens with a sauce, skate on a lovely purée, ham of suckling pig, a sorbet made of lemon vodka and a chocolate dessert. All were we'll prepared and delicious."

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 32,612
reviews: 344
8. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Bips, you might go ask the question on Chowhound.com for San Francisco (that covers the Napa Valley).

What you are looking for is the chef before he becomes famous and in demand and his prices zoom with demand.

Napa is pretty small area so you may not find that up and coming chef doing a nine course tasting menu. You might have better luck in SF. Are you flying into SFO or Sacramento?

Oh..... but any of the spots mentioned by belo will give you great, really great food at a reasonable cost.

Edited: 12:07 pm, May 11, 2013
Oklahoma City...
Destination Expert
for Oklahoma, Grove
posts: 4,454
reviews: 58
9. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Yes, scottca, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I always research on my own, but usually end up finding these brilliant new chefs here on TA. As to 9 courses, I'd settle for 3 or 4. And, to be clear, we would spend a bit more, if I can't find exactly what I'm looking for, but find a new discovery much more interesting than a well know, reliable and established eatery. I have until June 2 to make reservations, two months from the date of the dinner I'm planning on August 2 (my 39th anniversary). This is my dear hubby's present to me.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 4,882
reviews: 22
10. Re: Is there such a thing as a poor man's French Laundry?

Terra is one of the top restaurants in the Napa Valley. You can put together off their menu a 4 - 6 course dining experience for less than $100. Wine would be extra.

http://www.terrarestaurant.com/