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Review of The French Laundry

The French Laundry
Ranked #3 of 29 Restaurants in Yountville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $50 - $240
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Creek Street
Temecula, California
Level 6 Contributor
418 reviews
290 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 254 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

The food was outstanding! The service was flawless! The hostess was very friendly and extremely accommodating. The waitstaff & Sommelier were perfectly in sync with one another. We never felt rushed nor did the evening feel contribed, quite the contrary, the waitstaff took pic's for us, were humourous at the appropriate times and we never felt like a number.

The service in itself was 'stellar" (I was skeptical about how that would play out during the evening) it could not have been better! We most certainly plan on returning.

The food, I am honestly at a loss for words, simply "undescribable" ....words do not do it justice, as far as i am concerned it surpasses anything I had imagined. I knew it would obviously be great, had no idea it would be that "amazing"...it was that & more. It exposed me to a new world of caviar, their caviar was to die for!!! The quail was incredibly tasty & moist (wish i had more) the beef was outstanding.

As the evening went on....it only got better & better...what a night!

I recommend the wine pairing ....their are "so many" great wines to choose from, adding the wine truly enhanced our dinning experince.

Benjamin took care of our table, he was top notch! He handled our kitchen tour as well as having chef keller sign our books. Chef keller was very accommodating as he allowed our party to take pic's with him.

The kitchen has a very peaceful zen feel, it was not what I expected. It was incredibly calming not to mention you can barely hear them talk amongst each other. Very tranquil back kitchen that's for sure. It's remarkable how Chef Keller & Chef Hollingsworth work under such serenity.

This is one business that is "NOT" overrated ....it nails the restaurant business model for great nothing short of pure success. By the way ad hoc is a must!

Kudo's to Chef Keller, Chef Hollingsworth & ALL of their waitstaff ....they truly have their hands on true greatness!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank billionsandnocure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“An experience!”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Given the reputation and the price, I arrived ready to be underwhelmed. I'm pleased to say it was more than I could have expected. The service was top drawer and every mouthful of every course savoured. I wouldn't do this every day, but it was definitely worth it this onces.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank tomnpatti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level 6 Contributor
50 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
“Unimpressive. EXPENSIVE!”
Reviewed March 20, 2013

Despite the fact that the restaurant is in small cute stone house, instead of being very cosy, the place is crowded and with no atmosphere! Avoid the upper floor.

There are 2 menus, 1 is vegetarian so we had the regular menu of 9 courses at US$270@. We asked for wine-pairing which they said they don’t offer, but instead will tailor-make according to each person’s preference and budget…. so we just ended up picking 5 wines (all by-the-glass US$20-40@). Keep in mind that the 9-course dinner is a TASTING menu so the portions are all bite sizes. We very much LIKE: the poach lobster, the beef sirloin, bread from Bouchon.

When it comes to serving a dish with aged balsamic, it was a very serious and formal “presentation” of the balsamic….. a waiter with white gloves presented the bottle of 100-year old balsamic vinegar to us and very carefully dotted ONE tiny drop (size of a small green pea) on our plate!!! We had no idea how this tiny drop can be mixed well with our plate of vegetables, and we had to scrape it off the plate to get a taste! Wish they had served the 50-year old and given us 2+ drops instead!

The service is professional but not particularly warm and attentive. We unfortunately were seated next to a couple who know the Restaurant Manager and so were treated especially well and were also offered at least 3 extra complimentary dishes which are not in the menu (which makes us feel even less special). They even get to visit the Chef, Thomas Keller, in the kitchen! Towards the end of dinner, when we and another table asked to meet the Chef, we were sadly told he is gone! Big disappointment once again especially since we just forked out almost US$800 for dinner for 2 (including wine for one).

Our dinner started at 9pm and lasted 3 hours which was shorter than what we have expected. I can see that other guests who came in much later than us are all finishing at about the same time – I guess the kitchen is rushing out food so they can close on time.

Overall….. A disappointment. It was a good meal, though not particularly amazing, and certainly not worth the price. Nice to have gone once, but unlikely will return.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
5 Thank Trendspott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“unbelievable and reputation is spot-on”
Reviewed March 20, 2013

We did not know how tough it was to get reservations and i called in 10 days before and they said we could put you on the wait list, we got THE CALL while just sitting down at Bottega and they said if you don't go, we will.

Our experience started with the hostess meeting us outside and making us feel special. And at the end, the manager personally thanked us for dining on short notice. They were gracious and made us feel warmly welcomed.

The entire experience was outstanding across the board, the service was awesome, everyone was friendly and extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of each of the 9 courses. We asked a lot of questions on each course and they patiently answered each that we understood the artistry. We asked one of the servers about the different ingredients in one course and she gave us a detailed explanation of the three types of radishes and how each complimented the other ingredients - simply incredible.

The meal was worth every penny, the wine - not sure it was worth the price - especially after enjoying tastings in the area of wonderful wines at a third of the price. (there aren't enough dollar signs below)

Based on our lucky stars, we should have played the lottery that day. Don't be afraid to put yourself on the wait list - best surprise we had on our trip.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank texowl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
415 reviews
217 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 188 helpful votes
“A Diners Destiny”
Reviewed March 20, 2013

It took 3 years of calling 60 days before my arrivals in St Helena to visit family (several times a year) and being put on a "wait list", before I was finally called back last week with 72 hours notice. The experience is extraordinary once you get by the reservations roadblock.

Our waiter was highly professional, friendly and very helpful with wine suggestions. The champagne (Gaston Cliquet) and red (Cobb Pinot Noir) are new favorites, not so much for the (nameless) Italian white that was too oaky.

The 9-course chefs tasting menu was full of delights and a few disappointments - due more to personal preference vs. skills in the kitchen. I must call out the care in providing comfortable chairs which are so important when one is going to be seated for nearly 3 hours of palate pleasing entertainment.

Several writers have mentioned kitchen tours, and take home chocolates - we were offered neither, but we did not ask. Once outside we did peer through the kitchen windows watching the show go on, not wanting the evening to end.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank pucgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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