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Old 04-26-2007, 12:20 PM   #1
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Want to join me for dinner at The French Laundry?

Those of you who know Thomas Keller's flagship restaurant also know it's reputation for nearly impossible to get reservations, only 16 available tables, booked only 2 months in advance; I believe that they have booked their res. book 2 months in advance for about 7 years running now.

I did just read online that they have a small area reserved for private parties of 8-10, which you can book up to a year in advance. So what I want to know is, who wants to go with me??? Seriously though, it sounds like if you want to get into the FL in this lifetime, booking yourself a party of 8 a year in advance seems like it might be the easy way in. Of course once you're in you have to make sure you can afford the $240 menu plus wine and tip...

Has anyone every been there? I'd love to hear a firsthand account of what it was like.

And I ask again, only half-jokingly, would anyone be interested in going? It might be fun for a group of us to enjoy dinner at what has been called the best restaurant in the world, with other known foodies. If nothing else, it's fun to dream about.

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Old 04-26-2007, 12:31 PM   #2
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It's on my list of things to do before I die, but it's not in my immediate future plans.

I adore TK
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:31 PM   #3
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Is that $240 + wine & tip per person in the party? That would seem the only way to make money on the party at this restaurant.

What type of food do they specialize in serving? Is there a dress code?

Do they offer accomodations for parties every night of the week or Fri/Sat only?

Where is this restaurant located? Is this restaurant a sole business or is it a catered restaurant in a luxury hotel?
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
Is that $240 + wine & tip per person in the party? That would seem the only way to make money on the party at this restaurant.

What type of food do they specialize in serving? Is there a dress code?

Do they offer accomodations for parties every night of the week or Fri/Sat only?

Where is this restaurant located? Is this restaurant a sole business or is it a catered restaurant in a luxury hotel?

$240 is the average per person price at the restaurant. Add on to that wine and tip costs, and you're looking at $350-$400 per person. Its French and American cuisine, and the dress code is semi-formal, jackets required ties optional I believe. I believe they offer parties every night of the week. And the FL is a stand-alone business located in Yountville, CA, though the chef/owner has opened other restaurants with other names, including Bouchon, which has a few locations across the country ( i think), and Per Se, in New York.
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:58 PM   #5
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Holy Christmas, Batman! That's some chunk of change for yum yums. At this point, it's a bit out of my budget unless I win the lottery. Gotta play first, though. Hope y'all who dine there give the rest of us a detailed description.
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:14 PM   #6
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I've been there!

I was lucky enough to experience the French Laundry a couple of years ago. I was able to get reservations on Opentable.com within less than a month I believe. The service and food were all amazing. I think I counted and we had like 13 separate place settings. It's prix fixe, so it's a bunch of different courses. They were really nice about explainign and everything and let me make a couple of substitutions. The desserts just kept coming!! There was the main dessert from the menu, but there were also a cookie plate and truffles and somethign else. IT lasted about 2 hours. For two of us with 1 1/2 bottles of wine and a glass of champagne was $550 or so with tip I believe. I would personally never spend that, but if $550 is an amount you can imagine spending for a wonderful evening and great experience, I highly recommend it!
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:32 PM   #7
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He has a restaurant in NYC called Per Se, but I can't imagine it comes near the experince of TFL.

Michael Ruhlman is close to TK and wrote about him in his book "The Soul of A Chef."

He also has restaurant in Vegas called Bouchon, as well as a smaller place in CA by the same name.
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:40 PM   #8
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I've heard that Per Se is pretty great, with many of the dishes from the FL served at Per Se as well. However, I have heard the the execution isn't as good at Per Se. And I think Bouchon is supposed to be more affordable for your average person than Per Se or FL.
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by college_cook
I've heard that Per Se is pretty great, with many of the dishes from the FL served at Per Se as well. However, I have heard the the execution isn't as good at Per Se. And I think Bouchon is supposed to be more affordable for your average person than Per Se or FL.

The whole FL atmosphere, the way the tables are layed out, the building, the remote location etc. etc. etc. That's what I want!
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Old 04-26-2007, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StirBlue
What type of food do they specialize in serving?
Pretentious cuisine!

That is why I have no intention of feeding this man's ego by feeding myself in his restaurant. I'd sooner go to Restaurant Gary Danko, which has earned a 5 star rating from Mobil for 6 years running AND Relais & Chateau designation.

