Have Two Open Spots at The French Laundry in Napa Tonight 5/24

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by Vik Murthy, May 24, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Vik Murthy
    Original Member

    Vik Murthy Silver Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    52
    Status Points:
    180
    Greetings, fellow Milepointers,

    As a result of a (literally) last-second cancellation from some friends that should expect to be in the doghouse for years, my wife and I have two open spots at our 4-top table at The French Laundry restaurant in Napa. The reservation is for tonight at 7 p.m.

    If you or anyone in your circle knows of a couple of folks who would like to join us, please have them drop me a line.

    Thank you kindly.

    P.S. If posting this here on Milepoint is considered bad form, please accept my apologies.
     
    uggboy, theBOAT, iolaire and 10 others like this.
  2. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,948
    Likes Received:
    9,455
    Status Points:
    7,525
    I only wished I lived in CA. The French Laundry is on my wife's bucket list!
     
    uggboy and yaychemistry like this.
  3. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,384
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Status Points:
    1,445
    Entirely the opposite I would say. Only bad form in that you did not manage to have this occur when I was in San Francisco.
     
    uggboy, paladin87, legalalien and 2 others like this.
  4. dhammer53
    Original Member

    dhammer53 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    Likes Received:
    2,928
    Status Points:
    1,470
    I hear BYO (bring your own wine) is $90 corkage. :eek:
     
    SC Flier, uggboy and perryplatypus like this.
  5. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,948
    Likes Received:
    9,455
    Status Points:
    7,525
    Sounds more like a screwing fee. Do you think they would charge me a corking fee for my box of wine? :)
     
    LIH Prem, Flyer1976, uggboy and 3 others like this.
  6. aptraveler

    aptraveler Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,756
    Likes Received:
    18,989
    Status Points:
    10,675
    Hope you have a great time! :)

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
    uggboy and perryplatypus like this.
  7. euromannn
    Original Member

    euromannn Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    8,619
    Status Points:
    7,070
    BYOU(utinsiles)!
     
    uggboy and perryplatypus like this.
  8. theBOAT
    Original Member

    theBOAT Silver Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    278
    Status Points:
    545
    I wish my wife & I didn't have to cancel our trip to Napa last week (health reasons), as we would have loved to join you at the FL!

    theBOAT
     
    uggboy, aptraveler and perryplatypus like this.
  9. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    981
    Status Points:
    750
    Dinner report?
     
  10. Gaucho
    Original Member

    Gaucho Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,640
    Likes Received:
    13,407
    Status Points:
    11,795
    Amen !!
     
  11. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Wine report too please.
     
  12. aptraveler

    aptraveler Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,756
    Likes Received:
    18,989
    Status Points:
    10,675
    Hear, hear !!! :D
     
  13. uggboy
    Original Member

    uggboy Gold Member

    Messages:
    50,181
    Likes Received:
    133,438
    Status Points:
    20,020
    How was your dinner? Wine? Service? Thank you!:)
     
    perryplatypus and Espan like this.
  14. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    not bad form at all, thanks for offering up the opportunity to us MPers !!

    suggestions:
    1) erase your email from post #1

    2) please post a dinner report as it seems many are interested, myself included:D
     
  15. Vik Murthy
    Original Member

    Vik Murthy Silver Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    52
    Status Points:
    180
    Sweet Willie,

    Thanks for the suggestions. Per your second request, I would summarize the experience by saying that the food was absolutely magnificent and, yet, was still eclipsed by the service. Here's my longer-winded take ...

    As we couldn't find two additional dining partners on such short notice, we made a quick day trip to Yountville with our 8-month old in tow to first stop at Bouchon bakery, then take a quick stroll around the delightful French Laundry herb garden across the street from the restaurant and finally to beg for forgiveness from the restaurant (as we didn't want to be on the financial hook for the two additional seats). To our pleasant surprise, the French Laundry manager who greeted my wife and son (I hid shamelessly in the car since I was dressed like a schlub) was very cool and changed our 4-top reservation to a 2-top reservation without hesitation.

