I wanted to love this experience; I had waited so long, and I have read ALL the books. Thomas Keller was my hero. I sous vide at home. But I’ve got to ask: What happened to the Emperor’s clothes?
The Short Story: Nine small courses; some wonderful, others not worth finishing. Most courses were of a very traditional/Continental style with few surprises. Most wine recommendations were unpardonably askew of our requests and defy my best attempts at coming to a charitable explanation. Service was generally very attentive, but our primary server was pretty snarky. Upon later review of our commemorative menu, we realized that one entire course near the end was omitted. (!) Be sure to save room for the desserts- especially the off-menu “Cappuccino,” candies and other delights at the very end. $1400 for two including wine, supplements and tip. My rating is based only on quality / palatability of the food, wine and service we received, it does not consider price.
More Details: Wine is offered by the bottle, half-bottle and some by the glass. I highly recommend going by the glass so you can try a taste before you commit. The wait staff will make recommendations based on what types of wines you tell them you like. But be warned! We asked for recommendations for half-bottles of white wine to pair with the early courses – we specified that we really liked crisp, dry white in the Chablis style (either domestic or international) with very little oak. Our waiter “knew just what we wanted” but opened cloyingly sweet (the OPPOSITE of dry) wines or some of the oakiest whites I have ever had. (Seriously: They even brought us an oaky Meursault! An oaky Sauvignon Blanc!) We have never had this experience in the HUNDREDS of times we have asked waiters and sommeliers to assist us with pairing their wines to their menu. And guess what: Once those bottles are opened – you’ve paid for them! Even though we followed THEIR recommendation, there was never an offer to bring us even half a glass of something we preferred. So be safe and go by the glass!!!
Regarding attitude: Most restaurants, even the other Michelin-starred restaurants we frequent, convey with some sincerity that they are happy to see you. At the French Laundry they transmit that you are lucky to be there.
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