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Apr 4, 2011 03:40 PM

Price increase at Meadowood

So I've noticed that the tasting menu with wine pairings has gone up about 25% in price in less than a year (it used to be $175 food/ $125 wine, now $225 food, $150 wine).
That seems to be a large increase. Especially considering French Laundry only has gone up about 8% in the last 2 years ($250 to $270).
Normally, a price increase of that size indicates a shift in the style of the menu.
Has there been big changes going on at Meadowood since they received the 3rd Michelin star?

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. Four of us went in early/mid Dec, not too long after the 3rd star and did not see any changes then. And looking at their menu online just now, the style looks similar

    I usually don't do the tasting menu but rather the Prix Fix; it's just the right amount for me, so I don't feel too stuffed. The price of that has gone up as well. I like that it's much easier to get a reservation.

    1. Meadowood just got their third star last October. They were charging 35% less than the only three-star place in the area, now they're charging 17% less than the only other three-star place.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        TFL's tasting menu includes the service charge. Adding 20% to Meadowood's $225 makes it exactly the same price. Does it compare? Have to eat at Meadowood to tell...

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Does the new price at Meadowood include gratuity like TFL does? If no, then technically I guess they cost the same.
          Which would mean Meadowood instantly bumped their price to equal TFL.
          Granted, they both have 3 stars now. But did the extra star really equal such a large price jump to equal an institution like TFL?
          That's why I was wondering about enhancements to the menu or restaurant.

          1. re: Heeney

            I think restaurants have to invest in advance to have a shot at a third Michelin star. If they get it, then it's their chance to cash in.

            Same goes for four stars from the Chron, which they also got last year.

            Meadowood Napa Valley
            900 Meadowood Ln St, Helena, CA

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Did Meadowood make a lot of updates leading up to the 3rd star?
              Never been, obviously. We went to TFL last year but skipped Meadowood and went to Cyrus instead. We were thinking of going to Meadowood in the fall.

              1. re: Heeney

                From an interview with former Michelin guide director Jean-Luc Naret:

                Q. What can you tell us about Meadowood this year? What set the restaurant apart from the others in the two-star list last year (Coi, Manresa, Cyrus) that made it deserve the promotion?

                A. The difference between two and three is really consistency. You can have an equivalent experience at a two-star restaurant, you can have an incredible dish, and a wonderful meal. But at Meadowood we returned six times this year and Christopher really amazed us this year. Over the last few years we've kept an eye on the restaurant, and I've always loved it there, even before Christopher was there, but we didn't find the consistency we were looking for. This year, Christopher has been growing his own produce and doing really incredible things. It is truly a three-star experience across the menu.


                Manresa Restaurant
                320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        2. Dined at French Laundry and Meadowood on consecutive nights in February. I think the Meadowood Tasting menu was $175 + $125 for wine pairing then, vs $225 + $150 now, so yes, a nice bump in prices. It wasn't busy back in Feb mid-week but I'm guessing they are raising prices for the spring and summer simply because they can, ie, a lot of people want to try the 'other' Michelin 3* and the valley is much busier now than in the winter.

          As for comparisons between the two places, TFL was pretty much as expected, flawless execution, quiet efficient service and excellent food. Meadowood isn't quite operating at the same scale (or wasn't then) in that there were fewer courses, the take-home wasn't very ambitious, not as many service staff and they weren't quite as polished. But there was soft music playing (TFL was as quiet as a church) and the dining room felt less formal and more comfortable than TFL.

          But the food at Meadowood was excellent too and a bit more risk-taking. I can't recall a single dish from TFL that really wowed me (all was excellent, but I'm talking about 'wow, haven't seen that before!) but I still remember two of the Meadowood dishes as WOWsers.

          One was an amuse-bouche that at first glance looked like a small plant pushing up thru old snow, like you see in late spring in the mountains. Visually arresting ... but the 'snow' was a tomato water granite. The 'plant' was a baby radish, and underneath was a puree of lettuce and cream. So you had the tartness of the radish with the slight acidity of the tomato water over the rich creaminess of the cream/lettuce. The dish worked exceptionally well on presentation and taste, plus it made you think when you first saw it.

          The other dish I remember was langoustine and scallop wrapped in a very thin 'rice' paper made of tapioca and then steamed, served with pork belly and fish sauce. This was the best piece of langoustine I have ever had, maybe because of the steaming -- better than at Le Bernardin, Robuchon, even better than the lobster we had at TFL the previous night. Another wow! dish ...

          Anyway, when we go back to Napa we'll definitely go to the French Laundry again. If I had to pick just one of these two I'd pick TFL at these price points (yes, Meadowood is in danger of over-pricing itself) but for sure if we had two nights set aside for fine dining I'd definitely go to Meadowood again.

          The French Laundry
          6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          1. Harumph. Recently made a reservation at Meadowood for late April.
            They should charge the price that existed when I looked them up and made the reservation.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pauliface

              You might mention it to them, if you're comfortable about that kind of thing.

              Last summer, Chris Kostow was on Iron Chef against Cat Cora; it was aired at the local theater in St Helena. Chef Kostow mentioned that a discount would be given, if the movie ticket was presented at the restaurant. We went there in Dec; I asked, they comped us 2 wine pairings. They also gave us a couple of extra glasses of wine on top of that.

              1. re: Dawgmommy

                Good point. What I may do is call ahead to clarify the price. Say that I read one thing and heard another and want to prepare my co-diners for what to expect....

            2. They just announced a new top-of-the-line menu, $500 including service charge and tax, optional beverage pairing starting around $350.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Makes me think of Babette's feast:
                ""but dinner for twelve at the Cafe Anglais costs 10000 francs."

                1. re: pauliface

                  But that was when the franc was worth something.