Recent French Laundry Report
I had not been to FL in eight years - prices and demand has increased dramatically since then. Nice that it is within driving distance from Berkeley.
Spouse and I went for a celebratory "lunch" at FL yesterday (same menu and price as dinner). Prices were raised at the beginning of the year (after our reservation) to $240 per person - including service but not tax. Foie gras still had $30 supplement.
We had a great lunch! Familiar menu to those who keep track...Glass of Champagne w/ Cheese filled puffs and Salmon tartar cone & Califlower panna cotta w/caviar, Glass of Gruner Veltner w/ Roasted Chantarelle mushroom salad(spouse) or foie gras (self), 1/2 bottle Rousanne w/ Pan seared Hawaiian white fish (spouse) or uni (self) & lobster tail, 1/2 bottle Cote Rotie w/ Poulet roulade (spouse) or rabbit shoulder (self) & Lamb ribeye & Cheese course. Banana sorbet. Late harvest Rhone white w/ salted caramel souffle (spouse) and 10 year Madera w/ chocolate hazelenut cup. Coffee w/ creme brulee (spouse) and meyer lemon de creme (self) & various chocolates, candies, truffles. To go packet of shortbread.
My favorates were the rabbit shoulder and the foie gras. My spouse favorates were the salted caramel souffle and pan seared fish. We both raved about the quality of the bread. My least memorable were the lamb and the uni. My spouse's least memorable were the lamb and the lobster.
Service was wonderful - greatly enhances the overall experience. Friendly without being chummy. Total time 3 1/2 hours.
Wines were fairly well chosen - would not have the 2004 Santa Inez Rousanne ($55/375ml) again as it was very ripe and very low acid - went OK with food but was cloying on it own. Other wines were spectacular.
Overall, a great was to have a celebratory meal.
Food: $510, Wine: 320, Tax $65, Total $895.
We have both have had individual courses at other restaurants better than some of the courses we had today. Folks who expect each course to be the best thing ever to enter their mouth are sure to be dissapointed. You also need to be able to separate the cost from the experience, as each of the components combined to not equate to a meal "worth" $900. But the overall experience was just one of a kind.
I'll hopefully have something worthy to celebrate again in another 5-8 years.