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May 30, 2007 04:05 PM

French Laundry Extended Tasting Menu, in Photos

Overall I was quite satisfied with the meal and preferred it to the dinner we had at Cyrus the night earlier (though I enjoyed that one, too). A brief overview of the menu is shown below; "extended" items are denoted with a *.

Canapé 1: Gougères
Canapé 2: Scottish Salmon Coronets
Canapé 3: Roasted Sunchoke Soup *
1: "Oysters and Pearls"
2: White Truffle Infused Custard *
3a: Yukon Gold Potato "Mille-Feuille"
3b: Moulard Duck "Foie Gras Terrine"
4a: Sautéed Fillet of American Red Snapper
4b: "Salade Niçoise"
5: Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster Tail
6: Russet Potato Gnocchi *
7a: Wild Flower Honey-Glazed Pork Belly
7b: Crispy Marcho Farm's Calve's Brain
8a: Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Ribeye
8b: Wagyu Beef Sous Vide
9: "Vermont Dandy"
10: Manila Mango Sorbet
11: "Coffee and Doughnuts" *
12a: Bitter Valrhona Chocolate "Sponge"
12b: "Granité Aux Agrumes"
Mignardises 1: Meyer Lemon Pot de Crème, Crème Brûlée
Mignardises 2: Honey Flour Tuiles, Chocolate and Caramel Macadamias
Mignardises 3: Chocolates, Nougats, Caramels, Truffles

We were incredibly full by the end of it. See the following for all photos and details:

Although I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at French Laundry, I am a bit concerned about Thomas Keller's decreasing involvement in the kitchen, as he transitions from chef to restauranteur. To be fair, chef de cuisine Corey Lee seems to be handling things very well, but will the quality continue (or even improve) without Keller? For those of you who have been dining at the Laundry for some time, have you noticed any changes over the years as Keller has minimized his role in the kitchen?

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  1. Nice pics and writeup, thanks!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cindy

      My wife and I ate at the French Laundry back in December..I was somewhat disapointed..
      Keller wasn't working the kitchen that night..we were still hungry when we left and were there for 4 plus hours with our dishes coming out of the kitchen anywhere from 15 minutes apart to 45 minutes apart.45 minutes is much to long of a wait inbetween coarses..I had to ask for bread 4 times which really surprised me..the service didn't impress me either..we felt like we were being ignored while the party of 4 next to us had waiters hovering over them..maybe it was an off night and I will try them again because the food was excellent..

      1. re: rosso

        Wow such a contrast to our service experience. The pacing was just right during our meal and we never had to flag anyone down, though I didn't feel like they were hovering, merely anticipatory.

        1. re: kevin h

          To further emphasize disparities in experience. We felt that our meal was too rushed. We were in and out the door in 2 hours 30 minutes. The service felt like they were hovering and the head waiter even interrupted a few conversations to ask how we were doing.

          The food is very good but the price certainly includes a brand name markup. I preferred the food at Manresa and the service at Jean Georges. Both restaurants run about half the price for the tasting menu and both offer a wine pairing (while TFL does not).

          1. re: Porthos

            Wow, again. We took over 5 hours and were lingering at the end, walking around and going into the kitchen. I didn't even know you could get out in under 3 hours!

            Manresa and Jean Georges are both on my to-eat list, so it'll be interesting to compare them.

    2. Very interesting. I have reservations there next month and this gives me a good idea of what it'll be like, thanks. I was wondering how you took those photos, do they allow photography in the restaraunt? Or did you take it surreptiously with your cell phone?

      3 Replies
      1. re: yoyo28

        We were snapping pics completely in the open. They didn't seem to mind. It is rather dim though, so make sure your camera does well at ISO 800 (and have a steady hand, as shutter speeds were in the 1/20s range).

        1. re: kevin h

          It's interesting to read the different experiences people have had at the French laundry..
          My son and his gf,my best friend and his wife loved it on seperate ocasions but then another friend of mine had the same experience as I had but still thought it was the best..
          Maybe it's because I tend to be more picky and observe little details which one should if they are spending over $700 for 2..I've eaten at many fine establishments in France and the Bay Area..also I was the Head Chef at a popular French Restaurant back in the 70s so I know alittle bit about paceing a meal and good service but I also know even the best of restaurants can have an off night..
          Last Saturday I saw a interview with Chef Keller on PBS..I can't remember the name of the show but found it very interesting..He admitted to stretching himself thin with all his new establishments and that he relied on the ethics he's taught his Chefs to carry over if he can't be there..he use to clean his own stoves late at night but doubt he does that anymore..LOL..also talked about how he comes up with some of his dishes..
          I think he's a genius but also very humble..just hope he's not going to let all celebrity crap get to him and become another Wolfgang Puck

          1. re: rosso

            No way that guy could go Wolfgang Puck, he's too much of a perfectionist. But in terms of running a service, I think Corey Lee is at least as capable as Keller. Like any place, it can be a bit of a crapshoot--if you get stuck eating during a service where the place is packed with VIPs (more courses for them, thus more pressure on everyone), among other factors, there is potential for a long wait between courses. Also, not all the waiters/backwaiters/etc are equel. Lunch at TFL I think is the way to go--if you don't mind a big midday meal.