French Laundry

FL just celebrated their 16th anniversary on July 7 (they opened in 1994). My first meal at FL was on March 15, 1995. We have had many, many meals since then and it is still one of the best restaurants in the country. I have never looked at a menu at FL and just let them do their thing. Tim Hollingsworth is now chef de cuisine and he is doing a terrific job. The FOH staff is off the charts perfect and seamless – think of an incredible ballet.

I have only a few photos from our two FL meals – John was experimenting with no flash and as a result most of the photos are completely out of focus. Thanks to Bunrabs, you can see some of the photos below – we didn’t have the exact same meal, but there were overlaps on some dishes.

http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/2010August/dailyfeed_august-10_p1.html#aug0110

THE MEAL:

Wine: Egly-Ouriet Champagne

Gougeres

Salmon Cornets

Soup Course

Pear, pine nuts and mizuna is first presented.

Then fennel soup is then poured on top.

Almond milk sorbet with fennel relish – 1/8 inch dice of fennel (I always think of the prep cooks as I look at the perfectly diced accompaniments), Santa Rosa Plum consomme, fennel pollin tuile – this functioned as a sorbet course – very light, very refreshing – almost a palate cleanser or teaser for the many courses to come.

“SEAFOOD DELIGHT” (Lousy photo, but it gives some feel for how this was served)

Seared and sliced abalone, Citrus cured and grilled Kanpachi, Hearts of Peach Palm, Fennel Fronds, Chive Blossom, Marigolds and Clam Vinaigrette with Meyer Lemon – what a lovely combination of fresh seafood

Rock Shrimp Tempura tossed in Ginger Aigre-Doux, Marcona Almonds diced about 1/8 of an inch, Fresno Chilies, Cilantro garnish – I must add that we don’t see a menu. Our server explained each and every element of each dish and I wrote it down long-hand – quite a feat for the server in a packed dining room – they did 93 covers Thursday night. This was superb with varying degrees of textures and flavors.

CAVIAR COURSE

This could be called quiche with caviar. Tart with bacon custard topped by American Sterling caviar, creme fraiche, chives, chive blossoms – John had gone to heaven – bacon and caviar – two of his most favorite things in the world. This was off the charts perfect – what an addition to the caviar dishes at the FL.

Wine: Schloss Gobelsburg

“WE ARE IN THE SOUTH”

Shaved Veal Heart, Fried Green Tomatoes, French Pickle Relish, Horseradish Creme Fraiche Mousse, Frisee, Roasted Tomatoes – ignore the terrible photo – the shaved veal heart was the essence of tenderness – the fried green tomato definitely an ode to the South and each component didn’t blur flavors, but enhanced them.

On a Puff Pastry Tart, Heirloom Tomatoes from the FL garden, Summer Squash, Burrata, Nicoise, Tomato Marmalade – summer on a plate

Wine: Chassagne Montrachet Les Vergers

“Mac ‘n Cheese” – House-made Macaroni, Mornay Sauce, Sauce Perigordine, Brioche Bread Crumbs – rich is an understatement

Australian Black Truffles Shaved Table side – the truffles were surprisingly pungent and full of flavor just adding to the luxuriousness and richness of the dish.

We were suppose to have a fish course, a lobster course and then 2 meat courses, but we were getting very full and decided to skip the lobster course and one of the meat courses. We took a much needed break in the beautiful FL garden. Onward and Upward after the break!

FISH COURSE

Sauteed Filet of Halibut, Cauliflower Flourettes, Saltanas, Crispy Spanish Capers, Brown Butter Sage Emulsion – no photo but somewhat reminiscent of the famous Jean Georges dish of scallops and cauliflower with caper-raisin sauce.

Liberty Farms Peking Duck, Brooks Cherries, Baby Corn, Swiss Chard, Summer truffles, Smoked Foie Gras – a lot was going on in this dish, but each element felt in sync with each other.

No Photo- Cavatina, Goat’s Milk from Adante dairy, Stewed Peaches, Baby Fennel Bulb, Hazelnut Crumble, Black Truffle Coulis

Yellow Peach Float, Ginger Pearls, Persian Lime Sorbet, vanilla Sablee, Lemon Verbena Foam – a light dessert for a very full lady

Coffee and Donuts – wonderful as always

What can one say about a meal like this? Extraordinary doesn’t seem like an adequate enough word.

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3 Responses to “French Laundry”


  1. 1 Lisa August 4, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Hi Lizzie,

    This is not related to this post but I LOVE your blog and thought you might want to see this NYT article about Ludo:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/dining/04notebook.html?ref=style

    Thank you.

    Lisa

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