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Jul 28, 2009 12:04 PM

French Laundry for lunch

Going for lunch in Sept. with 2 friends. What is the cost for lunch or is it still about $240 a person like dinner. Also, can you bring wine and just be charged a corkage fee? Thanks

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  1. Yes, the menu is the same and the cost is the same. You can bring wine, but the corkage is quite high: it used to be $50/bottle but it may have gone up since then. Factual questions like this are best answered by contacting the restaurant or looking at their website (which I just did -- corkage is still $50).

    21 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I was under the impression that FL really looked down on bringing your own wine, and the corkage was intended to make the statement that they allow it but are not all that accepting due to the quality of the wine list they provide.

      1. re: Scott M

        Fifty dollars is in line with what other top tier restaurants charge -- I've even seen reports of restaurants that charge more, so I don't think it's meant to be outrageous. Regardless of the statement they intend to make, they do allow you to bring your own. Of course, you can't bring a bottle that's already on their wine list, but otherwise, who cares what they think?

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I believe $50 is the highest corkage fee in the Bay Area.

          Cyrus, Gary Danko, Michael Mina, and Quince charge $35. Manresa charges $35 for the first bottle, $50 thereafter. Aqua charges $30, Chez Panisse $25. Coi waives its $20 corkage fee if you purchase a bottle (many places do that informally).

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I think Coi's corkage is currently at $35 with a 2-bottle maximum per table.

        2. re: Scott M

          Well they have a pretty large wine staff to take care of things on the wine front (you will NOT get the Riedel Sommelier glassware with your BYOB wines unless you work this out with them beforehand). Part of it is they know they can get the corkage, they are in Napa Valley, lots of industry folks visit and bring wines form their cellars. I go and usually bring at least a few bottles and usually purchase something off the list. The list is nice but quite expensive.

          1. re: skwid

            This is all good to know since at lunch I don't want to drink lots of bottles of wine, but thought since I have a friend who owns a vineyard and also trying to keep the cost down, that it would make sense. Hmmmm......have to think about it. Due to the recession, NYC is offering no corkage fee in most places now.

            1. re: taboo

              One other thing, if you are fretting about the cost of a meal at The French Laundry then I'm not sure you should go. Things will be expensive no matter what you do. The meal alone is $240 (this includes gratuity) and then you have to add in drinks and any additions (upgrading to Foie Gras is extra as is a Wagyu beef option if available). So figure a minimum of $300/person. If this scares you then I would not go as you will be worrying about the costs instead of just sitting back and enjoying yourself (which is really what you want to do at TFL). I'm not saying hand them your credit card and saying "charge whatever you want, but frettting about the cost doesn't make for a good meal.

              1. re: skwid

                I don't entirely agree with your statement in that watching costs and enjoying your meal aren't mutually exclusive. It's better to know what to expect up front than to feel horrible about it after the meal, imo.

                1. re: kloh

                  I agree with that Kloh and my point really was that if paying $300 (or more) makes you worry about the amount of money you are spending then you should probably dine elsewhere. The costs for TFL are pretty well known and documented in various threads here on Chowhound so the costs shouldn't come as much of a suprise (except perhaps for the cost of wine).

              2. re: taboo

                Have you checked to see if your friend's vineyard has made the list so that it would be ok to bring it?

                1. re: wolfe

                  Actually the 2004 Genium, "Ecologic," Priorato on the wine list for $120 isn't that bad of a deal all things considered.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I did not know that his vineyard has to be on the list in order to bring the bottle. I will check. Thanks!

                    1. re: taboo

                      No, the bottle you bring cannot be on the list.

                      1. re: wally

                        Thanks wally. I was referring to Ruth's post above and I guess I wasn't clear enough.
                        "Of course, you can't bring a bottle that's already on their wine list."

                      2. re: taboo

                        The wine list is on their website, so you can check. You can also take the time to go through it and pick out some more "wallet-friendly" choices off the list.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Actually the wine list is here ^ wolfe Jul 29, 2009 01:44PM

                    2. re: taboo

                      A common thread about TFL these days is "very good, not worth the price". If you go in with the idea that $300 per person is expensive, you might get grumpy about the meal and miss what is really great. At that price, these days, people expect every single dish to be the best they've ever eaten - when maybe 5 out of 10 are "best ever". Have a good meal - I wish I had the time to go, myself!

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        I just had 2 meals at TFL and it is worth it, but don't go with the attitude this had better be the most incredible experience of my life - just have fun and enjoy.

                        1. re: lizziee

                          You nailed it. The first time I went I was so hyped by the hype and expectations, it really detracted from the experience although it was still very good. The mind is mightier then the palette so you have to keep it in check. A couple more visits and I really enjoyed things.

                        2. re: bbulkow

                          My friend and I are huge foodies and have eaten at the best places and have spent the money (better yet when we are taken there). My concern was that we are also paying for our friend as a thank you for letting us stay on his vineyard. I checked and his wine is not on the list, so we can bring it. Yea.