    At 6:15 pm, a babysitter recommended by the same friends who stood us up for dinner showed up at our hotel to look after our little one (first time he was babysat by someone not related to us). We then made the 15-minute drive from Napa to Yountville. Since we were a good half hour early for our 7 pm reservation, my wife and I took some pictures by the French Laundry herb garden to kill a little time. Ten minutes later, we walked to the restaurant expecting to have to cool our heels for a little bit. Yet, literally a second after introducing ourselves to the maitre d', we were escorted to the table. By the way, the French Laundry is located in a distinctive stone building that served as a French steam laundry in the 1920's. Pretty cool, no?

    Despite the price point and decor, the restaurant felt incredibly friendly, inviting and unpretentious. Our server was a fellow Midwesterner (from St. Louis, five hours southwest of us) and couldn't have been warmer or nicer. After inquiring about our inspiration for dining, he congratulated us on our 10th wedding anniversary. Thereafter, he didn't skip a beat when I mentioned my dietary restrictions (no red meat, pork or game) and graciously allowed both my wife and me to substitute preferred dishes from the vegetarian menu. My wife ended up doing the wine pairing (mentioning that she had a strong preference for reds and that she didn't want to break the bank) while I opted for a half bottle of Gewurztraminer to accompany my meal. The Sommelier not only honored our requests, but did so without making us feel awkward or self-conscious.

    Our meal began with a welcome glass of champagne and Thomas Keller's signature appetizers (the same you'd find at Per Se in NYC) of a cheese gougere and a salmon, caviar and creme fraiche "ice cream cone." Even though we knew what was coming, we were in epicurean heaven.

    Thereafter, and as instructed by friends, my wife and I both opted to pay the supplement for the Oysters and Pearls starter, which was a combination of tapioca pearls, oysters and caviar. The dish was unbelievably good ... delicate, decadent and sexy, all at the same time.

    From there on out, the meal starts to get a bit hazy for me, due to the time that has passed since the date in question. I do remember being blown away by a butter-poached lobster tail dish served with cherries (and I am normally ambivalent about both lobster and cherries) and by the bread accompanying our meal (sourced from Bouchon). I also had a couple of courses from the vegetarian menu, which included a delicate pasta in a rich cheese sauce and the French Laundry's playful and refined take on a grilled cheese sandwich. Of the six or so courses that followed the appetizers, I found four to be spectacular and two to be just okay (the cheese sauce in the pasta struck me as being just a touch too salty and a chicken dish, while artful, was somewhat lost on my crude palate).

    The meal was capped with dessert courses. The first was a praline and banana combination for me that was inventive and tasty without being too sweet. Concurrently, my wife enjoyed a Meyer Lemon sorbet with pound cake. That was followed by a cheesecake to commemorate our wedding anniversary. At this point, I had to pass on the cheesecake because my belt was literally groaning from the strain of the previous three hours as well as a delicious turkey burger lunch at Gott's. As if that wasn't enough, the restaurant presented the bill with a number of small treats, including chocolate truffles and, if I remember correctly, French macaroons or something of the sort.

    I thought it was a classy touch for the French Laundry to have the set dinner price include gratuity. Even though the meal was very expensive, it wasn't out of line in comparison to other very upscale restaurants (in contrast to Charlie Trotter and Alinea in my hometown, both of which I found to be ripoffs when I ate there, the French Laundry was worth the cost to me).

    After settling up, our server escorted us to the kitchen to have our menu signed by the Chef de Cuisine (as requested by my wife). We were actually very surprised to be taken into the kitchen as we expected simply to be handed signed menus. Instead, the chef (who looked much more youthful than I would have assumed -- alas, Mr. Keller was not present) signed our menus for us in real-time. We also observed what can only be described as a very efficiently-run and professional kitchen. There was no yelling, no pots or pans out of place and no mess whatsoever. It had an air much closer to an operating room staffed by determined surgeons than to the chaos of a Bobby Flay episode of Iron Chef America.

