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Bistro Jeanty ONE STAR? [Yountville]

d
demitasse04 Jun 14, 2012 11:19 AM

After many years overseas one of my treks UP was to Napa Valley was for lunch at bistro jeanty- Went thru open doors only to be told they were not open for 10 minutes and would not let us sit, even on the patio. Got home to find the sf chronicle's Bauer had given them a 1-star for food. Is this just the way things are, or did Mike and I have aberrant experiences?

  1. h
    HoosierFoodie Jun 14, 2012 12:22 PM

    We were just there in May and had a great experience. We've been four or five times and only once had anything close to marginal service. One somewhat grumpy waiter a few years ago. Never had a problem with the food, either. So I would think it an aberrant experience. Its far from the best place in Yountville but in my experience it has been very good and dependable.

    16 Replies
    1. re: HoosierFoodie
      mariacarmen Jun 14, 2012 01:07 PM

      thank goodness for your reply, HF. i've missed Jeanty's food soooooo much since Jeanty @ Jack's closed in the City. Glad to hear the Yountville place is still going strong. I really wish he'd come back to San Francisco....

      1. re: mariacarmen
        escargot3 Jul 3, 2012 05:34 PM

        moi aussi... i really miss Jeanty @ jack's.

      2. re: HoosierFoodie
        CarrieWas218 Jun 14, 2012 02:48 PM

        I personally think Bauer has something against Philippe Jeanty as I have never had anything but exceptional service and food. One of my favorite restaurants in Yountville...

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          maria lorraine Jun 14, 2012 08:39 PM

          There's something to this -- a personal falling out between the two, I surmise from industry rumbles, and reading between many lines. Bauer used to be a huge fan of Phillippe Jeanty.

          Carrie, want to meet there for lunch or...?? Write me at the email on my profile. Thanks.

          1. re: CarrieWas218
            Robert Lauriston Jun 15, 2012 09:55 AM

            I think Bauer's correct that the food doesn't change with the season, but that's a problem with the Web site copy, not the food.

            Doesn't the puff pastry on top of the tomato soup always get soggy?

            People who don't like their food seasoned the way they do in Paris should go elsewhere.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              mariacarmen Jun 15, 2012 10:36 AM

              the puff pastry doesn't actually touch the soup, from what i recall. it's fabulous.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                Ruth Lafler Jun 15, 2012 10:44 AM

                Having a traditional French bistro in Yountville makes as much sense as having one in Rome. Maybe less, because the ratio of tourists to locals (who might enjoy a change of pace) is probably higher in Yountville.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  d
                  dunstable Jun 15, 2012 11:26 AM

                  *scratches his head*

                  Why would it be senseless to have a French bistro in either of those places? Especially in the case of Yountville, a city whose most celebrated restaurant is also essentially French.

                  1. re: dunstable
                    Ruth Lafler Jun 15, 2012 02:33 PM

                    I didn't say "senseless" -- there's a wide range of things making sense. Yountville is where tourists go to experience California wine country cuisine. There's no point in going there and eating at a traditional French bistro that could be anywhere unless you are a local and want a change of pace from your "native" cuisine.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      Robert Lauriston Jun 16, 2012 10:43 AM

                      It's a very anti-Chowhoundish additude, but tourists of some nationalities seek out their own cuisines when traveling or living abroad. In tourist areas, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean restaurants can get a nice extra revenue stream if they hook into the tour-bus circuit or get into foreign travel guides such as Michelin (Jeanty formerly had one star and is currently Bib Gourmand).

                      What is California wine country cuisine but variations on French and/or Italian cuisine, anyway? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you grew up in France or Italy, after a few days of the Californicated stuff even an open-minded adventurous eater might be pining for the real thing.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        d
                        dunstable Jun 16, 2012 11:50 AM

                        Ha, that happened to a good friend of mine in his youth. As a teenager, he went to France with his parents and sister. To his and his sister's great horror, the parents packed a rice cooker, with the intention of making Korean food in their hotel room. Every day. "Why the hell did we come all the way to France if we're going to eat homemade Korean food every day!" they complained. It took almost a week before the parents relented, by which point the parents had realized that those French people aren't shabby at cooking.

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler
                    Robert Lauriston Jun 15, 2012 11:39 AM

                    Seemed like maybe half the customers were French last time I was there. It's been in business for 15 years, so he's doing something right.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Ruth Lafler Jun 15, 2012 02:34 PM

                      As there undoubtedly would be in a French bistro in Rome.

