The French Laundry – Yountville

I will miss Corey Lee at French Laundry. I will miss Corey Lee at French Laundry. I will miss Corey Lee at French Laundry. I guess if I say it three times, I have made my point. Corey has added so much to a French Laundry meal. He has added such a personal stamp as well as knowing us very well and our preference for lots of canapes. I will not go into detailed descriptions of signature French Laundry dishes as I have done that ad infinitum. (See French Laundry archive)

During the afternoon as I was walking back to our hotel, I stopped by to say hello.

Laundry Van

The new Laundry Van.

 

extra wine storage

Extra Wine Storage

 

new scooter

The new electric scooter

 

DINNER – I never see a menu so all the descriptions are given in detail by the staff and quickly written by me. Any mistakes are mine.

champagne

Krug to start

 

gougeres

Gougeres

 

cornets

Salmon Cornets

 

mangosteens

Mangosteens from Puerto Rico with Seaweed – I have never heard of Mangosteens and obviously never tasted one. It definitely tasted tropical.

Writing about “this most celebrated fruit of the East” T.W.K. goes on to say…

”This pulp melts away in your mouth after the manner of a ripe peach or 
strawberry; it has a taste which nobody can describe any more than he can tell how 
a canary sings or a violet smells, and I know of nothing more forcible than the 
statement of a Yankee skipper who pronounced the mangosteen the “bang-upest 
fruit” he had ever seen.”

http://www.mangosteen.com/

 

clam

“Tartare” of 1/4″ dice of earshell clam from Korea, diced cucumbers, radishes, bonito foam – Corey handles fish beautifully – the Korean earshell clam was perfect.

 

presentation of o and p

Presentation of Oysters and Pearls

 

o and p

Oysters and Pearls – the Oysters were Island Creek from Duxbury, Mass and the caviar was Californian White Sturgeon – I really like the Island Creek Oyster – sweet salty all in one bite with Atlantic Ocean overtones. (My Boston roots are obvious.)

 

white wine

White Wine

 

white wine decanted and my purse

White wine decanted and my caviar purse – a tradition as I always bring this purse to our first French Laundry meal of our trip up north.

 

hearts of palm

Unfortunately this is a very blurry photo. This was Corey’s play on sushi. At first glance, you thought that the tiny white bits were rice. Not at all! Peach palm had been finely chopped to resemble “rice”, then wrapped in Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, topped with slices of Haas avocado, trout roe and bachelor button.

 

CAESAR MUSHROOMS

mizuna

At first we are presented with this plate of Mizuna. I am thinking to myself this is definitely minimalism.

 

hot stone

Next a very hot stone appears.

 

mushrooms presented

We are now presented with Caesar Mushrooms from Umbria. It is explained that in order of expense and rarity number one is white truffles, then Caesar mushrooms, then black truffles, then porcini mushrooms. Notice the red cap on the mushrooms.

 

mushrooms cooking

Mushrooms cooking on the stone. It was quickly seared on the bottom, but kept raw on top.

 

mushroom plaated

This was served with a yuzu aigre-doux – it was the quick sear of the bottom and the rawness of the same mushroom that was extraordinary.

 

abaolonbe presented

Green-Lipped Abalone from the Sea of Japan presented – to be served 3 ways

 

abalone 1

Hand-cut buckwheat “capellini”, poached abalone with its own juices, mint blossom served cold. This reminded me of one of our favorite restaurants in Oahu, Matsugen that specializes in handmade buckwheat soba. I was a very happy camper.

 

abalone 2

Deep-fried Abalone, Caulifower Puree with a sauce of parsley, capers and lemon and a confit of Meyer lemon. This was very reminiscent of a traditional Sand Dabs recipe. It was so good that we adopted a “finger spoon” method — use your finger, scrape the bowl and “lick.”

 

turtle shell

Presentation of a turtle shell

 

turtle shell 1

Turtle Shell

 

turtle soup 1

Snapper Turtle Soup, Green-lipped Abalone, Beech Mushrooms, Koshikari rice. The broth is made from the turtle meat, dashi, sake and is reduced and reduced and reduced some more. The turtle meat is then strained out. The broth was fabulous, the rice perfect and the abalone delicious.

 

uni dish presentation

Presentation of the next dish

 

uni

Unfortunately the photo doesn’t represent this dish correctly. Uni with corn foam, ragout of applewood smoked bacon, Australian black truffles, golden corn and celery, potato puree at the bottom

 

uni with finger scrape method

Uni dish after using the “finger spoon” method.