    All in all, it was a tremendous meal and a very memorable evening. When we got back to the hotel, we were pleased to learn that our son had slept soundly during our absence. Unfortunately, the click of the door evinced by the babysitter's departure woke him up. He then proceeded to "scold" us for not including him in our dinner plans. Suffice it to say, that pretty quickly took the buzz off.

    Cheers.
     
  16. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    981
    Status Points:
    750
  17. Gaucho
    Original Member

    Gaucho Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,640
    Likes Received:
    13,407
    Status Points:
    11,795
    So your doughouse friends.... what was their excuse..????
     
  18. Vik Murthy
    Original Member

    Vik Murthy Silver Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    52
    Status Points:
    180
    Gaucho,

    A case of pneumonia was the reason given.
     
    Gaucho likes this.
  19. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,462
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Status Points:
    2,145
    Do you recall the price for 2 people? As I recall from my friend who ate there once he said it ran about ~$500 - $800 a person; depending upon your alcohol selection.
     
    Sweet Willie and Gaucho like this.
  20. Bay Pisco Shark
    Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    2,072
    Status Points:
    1,270
    $270/pp, includes service and water, + tax. There are optional supplements for a course or two. The wine list, while extensive, is usurious. 3.5 to 4x retail on some of the moderate stuff in Northern California is almost unheard of. Corkage is $50 - although I think it has recently gone up to $75.

    I will not return, unless I am the guest of someone. If I had the meal of a lifetime there, I probably would return.
     
    Sweet Willie and Gaucho like this.
  21. Gaucho
    Original Member

    Gaucho Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,640
    Likes Received:
    13,407
    Status Points:
    11,795
    Yeah right...... why do I think you didnt buy the excuse.....?
     
  22. Gaucho
    Original Member

    Gaucho Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,640
    Likes Received:
    13,407
    Status Points:
    11,795
    At that price point, I think Alinea is a far better investment....

    Actually, after my meal of a lifetime my then fiance and now wife had with Grant at the Chef´s table during his last few weeks at Trio, I would say that even if its more expensive I would bet on Alinea over the F laundry any day.....
     
  23. Vik Murthy
    Original Member

    Vik Murthy Silver Member

    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    52
    Status Points:
    180
    You had better luck than me. I took my wife to Alinea for her birthday in the fall of 2010, and it was the single worst experience we have ever had in an upscale restaurant. Service was aloof, inattentive and cold. Sommelier sniffed at me when I inquired about the Gewurztraminer (one of the less expensive bottles on the wine list). And what really irked us was being served a teaspoon of peanut butter as an official "course" in our meal. I generally try not to do this at restaurants, but I tipped below 15% and scrawled a note of disappointment on the credit card charge slip.

    I never heard back from anyone at Alinea.

    C'est la vie. There are plenty of other fantastic restaurants to experience (in Chicago and elsewhere). I don't regret the money spent at The French Laundry. I deeply, deeply regret the money spent at Alinea.
     
    Gaucho likes this.
  24. Gaucho
    Original Member

    Gaucho Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,640
    Likes Received:
    13,407
    Status Points:
    11,795
    Thanks for sharing your experience.... just a thought, but dont you think it would have been better to write a short note on their website or ask for a manager's card and email instead of scrawling a note on the credit card charge...?

    Im not trying to justify what happened to you, and please note that I can understand your frustration at a below par experience during a very important day, but Im not surprised you never heard back from them. Not sure many managers review credit card charge slips looking for reviews on food and service......
     
    Bay Pisco Shark likes this.
  25. Bay Pisco Shark
    Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    2,072
    Status Points:
    1,270
    I'd agree. And the errant server who might have noticed it surely isn't going to bring it to anyone's attention.
     
    Gaucho likes this.

Share This Page