You can find good food just about anywhere; some of the best food often comes from the kitchen of your very own home. There is a special feeling that comes from those simple dining experiences, but sometimes you crave adventure and gourmet extravagence.
The French Laundry aims to provide just that. Famous for their fine dining, Thomas Keller brings to the table an elite dining experience with lots of mastered culinary techniques and a touch of nostalgia. It is the true experience that we are happy to finally share with you.
Chef’s Tasting Menu 21 February 2014
Menu with a personalized title and all!
8 Courses with the option to upgrade on a few of the courses which I did with the
A little Champagune toast to get this party started!
We were interested in indulging in some wine while we enjoyed our glorious feast but were overwhelmed but the wine list, all of which is categorized by Varietal and also region on an IPad which is unique and fun. Our server took a little information about the type of wines we enjoy to drink, our budget and what menu options we intended to choose then came back with the first of our two bottles for our approval.
2011 Selbach-Oster Riesling
A very crisp and refreshing Riesling with the perfect amount of sweetness.
Fresh assorted bread and local sweet butter courtesy of Bouchon bakery.
Salmon tartare cornet with local chive and Créme fraîche (in the cone)
“Oysters and pearls”
“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters
and White Sturgeon Caviar
This is one of there “Signature dishes”, and it was amazing, seeing that we are big fans of tapioca and also oysters, we knew it was right up our alley. The tapioca was warm and the butter poached oysters just melt in your mouth, delicious! When first presented with the dish the amount of caviar seemed a little excessive but ended up being just right. We can see why is continues to rein on the menu!
French Laundry Garden Carrot Salad
Young Coconut, Cauliflower, Sicilian Pistachios and Mizuna
Fresh garden picked carrot and cauliflower paired with tender young coconut, pistachios, mizuna greens for a mild pepper flavor then drizzled with olive oil and fluer de sel. Naturally sweet salad, with nice baby carrot flavor.
“Heart and Sole”
Corned Veal Heart and Dover Sole “Rouelle” with Fork-Crushed New Crop Potatoes, Garden Turnips, Watercress and Caper Cream.
Now we are getting somewhere, this dish was great. All of the items that accompanied the veal/sole were artfully prepared but the sole is where it was at, a complex blend of flavor my palate had not fathomed before. A briny, buttery tender sole flavor blended with a sweet gaminess of the veal with the subtle hint of chive that could have not been sitting with out the caper cream. An excellent prepared dish for such delicate ingredients.
Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster
Broccoli Purée, Kishu Mandarins, Garden Radishes and Citrus Emulsion
Lobster…yum! Any form of lobster is all right with me, I loved the broccoli puree, it had a cool texture and intense flavor. I was not so much a fan of the citrus emulsion, it had great flavor but I thought it would have belonged more on a dessert plate. Overall, again, it was another tasty dish.
2006 Calera Pinot Noir
A light bodies Pinot with hits of cherry and plum with mild tannins. A delight!
Four Story Hills Farm Poularde
Poached Rhubarb, Young Fennel, Mustard Frills and Green Peppercorn Sauce
Chicken flavor at its finest, succulent local chicken that is housed in a flaky hat shaped buttery filo lying in a pool of velvety rich mahogany wonder.
Nikki's- Herb-Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Swiss Chard “Barbajuan,” Carmelized Green Garlic, Romanesco and Preserved Meyer Lemon
Mine- Charcoal-Grilled Japanese Wagyu
Sacramento Delta Asparagus, Preserved green Strawberries, Ruby Beets Brokaw Avocado and “Sauce Bordelaise”
Lamb- We don’t have lamb often but when we do it’s a treat, even still I don’t think we have ever eaten lamb like this. With the light greenery, meyer lemon, and carmelized green garlic it was fun to see which tasted best with this heavenly cut of meat. The Ravioli was crispy spinach, chard and cheese filled treat, which would be dangerous if there was a basket of them in front of me now.
Beef- There is beef and then there is Japanese Wagyu. With the reputation of sake massages and diets with large amounts of beer this is the beef of all beef and as odd as it sounds, it just works. This crispy little guy was just glistening with goodness, the flakes of sea salt melting, as the plate hit the table was glorious. This steak was meant for me and there was no one that could come between us, well except for Nikki, whom I gladly forked over a few hearty pieces to. The marbling inside was amazing, every steaks dream. The sides to the steak stacked up well, hearty asparagus and avocado and tangy berry were refreshing.
“Tomme De Brebis”
French Prune, Celery Branch, Pearson Farms Pecans and Black Pepper Shortbread
This was our cheese course. A classy set up with a creamy soft cheese, a dollop of rich prune jam with the shortbread to hold a solid base for each delectable bit. Sweet tender celery bits were randomly placed perfectly to make this a great cheese course.
Now bring on the Desserts!!!
“Assortment Of Desserts”
Fruit, Ice Cream, Chocolate and “Candies”
First dessert was a blood orange and green tea cake, black sesame tuile and dehydrated blood oranges.
The brown butter ice cream was amazing!
Next, dark chocolate cake with pistachios and key lime drops, very rich.
On to coffee and Doughnuts! Delicious fresh ground coffee and sugar coated doughnut holes was perfect for the food coma that was starting to set in. Keep the coffee coming!
Truffle time! A box of assorted flavored house made truffles arrived and they were no joke. Seven types to choose from, we each chose a few. Salted Carmel, PB&J, Key Lime, Raspberry and Smores.
Lastly they, for some reason, decided we needed chocolate covered macadamia nuts, which we were very happy to accept. They just ensured that our stomachs were not only full but also swollen! I wish I could have fit a few more of those suckers in but at this point it was not possible. We were stuffed to the max with happiness!
The check came on a hand written tag all summed up with gratuity included, which is nice at this caliber of a restaurant.
Once our tab was settled, our server brought our personalized menus and a small book about their purveyors in a nice navy blue embossed folder to take home as a souvenir along with a small tin of short bread cookies from the bouchon bakery.
We had heard a lot of opinions about The French Laundry, some good and some not so much. We went in with open minds and empty stomachs. Our experience was something truly special. I don’t know if it was the thought of a dining experience we would never forget, food we dreamed of trying one day or just the time spent together, we enjoyed ourselves to the fullest and look forward to our next food fueled getaway!