 

trufffle custard

inside truffle custard

Signature White Truffle Custard with Black Truffle Ragout

 

tomato tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart – Puff Pastry

 

tomato tart served

Tomato Tart served – Burrata, Red Onion Marmalade, Chive, Corn Flower Blossom, Balsamic

 

Moi

Crispy Skin Pacific Moi, Braised Fennel, Nicoise Olives, Citrus Vinaigrette, Micro Arugula – Again there is no way to describe how well Corey handles fish

 

eel

Japanese Sea Eel, Pearl Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, Romaine Lettuce, Creme Fraiche – this didn’t have an Asian flair, it was more French in sensibility with a California flair.

 

eel 1

Close-up of the eel – the peas were incredible

 

wine with foiue

Wine with Foie

 

salts for foie

Salts for the Foie Gras

 

foie

Foie Gras Torchon with White Almond Glaze, Shaved Celery, Apricot Puree, Toasted Almonds – I happen to prefer the cold foie over the seared foie – personal preference

 

brioche

Brioche for Foie

 

rib eye

Cap of the Rib Eye, King Trumpet Mushrooms, Mustard Seed Cake, Ginger Sauce – what a combination, expertly prepared

 

jardinere

Jardinere of Vegetables – Nasturtiums, Carrots, Radishes, Turnips, Favas, Idiazabal Croquette, Joselito Grand Reserva Ham, Australian Black truffles – this is different than Manresa’s Into The Garden with the addition of the Ham and the Idiazabal.

 

donut

Donut – John’s favorite and a must ending for him.

 

cannoli

Sfogliatele – Cannoli stuffed with fresh Ricotta cheese infused with Orange and Lemon, Pistachio Cake, Cherry Sorbet

You will notice that we had only one meat course, by choice, and only one dessert and no mignardises, also by choice. As frequent diners at The French Laundry for many years, I am well aware that our meal is geared to our personal likes and dislikes. A first time diner would not get this type of meal and shouldn’t expect it. This doesn’t mean that a “standard” French Laundry meal won’t be exquisite and well thought-out. The tasting menus are not just a string of random dishes – there is a progression, an internal harmony and what I like to call a symphony. This is not a temple; it is a wonderful place to dine, have glorious food plus fun with a staff that tries and succeeds to make everyone feel special.

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9 Responses to “The French Laundry – Yountville”


  1. 1 RobertR July 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    OMG!! I’m speechless.

    Liz, Was this your last meal before Corey leaves? If so, it appears he went out with style and leaving you something to remember him by for sure.

  2. 3 lizziee July 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Robert, one more Corey meal to write up!!!!

  3. 4 RobertR July 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Just got to love ya Liz!

  4. 5 Will J July 22, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Is this the first or second night in your 2 consecutive visits? I’ve been to FL few times, much less mileage than yours needless to say, but I’ve never seen caesar mushroom, abalone or even turtle being served there. Not even close to it – the usual suspects in all visits had been veal, pularde, rabbit, lamb… how did you get such a royal and exotic treatment ? I’m so jealous, FL is quite literally in my backyard, but they never treated me like this. Not even close. Then again, I don’t have history as you have w. Thomas.

    The first few even looked like Corey “parted” the traditional Cal-French and went straight Japanese/ Korean. That’s a bold move for someone who’s not used to seeing it.

    Any hint what’s his new place going to be?

  5. 6 lizziee July 23, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Will, this was our first night. You are right this is not a typical French Laundry meal at all. Corey knows we love the canapes, love fish, are absolutely happy with one meat course and really don’t do desserts.

    We were happy to let him experiment on us and he often did. I don’t know where his restaurant will be in San Francisco, but it will be San Francisco

  6. 7 A Canadian Foodie September 19, 2009 at 1:26 am

    I visited for the first time in August. It was truly superb. Yet, we didn’t get the truffled egg (oh well – I shoul dhave asked). But neither did we get the donut with our coffee, or any mignardises. I did miss this, but didn’t feel comfortable asking when the waiter came with the bill and the bag with the cookies. Is this normal? As you dine there, often, you may know. I feel a little disappointed as the ending would have been just that much more perfect with the mignardises (or the signature donut) with our coffee.
    Thanks!

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