The French Laundry
June 2, 2003 7:10 PM   Subscribe

The French Laundry serves dinner seven days a week, with reservations available between the hours of 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm. For the rest of us, there's finally their website, available 24/7.
posted by dchase (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just this morning I did search and it didn't show this website. Thanks. And yes, I'm planning ahead for August with speed dial at hand.
posted by G_Ask at 7:20 PM on June 2, 2003

Reservations 2 months in advance. Obviously, a nice place. Reading over the menu however I'm struck by sheer weight of form over function. South Pacific Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Vanilla Ice Cream. Yes, I've had home made ice cream made with just freshly milked unpastuerized cream from a local farmer using hand picked vanilla beans from Jamaica.. It's just ice cream that's how it used to be done until the advent of mass production. We are now returning to an age where the common fare of a 100 years ago is the high-end food of today and the high-end processed foods of yesterday are reserved for the lower end strata of today.
posted by stbalbach at 7:32 PM on June 2, 2003

I went there last year (self-link alert). Yes, it was worth it.
posted by monosyllabic at 7:41 PM on June 2, 2003

Oh, and the restaurant has had a website for quite some time, but it doesn't look as fancy as the new one.
posted by monosyllabic at 8:00 PM on June 2, 2003

If you still need convincing, Megnut's paean might do the trick.
posted by gwint at 8:02 PM on June 2, 2003

Some interesting excerpts from his Cookbook

To achieve the effects I want, I serve portions that are small relative to the portions you'll find at most restaurants. But small is not the point. The point is this: For every course, there is a perfect quantity. Some courses must be small for what they are. A quail egg is small: one bite is enough: two eggs would be redundant. The scallops we get are 3oz nearly as big as a filet mignon. In a meal of 5 to 10 courses you don't need more than one scallop.

With foie gras though I serve slightly too much of it, because I want people to know what foie gras is all about. I go overboard with truffles and caviar too, so that people who have perhaps eaten truffles in stingily quantities ($1000 a pound) can taste them and say "Oh, now I understand".

posted by stbalbach at 8:12 PM on June 2, 2003

I've wanted to eat there ever since reading this book, which has a long section all about Keller and his approach to cuisine. I can't wait for his new restaurant at the AOLTW Center in New York to open...
posted by Vidiot at 8:16 PM on June 2, 2003

[food is good]
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:26 PM on June 2, 2003

On our spring road trip through the Southwest, while not driving or ogling the landscape, I was reading that book (the Soul of a Chef). I don't know why I read food books. I'm an overly experimental cook and I can't afford eating out too much. Maybe that's why. French Laundry. Not in this life.
posted by kozad at 8:41 PM on June 2, 2003 [1 favorite]

I went there a year ago (self-link) and it was by far the best meal I've had in my entire life and would kill to go there again.

I was told ahead of time it would be great, and few things in my life have lived up to hype but the French Laundry definitely is all it is cracked up to be. It's fucking amazing.
posted by mathowie at 10:30 PM on June 2, 2003

Based on my reading The Soul of a Chef, I'm preparing for a solo experience at the French Laundry in the fall.

And, yes, I share this to make as many of you jealous as possible.
posted by o2b at 11:05 PM on June 2, 2003

' ...and few things in my life have lived up to hype...'

Wow. I actually feel quite sad reading that.
posted by i_cola at 1:38 AM on June 3, 2003

(food snobbery alert)

i found french laundry to be a little overrated.
i liked how they're not shy with the truffles though.

i'd consider charles nob hill during ron siegel's time there to have been better.
mr siegel went to masa's and i've been there (masa's) after the move but it wasn't as good as while he was still at charles.
posted by juv3nal at 2:44 AM on June 3, 2003

I'm crossing my fingers to be able to get reservations there for our honeymoon in Oct-Nov. ("Soul of a Chef" did it for me as well...) My fiancee doesn't understand why I'm getting so worked up over this (she hasn't read the book and has an "it's just a meal" attitude towards it), but I'm hoping this will be worth the money/hassle/etc and blow her mind.
posted by arco at 6:10 AM on June 3, 2003

Who'd've thought that torturing geese could be so pleasurable... ;-)
posted by i_cola at 6:40 AM on June 3, 2003

God, what an awesome restaurant. Keller's approach to food- combine only a couple of flavors in each dish, but bring out the most flavor you can from each component- was cathartic (yes, I'm a huge food nerd). For those of you in NYC, Craft is the most similar experience I can think of (setting aside their "completely a la carte" approach), though TFL is still whole orders of magnitude more delicious.

I read Soul of a Chef in the days leading up to TFL, and highly recommend it to all foodies, along with the first part, The Making of a Chef. He co-wrote Keller's cookbook, which is also fascinating and beautiful- the recipes are extremely difficult (duh), but the sections on technique are really illuminating.
posted by mkultra at 6:44 AM on June 3, 2003

A few years ago, I asked Anthony Bourdain (in town to plug for Kitchen Confidential) if a $500 meal was worth it and why. He said yes, and explained the joys of eating at the French Laundry. Being a chef, he knew the time and effort it took to get the results at The French Laundry. He mentioned how everything exceeded his already high expectations and how he felt every detail was recognized for the role it played in the meal.

I wonder if anyone has measured the economic impact of his restaurant - numerous folks have described what they did just to get to his restaurant, let alone pay for the meal. (And what about tipping?)

While there are times I would pay $500 just for a solid Chinese restaurant here in Portland, I can sense a visit looming within a few years.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 7:22 AM on June 3, 2003

Tip: my old boss says the best way to get a reservation is to actually go there in person and ask for openings or cancellations. That way, you can hope to only wait a couple of months.
posted by Hackworth at 9:23 AM on June 3, 2003

Congratulations to my old alma mater OpenTable for finally bagging this prize. Reservations available (still way in advance) ONLINE!! No waiting on hold, no speed dial. Cool.

Although, it's true, going in person (in the afternoon, particularly on weekdays) is a great way to get in last minute.
posted by ubi at 1:03 PM on June 3, 2003

Although, it's true, going in person (in the afternoon, particularly on weekdays) is a great way to get in last minute.

That's how we got in...and yes, is worth the cost. :) It's even one of the few places where I'd let them pick the wine...the sommelier was amazing.
posted by dejah420 at 6:43 PM on June 3, 2003

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