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Sep 28, 2009 11:10 PM

French Laundry in Napa or Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas - Which one?

Sometimes one has to plan to climb the Mount Everest of dining.

In Northern California Thomas Keller and the French Laundry would be considered by most to be the peak (both in food and difficulty in getting a table)... I also have a chance to go to Las Vegas and there the peak would be Joel Robuchon at the MGM in Las Vegas (considered god of French cooking).

Given both places are essentially $500 and up per person including wine, one has to plan to decide which one to go for (though I have a feeling i can get reservation at Joel Robuchon easier than French Laundry)

Anyone been lucky enough to dine at both to give a comparison?

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  1. The French Laundry is $240 per/person including service. Wine can get pricey but not crazy if careful. A lot of people also like Manresa in Northern California.

    1. haven't been to either, but one thing to keep in mind is that (at least for now) you can also get a (mostly) equivalent experience (food-wise and service-wise) to the french laundry at per se in new york, whereas you'd have to go out of the country for an equivalent robuchon restaurant.

      4 Replies
      1. re: vulber

        Isn't there an Atelier du Robuchon in Manhattan? Or is that very much different?

          1. re: Pei

            vegas also has an atelier du robuchon in addition to the restaurant.

            1. re: vulber

              Having dined at both places, I can assure you that the food at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, is far, far, far, superior to that at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon next door.

        1. I donno. There's an awful lot to be said for the relaxing experience you'll have at the Laundry...the sweet setting, and the pleasant bench in the grass outside, and the air and the scenery on route are all part of the experience. I just had some great dining in Vegas myself, but at the end of the meal, you're in Vegas. It's fun, yes, but not transcendent.

          1. If you go for the full tasting menu at Robuchon, it will be about $200 more per person than a meal at TFL. The food at TFL is very sophisticated Cal/French. The food at Robuchon is very sophisticated French Haut Cuisine. If I had never been to either, I'd go to TFL for bragging rights and because it is a the ultimate wine country experience. If money and time was not a problem and I was revisiting, I'd probably pick Robuchon, as the food is more sophisticated and over the top ingredient and flavor-wise.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Paul H

              Have been to Robuchon in Vegas and FL in Yountville and there is absolutely no comparison - FL wins. Also have been to both Robuchon restaurants in Paris and FL still wins.

              1. re: lizziee

                I've also dined at both and although Robuchon is excellent, FL is in an entirely different league. For my tastes, FL has a better setting, better scenery, and is a more relaxed dining experience.

                1. re: drycap

                  Ditto. To provide some context, we dined at French Laundry back in Jan. '08 and Robuchon in Vegas three months later. Since then, as it has been noted in other posts, TFL's chef has changed.

                  There were 2-3 interesting standout dishes (and on the flip side at least 1-2 disappointments) on the 13+ course Menu Degustation at Robuchon, coupled with their bounteous bread and mignardise carts (the highlight for me was an amazing chocolate sorbet and surprisingly enough, a soybean dish); however, for the overall atmosphere, experience, and just plain dish-for-dish, TFL came out on top.

                  Robuchon was fairly easy to reserve and nearly empty when we went for an early dinner (went to catch the late showing of "Love" right afterwards). It definitely felt more stuffy than TFL and as stuff in Vegas tends to be, a bit contrived...I still can't get over some of the inedible, food-like plate props.

                  With TFL, the reservation was a lot harder to land. We chanced upon an open seating Sunday early AM on OpenTable for the upcoming Tuesday night, drove up there for a late dinner, spent the night at the Milliken Creek Inn, then drove the hour + change back down to work the next morning - it was definitely worth the last-minute scramble!

                  Bottom line, given the chance to pick one to do over again, we'd likely go back to TFL - this time, in the summer, and for lunch.

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