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“Somehow manages to live up to all the hype...”
Review of The French Laundry

The French Laundry
Ranked #4 of 29 Restaurants in Yountville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $50 - $240
Cuisines: American, French
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Creek Street
Reviewed January 9, 2014

Which wasn't easy to do. I had expectations going into it of one of the best meals to be found anywhere and I was not disappointed. Service was exceptional and sommoliers recommendations were fantastic. I added on wherever I could and was rewarded for it. They gave us a tour of the kitchen in the end, which was a nice touch. If you're drinking wine and selecting some add-ons(for instance, white truffles on certain dishes,) you're going to get touched up for nearly a grand or more. But if you're a die-hard foodie or if money isn't the biggest issue to you and you're looking for an unforgettable dining experience, than this place will be well worth it.

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Thank Rocky Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 8, 2014

My fiancee and i Visited the French Laundry December 2013 and it was amazing. We entered he restaurant a few minutes prior to our reservation and I was immediately greeted by name. The meal was 12 courses 7 meals and 5 deserts. While it sounds like a lot, all plates were small and there was a lot of time between courses so you don't get stuffed. We are fast eaters and it took 3 hrs. So figure on at least 3 hrs. While the food was good, I have had better and some of the plates were just ok. The oysters and caviar is amazing.

The service was amazing and the staff was attentive to our every need. The restaurant itself is a bit small and can be cramped. At the end of the night we requested a tour of the kitchen and were fortunate to get to meet Thomas Keller and he was nice enough to take a few pictures.

The question has been asked if it was worth $270ea. And my answer is yes. Overall an enjoyable great night.

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1  Thank sd12580
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Went here for new years eve, the tasting menu was ridiculous. 10 courses and and additional 4 course for dessert. Everything was fantastic except the king crab in gelatin. Great service. Would definitely come again just not for new years eve given the price.

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Thank cesarbarba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

My daughter managed to book the private room for New Year's Eve. There were a lot of uncertainties and difficulties with the reservation staff over the course of several months, to the point that we weren't sure we had the booking until we actually arrived.
HOWEVER, the service and food completely made up for the earlier difficulties. French Laundry has tremendously attentive, professional, and personable wait staff. The food was amazingly creative, delectable, and beautifully prepared and served -- 9 courses and 7 desserts, plus 6 wine pairings. Portions were a bit small as you would expect, but no one left hungry. We capped off the evening by smoking some very rare cigars from their cabinet.
Such service, atmosphere, food, and wine come with a price, but if you afford it, you need to try it at least once.

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Thank wcs-eas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2014

My husband and I made our second trip to the French Laundry in December 2013. Our last dinner here was in April 2007. While the food has remained constant and quite wonderful, the service is definitely not to the level that it was in 2007. I remember my 2007 experience fondly, perfectly choreographed service with a warm, inviting, and welcoming feeling. Nothing seemed to be overlooked to ensure that you enjoyed your experience.

Unfortunately my recent experience was less enjoyable. Throughout the dinner we were made to feel rushed. It was as if they did not care we were there, they just wanted us in and out. It started with the pre-dinner drink request. They do not serve cocktails, so you can only get wine/champagne. While we waited for the sommelier, the server decided to take our order. When the sommelier had helped us to select a wine, we took a breath to relax and boom the first course came. We still did not have our wine. Moreover, when the sommelier did bring over the wine, he indicated that he thought the bottled was corked and that it was the last bottle. He suggested another wine, which was great, but we were looking at our first course and still had no wine. I politely asked the server the cover the dish (to keep it warm) while we waited for our wine. She walked away and never covered the dish, nor did she apologize for the quickness of the course coming out and the lack of communication with the sommelier to ensure that the wine was on the table being enjoyed before the meal started.

As the courses arrived, I remembered from my 2007 trip that a team of servers would approach the table and place the plates on the table beside each person at the exact moment. It was beautifully choreographed and impressive. This was not the case during our latest trip.

One of the weirdest, and in my opinion rudest moments, of the meal was while we were enjoying our first wine. We had selected a white wine for the first 5 courses and then moved to a red for the remaining courses. We were slowly enjoying our white wine with each course. Evidently were we not moving fast enough, as the server came over and poured the remaining amount of white wine from the decanter (which was basically still about 1.5 glasses full) directly into my husbands glass and walked away. He did not even attempt to divide the remaining wine among us. It was so bizarre and a moment that I have never experienced at a fine dinning establishment. It was definitely another illustrative moment of the staff wanted to rush us out the door.

From a service perspective, the whole night seemed to be about rushing you through your dinner and quickly out the door. It almost felt like being at an amusement park, or dare I say it, a tourist trap. This is not what a person who enjoys fine dining wants to experience.

I have spent most of this review talking about service because it was not at the level that it should have been. The food on the hand was beautifully prepared and tasted amazing. I continue to be amazed at the culinary skills of Chef Keller and his team.

Finally, I have eaten at most of Chef Keller’s restaurants and have had great experiences at all them. I truly appreciate his cuisine and it pains me to have say negative things about the service at French Laundry. Who knows, maybe the staff was just having an off night, but unfortunately, an off night is not something that the French Laundry, at its reputation and prices, should have. I hope this feedback helps to improve the service for future diners.

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3  Thank MartinH_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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