Why the French Laundry?
I worked nights at Ranch Market Yountville and wanted to get shirts for the staff saying...Corner of Creek and Washington. Person after person would come in and ask for directions because they couldn't find it. So let me start with a belated appreciation to Thomas for putting up a sign some years back as it made our lives easier. After 19 years of living and working in Yountville, Napa Valley my wife and I made the trek to the culinary Mecca with friends.
So when I hear about the review of Per Se in New York a few weeks back I am reminded of the movie "Chef". It is always great to target the top, and to be honest competition is what makes us work harder. That being said, something can be nitpicked for any minutia.
Here was our experience...
We arrived to an extremely friendly hostess that knew all our names upon walking in the door. We were immediately seated and the bubbles began to flow. I figured, if we are going to do this, then lets do it right. We had the tasting menu paired with wine. A few of the courses came out and when described, I thought, "well, I don't know if I would order that." But then you taste it and you understand. One course came out with a porter style beer accompanying it and even my wife ( a non-beer drinker) loved the pairing.
I am sure, I could try to pick apart something, but why. The restaurant isn't for everyone as some are not open-minded or willing to try certain foods. For us, it was AMAZING!
On a side note, I thought it would be a pretentious atmosphere, but the service staff was unbelievable friendly and engaging. At one point, we were discussing with the Sommellier about the staff that frequents Ranch Market to buy Fernet, and we asked if they could bring us Jagermeister. Of course we didn't really want it, but the wives didn't know what Fernet was, so on came the comparison.
In the end, four and one half hours, five bottles of wine and over 15 courses later we rolled out the front door and headed home. Unbelievable experience that we will truly never forget. Thank you Thomas for the passion as it shows in the culinary experience you provide.
This is why I love Yountville. Food and wine experiences that are unmatched in a small town, that you can walk back to a wonderful hotel, then wake up to views of the vineyards. Hence Yountville tagline... Taste Life Here