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Napa Anniversary Dinner - French Laundry not available

m
maureen_md Apr 2, 2007 01:18 PM

Well, I set a to-do in my calendar months ago to assure my husband and I could get a table at French Laundry for our anniversary on May 31st...
Due to some ridiculous and unexplainable error with Opentable.com, they are now booked and we are without reservations for our anniversary dinner.
I've booked Martini House, Mustard's and Bouchon for other nights during the week we are there. We would prefer the location be (a) close to the Villagio and (b) romantic with FANTASTIC food. Thanks in advance for your help. I'm really bummed about missing F.L.!

  1. leanneabe Apr 2, 2007 03:06 PM

    In a weird coincidence, I saw your post and then saw an article on Wall Street Journal about hard-to-get reservations. It mentioned this site, specifically for French Laundry:
    http://www.thesandersens.com/res/fren...

    3 Replies
    1. re: leanneabe
      k
      kai27 Apr 2, 2007 03:36 PM

      Have you tried Hurley's or Redd's?? Both are very good.

      1. re: kai27
        Porthos Apr 2, 2007 11:29 PM

        Second, third, or fourth Redd. The tasting (5 or 9 course) with wine pairing is reasonable for what you get.

      2. re: leanneabe
        brekkie_fan Apr 3, 2007 12:20 AM

        and that's how we got our reservation for this weekend!

      3. e
        eatemup Apr 2, 2007 04:02 PM

        Bistro Jeanty is across the street from Villagio and is one of the best places in the valley. More rustic French, but outstanding. The restaurant at Domain Chandon is romantic and was very good when Jeanty was the chef there. I have not been for some time. Thomas Keller's food is also available in Yountville at Ad Hoc. Again, more casual but outstanding. One fixed price meal each night. I'd stay in Yountville but I'd avoid Hurley's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: eatemup
          Ruth Lafler Apr 2, 2007 07:11 PM

          I wouldn't consider Bistro Jeanty a place for a very special occasion. You might want to check out La Toque, which I think might be more "romantic" than most other places. Some people have raved about the food, others less so.

        2. Alice Q Apr 2, 2007 05:37 PM

          I think Opentable has only a couple of reservations available per day - at odd seating times. You should definitely call asap and get on their waiting list. You may be able to get in yet, I'd give it a better than 50% chance. If you are going on a weekend, you might also consider lunch. It gives you more time to digest those umpteen courses!

          As a backup, you might consider Redd or Bistro Jeanty - I have heard good things about both, or Ad Hoc, though it is very casual and pretty expensive.

          1. maria lorraine Apr 2, 2007 09:20 PM

            Sorry to hear about the mix-up with the FL reservation. I would also, as another has suggested, get on their waiting list. The other thing is that FL should know what
            happened with Opentable. Perhaps a note to them explaining the situation and the
            desire to be waitlisted is in order. Fingers crossed this will make a difference.

            Ruth's suggestion of Le Toque is good. I'd also recommend Martini House, of which you are already aware, as an option for your anniversary evening. The others -- Bistro Jeanty, Redd, and especially Hurley's -- do not rise to "anniversary dinner" status. If your mindset was on FL, I think you will be especially disappointed.

            1 Reply
            1. re: maria lorraine
              c
              cortez Apr 2, 2007 09:26 PM

              I would try the concierge at Villagio and explain your dilemma. Often times, hotel concierges have more pull than you might imagine. At a minimum, they could sign you up for a cancellation list should FL have short term openings.

              Failing that, I would go with Redd. It's more elegant than Bistro Jeanty, infinitely better than Hurley's.

              Bouchon and Mustards are great for your non-FL meals. I like them better at lunch when the pressure is less and the atmsophere and service are superior.

              Have fun!

            2. Cindy Apr 3, 2007 07:28 AM

              What dates will you be in Napa Valley?

              1. w
                whiner Apr 3, 2007 07:32 PM

                La Toque. Not as good as FL, but great restaurant nonetheless. Romantic, too.

                5 Replies
                1. re: whiner
                  Carrie 218 Apr 3, 2007 08:42 PM

                  Search around on reviews of La Toque... definitely slipping with very mediocre reviews as of late. For special occasion, I would consider Domain Chandon or Terra. Hurleys, Bouchon, and Mustards are all okay but definitely NOT special occasion dining.

                  1. re: Carrie 218
                    maria lorraine Apr 3, 2007 11:39 PM

                    Agree with Carrie. Terra is remarkable,

                    1. re: Carrie 218
                      w
                      whiner Apr 4, 2007 02:47 AM

                      I wasn't aware La Toque was slipping. That is sad.

                      1. re: whiner
                        Carrie 218 Apr 4, 2007 08:38 AM

                        I have eaten at La Toque four times; one time it was revolutionary, once it was good, and twice it was beyond horrendous (over-salted, greasy fried soft-shell crab, grizzle through a duck breast, poor quality meat, out-of-season vegetables) Ken Frank was in the kitchen all four times.

                        1. re: Carrie 218
                          maria lorraine Apr 4, 2007 03:16 PM

                          Thanks for that news. I hate hearing of Le Toque's unevenness because that dining room is one of my very favorites -- smallish, romantic and lovely. I have had wonderful meals there (both times with well-known bon vivants so that may have made a difference in the attention Ken Frank gave to our meal) and yet I have heard other reports, like yours, of old fish (really, there is no excuse for that) and other oddities. Dang. Ken Frank has the ability to produce a top-flight meal (truly, one of my meals rivaled the French Laundry's), but he's not consistently doing so. I wonder what's going on.

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