The French Laundry

For those of you that know about The French Laundry, this post will probably cement the fact that you should go at least once in your lifetime and once you do, it will be clear that this experience is not about value for money or the quality and presentation of the food, but rather so you can tell people “OMG, I had a four-hour lunch at The French Laundry”!

The service and presentation was outstanding, i.e. they replaced your napkin if you left the table, new silverware with each course and at least two waitstaff set all four plates down at the exact same time while the head waiter announced what we were eating for each course.  Their website states a nine course menu but that doesn’t include two little appetizers to start, bread between several courses, and the additional two mini courses of chocolates.

I believe the menu is the exact same for lunch and dinner, so that should have tipped us off but we honestly did not expect lunch to take as long as it did. It actually became a challenge of sorts to remember what the heck we had ordered for the next course as time went on. To everyone’s suprise, Eric ordered the “Tasting of Vegetables” menu while the three of us went with the meatier “Chef’s Tasting” menu. To complement our meal we decided to order individual glasses of wine because the prices for a bottle of wine were way, way, over the top.

My personal favorites were the cauliflower puree with California sturgeon caviar, the tuna tartare (photo below), the Maine lobster with passion fruit and white chocolate, and the swiss “Scharfe Maxx” cheese with green apples.

As we were leaving we were given copies of the menu, which is the only way I would have been able to add the photo captions below.

tuna tartare re-imagined
tartare of Japanese blue fin tuna with globe artichokes, red radishes, garlic scapes, sylvetta arugula and black truffle vinaigrette

potato gratin re-imagined
one of Eric’s favorites: gratin of yukon gold potatoes with Meyer lemon “glacage”, garden relish, romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas and Maine lobster

the second of three dessert courses
one of three dessert courses and one of my favorite presentations of the entire meal

We half-joked that instead of this normal pose, we needed a shot of my dad with his empty pockets pulled out… we both really appreciated my dad taking us here and it will remain a once in a lifetime experience!