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French Laundry- Topical Questions

Hi- it's been a few years since we dined at TFL but we have an upcoming reservation and I had a few questions that I hope others may be able to help with.

I saw that the price has gone up to $240, service included. I know that includes gratuity, and read some other posts that suggests that price now includes coffee/tea service, sparkling water, anything else? If it covers those as well as the tip on wine then the final charge may not be much higher.

I've also read several accounts of a longer tasting menu- 15 courses or so, soup, salad, sashimi, egg, foie gras, etc. Something like what Tony Bourdain had in his famous visit. This is mentioned nowhere in their official materials- does anyone know if this is available to mere mortals or just VIPs? Any idea how much more this costs?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. hello

    i don't know how current my information might be...
    i was there just last october.
    it was about an.... 8 courses of dinner,
    and followed by about 5 courses of dessert.

    240 covers tip but you may add to for your wine.
    it's up to you.
    i don't know if we were offered an extended menu, but
    we only had two choices
    regular and vegetarian.
    there were alternative dishes you can alternate.
    one was the foie gras instead of the sushi,
    and the kobe instead of the lamb... or was it pork....

    dessert was about....
    3 different types in addition to cookies, coffee, truffles.... etc....
    all i know was....
    i was completely stuffed!

    this was our first time there... a little intimidating...
    but i just asked.... the best thing to do is just ask the waiter/ staff
    whatever it is you'd like to know before enjoying your extravagant meal.
    they are more than welcome to answer, and re-answer any of your questions...
    i know i ask them the same question 3-4 times about the gratuity....

    enjoy!

    6 Replies
    1. re: livnihs05

      Hi:
      I did a little more research on the topic. Both start with the coronet and end with pots du creme, mignardises, etc. Looks like the "standard" 9-course lineup runs something like:
      -Caviar
      -Salad or Foie Gras
      -Fish
      -Lobster
      -Poultry
      -Red Meat
      -Cheese
      -Sorbet
      -Dessert

      While the "extended" looks more like:
      -Soup
      -Caviar
      -Sashimi
      -Salad
      -Egg (truffled)
      -Pasta
      -Fish
      -Lobster
      -Foie Gras
      -Poultry
      -Red Meat
      -Cheese
      -Sorbet
      -Dessert 1
      -Dessert 2

      It's the second I'm curious about- I had the 9 course the first time and it was wonderful, but I'm wondering if it could be turned up even further......

      1. re: Navin R Johnson

        As I recall, we had a 9 course that ended up being closer to 15 with all the little treats that weren't on the menu. Don't believe it was something we ordered, though we were a large group that reserved a private room, so maybe that was part of it. Honestly, though, do you really want to do 15 courses? It was easily the finest meal I've ever eaten, but by the end, it felt like a food marathon...I couldn't do much of anything for the rest of the night.

        1. re: a_and_w

          Yes, I'm very curious about this more expansive menu. If the regular is fantastic, how much further could it be extended? Perhaps it might overwhelm me on a sensory level; on a raw volume basis it's hard to imagine the quantities being more than how much pulled pork I've consumed at Bullocks all-you-can-eat BBQ in Durham, 15 courses or not.

          1. re: Navin R Johnson

            They will pretty much do whatever you want, but it will cost you. The last time we were there (Feb. 07) there was a table of 8 next to us that had what looked like that famous dish of chicken with truffles cooked in some sort of casing. Several of the diners got FL cookbooks on arrival. Must have been some sort of celebration. The time before that (Aug. 06) my husband and I got the royal treatment... many courses including an egg course(2 different), a caviar course( 2 different), a kobe course (2 different), a foie gras course (2 different). It wasnt't cheap, but it was sure fun. Talk to the person taking the reservation.

            1. re: srr

              For your Aug 06 visit- was it something you had arranged with them beforehand? If I may ask, how much was the additional charge? Thanks!

            2. re: Navin R Johnson

              LOL -- fair enough. But it's as much about the richness and length of the meal, as it is the sheer quantity of food. I'm glad I did it, but if and when I go back, I would probably prefer the shorter menu.

      2. Don't they also include additional fees if you choose some of the options (fois gra for example?)

        1 Reply
        1. re: thinks too much

          yeah
          it's like 50 for the foie gras and 100 for the kobe which is for 2
          so 240 + whatever you may want to add.

        2. The extended menu you are referring too is usually reserved for VIPs. With that said, it would do no harm to inquire while making your reservation. Be aware that it is vary expensive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: oysterspearls

            7 years ago, around 20 courses, $350. It was truffle season though....