HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
What have you made lately?
TELL US

Ultimate Tasting Menu if it can't be French Laundry

y
yumpassion88 Aug 14, 2011 08:19 PM

I wanted to treat my parents to a meal at the French Laundry as a wedding gift (my wedding), but my dad will be out of the country after next month for several months and I don't think I can get a reservation before he leaves. I want the meal to be very special and an excellent and memorable food and wine experience that is creative but also doesn't leave you hungry from tiny portions or put-off by overly stuffy service.

I just moved back to the bay area from Seattle, so I don't know the food scene here well yet. Where do you think I should treat them to?

Here are tasting/multi-course dining experiences I'm considering. What do you think and do you have other suggestions?

Manresa
Cyrus
Morimoto Napa
Benu
Saison
Alexanders Steakhouse

Thanks for your help!

Jennifer

-----
Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Saison
2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Morimoto
610 Main Street, Napa, CA

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

  1. y
    yumpassion88 Dec 19, 2011 09:01 PM

    Thank you all so much for your input, and sorry for the late response. I was in such a flurry to have something for the rehearsal dinner on Aug 15 and then consumed with my wedding and honeymoon.

    I ended up going with Manresa, and my parents had an excellent time and enjoyed the very creative, fresh, seasonal, beautiful food, wine, ambiance, and service. They were thrilled. I definitely hope to try Manresa, and many of the others soon. Maybe for our anniversary :).

    1 Reply
    1. re: yumpassion88
      Ruth Lafler Dec 19, 2011 10:34 PM

      Thanks for reporting back!

    2. prima Aug 17, 2011 04:29 PM

      I'd go with Manresa.

      -----
      Manresa Restaurant
      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

      1. m
        mhuang Aug 17, 2011 04:11 PM

        I haven't been to all on your list, but of the ones I've been to, I'd say Manresa or Benu. Portions are small at Benu, but there are like 20 dishes, so I doubt they'll be starving.

        Morimoto Napa is way too noisy (a result of the concrete aesthetic and acoustics)I felt they also overfed you at Morimoto's -- the last savory in the omakase is "surf and turf", with generous portions of wagyu, lobster AND pork belly.

        Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino is a nice steakhouse, but not even in the same league as TFL. The omakase is very good, and the service is good, but eating their lacks the *specialness* of TFL, Manresa and Benu.

        My impression is that Cyrus and Meadowwood are similar in feel to TFL and other high end dining options, but I haven't been.

        -----
        Manresa Restaurant
        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        Alexander's Steakhouse
        10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014

        Morimoto
        610 Main Street, Napa, CA

        Benu
        22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

        1. w
          whiner Aug 17, 2011 03:45 PM

          Manresa. No-brainer.

          Meadowood, based upon others' reports, would be the #2

          -----
          Manresa Restaurant
          320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

          1. m
            ML8000 Aug 16, 2011 05:24 PM

            I actually prefer Manresa to TFL. It was more interesting creatively and outside the box. I'd go there ahead of TFL.

            Might also consider The Dining Room at the Ritz Carleton since it changes over to something else in Sept.

            -----
            Manresa Restaurant
            320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

            1. m
              MRMoggie Aug 16, 2011 04:46 PM

              Chef is leaving Meadowood (in SF Chron last week.)

              You didn't mention area -- Wine Country or the city.

              We've had exceptional food and service at La Toque, now in Napa. Ken Frank is a terrific chef and Scott runs a top flight wine program. Portions are reasonable and we've always finished our meals very satisified but not overdone by food that's too rich.

              In the city, Gary Danko never fails.

              Miromoto gets raves but it's a high energy place, the opposite of what you'd experience at Manressa, La Toque, French Laundry or Cyrus (another thought).

              -----
              The French Laundry
              6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              Gary Danko
              800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              La Toque Restaurant
              1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559

              1 Reply
              1. re: MRMoggie
                Paul H Aug 17, 2011 07:25 AM

                The Chronicle reported that Joseph Humphrey who was at Meadowood before he left to cook at Cavallo Point, was opening his own restaurant. The current Meadowood chef, Christopher Kostow, who has received three stars from Michelin, and four stars from the Chronicle is still there.

              2. Paul H Aug 15, 2011 12:48 PM

                My group ranking in terms of quality:

                1.
                French Laundry
                Manresa

                2.
                Coi
                Cyrus
                Meadowoood
                Benu

                3.
                Saison (service suffers in comparison)

                4.
                Morimoto Napa
                Alexander Steakhouse

                1. s
                  shouzen Aug 15, 2011 12:01 PM

                  All good choices, but don't leave out the Restaurant at Meadowood

                  Show Hidden Posts