As Donny recounted here, we were extremely lucky to secure a table at the French Laundry during our short stay in Yountville CA.
When you google The French Laundry, perfection is a word that is synonymous with the numerous reviews that appear, and after our experience at this restaurant I cannot think of a better word to describe the few hours we were lucky enough to have at 6640 Washington Street.
Not only is the service polished and the quality & presentation of each dish impeccable, but each minute detail in the appearance of the restaurant has been thought about – from the wooden pegs that adorn your beautifully pressed napkin, to the prints on the softly glowing lights.
It was also no surprise, after reading through Thomas Keller’s book Ad Hoc At Home that we had three very different salts on our table at one stage! (For those who haven’t read a Keller cook book, he is incredibly particular about the type of salt that should be used for different dishes).
The restaurant serves a set menu so we only had a couple of very simple decisions to make – between the tasting of vegetables or the ‘regular’ chef’s tasting, and unlike some tasting menus we actually had a choice of two dishes for 4 of the 9 courses! Opting for the chef’s tasting menu, our next decision was quite simple as we decided to order one of everything and share the differing plates
Our wine choices were also quite simple as we left ourselves in the hands of our wonderful Sommelier, so after a glass of Champagne with our scrumptious appetiser, we started out with a French Chablis and moved onto a local red.
I’ll let our pictures do the talking for the most part in the following, only saying this… unlike many other of our restaurant experiences there was no low point, nothing that didn’t quite make the mark and as a result, I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite dish as everything was well, perfect!
Course 1: Oysters and Pearls
Course 2: Sorrel Veloute & Moulard Duck ‘foie gras au torchon’
We took our time eating this decadently rich dish and were surprised when our waiter came and replaced the accompanying brioche to ensure what we were eating was still beautifully warm and fresh!
Course 3: Sauteed Fillet of Atlantic Black Bass & Grilled Florida Coast Pompano
Course 4: Georges Bank Sea Scallop “Poelee”
Course 5: Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit Sirloin & “Tete De Cochon”
Course 6: Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Rib-eye
Course 7: “Comte Reserve”
Course 8: Marshall Farm’s Wildflower Honey Sorbet
It wasn’t long after this course that we experienced our next surprise of the night – a mini birthday cake for Donny, which must have been as a result of our more than wonderful waiter, who obviously gleaned the information from our conversation about what brought us to the USA, and The French Laundry. We haven’t experienced many restaurants in Australia that give you anything when you’re dining on your actual birthday, let alone nearly a month later!
Course 9: “Coeur de Guanaja Mousse au Chocolat” and “Delice aux Pistaches”
It was almost like this menu was tailored to Donny and myself as I typically prefer a lighter fruity dessert while Donny is a chocolate fiend!
It mustn’t be unusual for patrons to be feeling full to the brim by this stage as we were asked if we’d like to have our final tastes of the night packaged up to take with us, which we gladly accepted. It wasn’t long before we were presented with a crisp white bag full of our chocolates in a beautiful box, and the other treats (including a bonus bag of shortbread!) packaged and tied with ribbons adorned with the peg insignia of the restaurant.
The French Laundy is indeed an amazing experience, one which we both hope to be able to enjoy again in the future.