Their menu prices are reasonable for a restaurant of that status (3 Courses $61 :: 4 Courses $77 :: 5 Courses $92), and their tasting menu, which is all French laundry offers, is less than half the price of French Laundry.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
It's on my list of things to do before I die, but it's not in my immediate future plans.

I adore TK
It's not on mine!

The only way I will ever go is if someone takes me -- and pays the bill. I don't like "precious" food, and I'm not impressed by the fact there's no sign identifying the restaurant... oh, don't get me started. I'm sure his food is fabulous, but so is lots of chefs' food... and they don't have such pretensions.

Personally, I'd rather have all of you over to my house for a pot luck!
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:20 PM   #12
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I would go, I'd pay for it, I'd feel good about it, I'd savor every bite> I will reserve complaining until after I try it.

And I STILL want all of us to get together for a big ol' potluck. That's a potluck I wouldn't want to miss!
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:21 PM   #13
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i'm on my way ChefJune, with some spinach salad!

I simply can not imagine spending that much money on one meal

just can not imagine it

what I could do with $500.......certainly not blow it on one meal

I could not enjoy the experience, even if some one else was paying
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:23 PM   #14
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I'm with kitchenelf, here. I think, with all our expertise and creativity, a group from DC could certainly produce a potluck that would rival any multi-star eatery anywhere on the planet. So, there.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune
It's not on mine!

The only way I will ever go is if someone takes me -- and pays the bill. I don't like "precious" food, and I'm not impressed by the fact there's no sign identifying the restaurant... oh, don't get me started. I'm sure his food is fabulous, but so is lots of chefs' food... and they don't have such pretensions.

Personally, I'd rather have all of you over to my house for a pot luck!


I'll be over with a covered dish, but I'll still go to TFL someday.

I know there are lots of fabulous and talented chefs out there, I have eaten food created by many of them.

But I have long been a fan of TK and this thinking on food. I'm sure a lot of people find him pretentious, but I find him to be rather brilliant and insightful.

I have no problem blowing big money on a FL meal because to me it's more than just eating. It's about the food and the ideas behind it.

P.S. to June -- we are hoping to go to Taillevent for lunch again when in Paris in 2 weeks. We dropped about $150 each for lunch and wine last time. And it was worth every penny, IMO. We are also going to London and the exchange rate is so bad that we might only be afford a few pints.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:57 PM   #16
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P.S. to June -- we are hoping to go to Taillevent for lunch again when in Paris in 2 weeks. We dropped about $150 each for lunch and wine last time. And it was worth every penny, IMO.
Be sure to give my regards to M. Vrinat, and tell him I'm looking forward to seeing him in November! I love being able to enjoy Taillevent for 70 Euros plus wine!

I'm trying to figure out if I want to try another biggie in Paris, as well. haven't been to L'Ami Louis in a long time, and Pierre Gagnaire certainly has Paris all a-buzz...
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Old 04-26-2007, 04:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune
Be sure to give my regards to M. Vrinat, and tell him I'm looking forward to seeing him in November! I love being able to enjoy Taillevent for 70 Euros plus wine!

I'm trying to figure out if I want to try another biggie in Paris, as well. haven't been to L'Ami Louis in a long time, and Pierre Gagnaire certainly has Paris all a-buzz...

I will practice my French just for you! I was embarassed to try it last time. He was very nice -- made you feel taken care so unobtrusively -- though we didn't have that much direct contact with him.

Did I tell you they brought the cheese course out on a huge tray that took 2 waieters to carry? We didn't have it very much enjoyed the display! The brie was at least 24 inches across.
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Old 04-26-2007, 04:34 PM   #18
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I have The French Laundry Cookbook,thats about as close as Im going to get.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:26 PM   #19
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I would love to go some day, but at this point in my life I could not justify spending that kind of $ on a meal. Not to mention the airfare just to get there. If I did not have a family to think about and was within driving distance then yes I would go. Per Se is a possibility for me someday because of the location. I would certainly drive to NY for a quality meal. I have actually put the bug in my wifes ear that if she ever wanted to get me a special gift, dinner at Per Se for the two of us would be very memorable.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:44 PM   #20
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I was there many years ago, it was amazing!!
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