Sunday, August 29th, 2010...21:05

The Longest Lunch

Jump to Comments

A couple of months ago, my wife and I stayed over our friends’ house in their redone guest room when I received a phone call a little after 10a. It was another friend who had 1p reservations for 3 at The French Laundry, a 3 Michelin Star restaurant (as of 2010, the only one in California and one of only 6 in the United States, the other 5 being in New York City). Reservations are hard to get, so after talking it over with the friends we stayed with and deciding there might be enough time to make the 2+ hour drive plus a stop at home to change into formal wear, we were off.

We were presented with two 9 course menus, the first with meat:
French Laundry Menu 1

And the other being vegetarian:
French Laundry Menu 2

The 9 courses are separated by lines on the menu (for some courses you have can choose one of two entrées). In addition, the staff brought out a few surprise items in-between courses such as a crème fraiche topped bit of salmon in a crunchy tuile cornet that looked like a mini vanilla orange sherbet ice cream cone and quarter sized cheese danishes. We ate from the omnivore menu splitting up our choices such that all entrées were enjoyed by at least one person in our party. Here’s a photo of the Tartare Of Japanese Bluefin Tuna (can you tell which cubes are tuna and which are watermelon?):
Tartare Of Japanese Bluefin Tuna

And here is a photo of the Crémeux Aux Fruits De La Passion:
Crémeux Aux Fruits De La Passion

The food tasted quite good, so much so that I had no trouble finishing a sea scallop the size of my palm, even though I dislike them quite a bit. Each dish had a creative presentation and the pace and portions were exactly the right size such that I could finish all of them and at the end of the meal was so full I did not need to eat dinner 🙂 The staff was very helpful and polite and at no time during the 4 hour meal did the atmosphere feel pretentious or stuffy.

Our portion of the bill ($616 since my friend had the Foie Gras and some wine and wanted the total bill to be over $1k so we paid extra gratuity) was 3x more than we’ve ever paid for a meal. Was it worth the money? That’s hard for me to say since I’m not a connoisseur of food and can’t say I really appreciate “high end” things in general e.g. I’ve never eaten at a Michelin rated restaurant before. Even taking the quality of the food, the skill in preparation and presentation, I think the answer has to be no. However, this was definitely an experience that I’m glad to have had, even more so since it was a spur of the moment decision!

Comments are closed.