The French Laundry is one of the few restaurants in the United States to earn the coveted 3 michelin star rating and is consistently hailed one of the best restaurants in the world. Reservations are nearly impossible to obtain and they like to keep it that way. (I'll tell you how I got a reservation later)
Lets start with the service, I compare the service to a classical ballet. Every detail has been orchestrated and executed to the finest level of perfection and synchronization. They escort you to your table and the adventure begins.I will post pictures of the entrees however, I ate a few of them before taking photos so there will be a few gaps (sorry!) :)
# 1 First dish was a small pastry with a fine cheese in the middle, which literally burst in your mouth with the most unexpected intense flavor
# 2 Second entree was the oyster with sturgeon caviar it was simply amazing and the best entree of the meal, my dinner companion paid the supplement and ordered the ossetra caviar. (worlds second most expensive caviar) The ossetra itself was fantastic and the dishes primary goal was to focus on the caviar which was definitely highlighted in the dishIntermittent bites: they introduced two specially made butters, one delicate and soft, the other more complex and bold (the one shaped like a honey comb) All accompanied with a variety of fresh breads
# 3 We both opted for the macaroni and cheese with truffle, it was slightly salty since it had small chunks of hobbs bacon mixed in with all the flavors. The most impressive feature about this dish was during presentation, the server hand grates a huge truffle all over the top of the hand cut macaroni
# 4 The wood smoked sturgeon was nice and flavorful, perfectly cooked, with a nice crust of seasonings. Unfortunately this was one of the dishes I ate without taking a picture. Sorry :(
# 5 The Abalone was an interesting dish, I personally had never experienced abalone and was not happy with the texture. It was extremely chewy, almost like eating rubber. I did some research and this seems to be the norm for this giant sea snail. That being said, the seasonings and sauces accompanying the snail were very good. I ate the abalone for the experience but never again! If French Laundry can't make it taste perfect I highly doubt I'll be eating abalone again
# 6 The Peking Duck was wonderful, wrapped in some kind of phyllo? Nice and moist, you can't go wrong with cherries and duck
# 7 Lamb was also great, perfectly cooked, but by this point in the meal it's becoming very difficult to keep eating (The food keeps coming and coming and coming)
# 8 The Cheese and Date dish was fantastic, obviously a palate cleanser and for a good reason. The parade of desserts following are nothing to sneeze at
# 9 First dessert was a strawberry dish, It was excellent but it's one of the entrees I forgot to take a picture of.... sorry :(
# 10 Second dessert was a gelato with a crisp on top, also wonderful
# 11 Third dish was a very dense and heavy chocolate tart.....By this point I'm really glad I'm wearing a suit because I look pregnant
# 12 Fourth dessert was a special gift for the event I am celebrating, a wonderful raspberry mousse cake
# 13 For the fifth dessert, the server brings out a huge box with multiple hard chocolate candies of varied flavors. I selected the chocolate with passion fruit, However they had at least a dozen flavors to choose from
# 14 For the Final dessert, they brought doughnut holes (so soft, moist and delicate, they would be blown away with a stiff breeze) Also at this time they brought an assortment of macaroons, shortbreads and espresso with ice-cream. By this point I asked everything to be boxed and was unable to eat anymore
Wine: We asked the sommelier to pair a champagne and white wine with our dinner, for the red we brought our own.
The champagne chosen was a cuvee made specifically and only for french laundry, simply divine to drink.
The white was a complex oaky chardonnay 2011 Kongsgaard, made from grapes from the hyde vineyards. Anyone familiar with hyde vineyard grapes knows this is a fantastic bottle
Finally the Red, we brought a 2003 Clos Pegase Hommage Cab from our collection. It was a fine wine, but If i were able to rewind time, I'd have let the sommelier choose a red for us as well.
In conclusion to the meal, the server provides the check and escorts you to the front of the restaurant. I was impressed when a food runner 3/4 up the stairs saw our servers very slight and small jester, promptly turned around, went back down the stairs and waited for our server to escort us to the door. Truly superb service!
Now the bill, I won't mention the numbers, however, it was four figures and worth every penny.
I tried multiple tactics to get into French Laundry initially with zero success. Do not try to call the number when the reservation line opens... it's impossible to get through (and when you do all the tables are gone). Opentable is also impossible, no tables ever show available, even booking two months in advance (as required by this restaurant).I only had success booking a reservation using a credit card with a concierge service, I got exactly the date and time I requested and found it to be the most reliable method to get a reservation.
Hope you enjoy the photos and bon a petite!