                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                      ChefJune Jul 10, 2012 10:49 AM

                      Have you been there, Ruth? Bistro Jeanty is my favorite place in Napa Valley. Wonderful food, lovely setting, good to great service. I don't know what's to not like.

                      1. re: ChefJune
                        Ruth Lafler Jul 11, 2012 09:56 PM

                        Yes, I've been there. I try not to bash places I don't have personal experience with. And anyway, it's not so much that I don't like Bistro Jeanty (although I wasn't crazy about it), as that I think it's missing the point for a *visitor* to California -- and especially to the wine country -- to eat traditional French food (just as it would be for a visitor to Rome to eat French food). Locals, have at it!

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          Robert Lauriston Jul 12, 2012 11:18 AM

                          49% of visitors to Napa are from California, only 7.5% are from other countries. For me, Jeanty's more interesting than the California cuisine that dominates the Napa area, since I can get that at home.

                          http://www.legendarynapavalley.com/do...

              2. n
                NVNative Jul 3, 2012 02:46 PM

                Why would you be upset if you were told they werent open yet? Would you go into a grocery store and say, "I just want to fill up my cart until you are open"??? Why is a restaurant/winery different than any other business?

                22 Replies
                1. re: NVNative
                  b
                  bigwheel042 Jul 3, 2012 04:47 PM

                  Usually grocery stores don't unlock the doors until they are open. According to the OP the door to the restaurant was open, so I can see how an awkward situation resulted.

                  1. re: bigwheel042
                    n
                    NVNative Jul 3, 2012 07:59 PM

                    I work in the industry and our owner prefers we keep the door unlocked so guests feel welcome to come in and make reservations, ask questions or look at the menu. To discredit a restaurant because of this is silly in my opinion.

                    1. re: NVNative
                      d
                      demitasse04 Jul 9, 2012 10:51 AM

                      They made it clear that we were not going to be given a menu, allowed to ask questions, anything. Doors open, customers NOT WELCOME

                      1. re: demitasse04
                        maria lorraine Jul 9, 2012 10:28 PM

                        I'm sorry this happened to you, but it sounds like they were busy setting up and didn't have time to speak with you. Yes, the folks could have been more cordial, but they were busy. No need to bad-mouth the resto for this. Had you eaten there and didn't like the food, that'd be another thing.

                        I personally love the tomato soup with the puff pastry dome, the moules frites with the grilled baguette, the smoked trout salad, the steak tartare, the tarte tatin, the bearnaise sauce you can order on the side. I love the patio. I think it's a great spot. The bad review appears, at least to me, to be a personal thing between Bauer and Jeanty -- love gone bad. I'll be back again and again -- it's a soul-satisfying place for me.

                        1. re: maria lorraine
                          CarrieWas218 Jul 10, 2012 09:32 AM

                          ^^^^ What Maria Lorraine said ^^^^

                          1. re: maria lorraine
                            Sarah Jul 10, 2012 10:25 AM

                            Same here -- recent lunch of sardines, pigs feet salad, nicoise, and mussels was terrific, as was the service...

                            1. re: Sarah
                              mariacarmen Jul 10, 2012 10:53 AM

                              i miss that pigs feet salad like nobody's business!

                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                Sarah Jul 10, 2012 11:22 AM

                                My absolute favorite. I usually have one there and then get one to go!!

                                1. re: Sarah
                                  mariacarmen Jul 10, 2012 03:41 PM

                                  and the lamb's tongue salad.....

                                  1. re: mariacarmen
                                    escargot3 Jul 11, 2012 01:22 PM

                                    ah...the lamb's tongue was so tasty...

                            2. re: maria lorraine
                              d
                              demitasse04 Jul 11, 2012 02:00 PM

                              Bad-mouthing the restaurant while they were busy? There were four people standing around when we walked in; when we we around outside there were five kitchen guys eating on the patio. I have on several occasions been offered a glass of water, a look at the menu, even a glass of wine by other restaurants while waiting the 5 or 20 minutes before opening.

                              1. re: demitasse04
                                Sarah Jul 11, 2012 05:04 PM

                                So sad ... do what the folks on this site do -- vote with your feet... you did leave without eating?

                                1. re: Sarah
                                  s
                                  stanbee Jul 11, 2012 10:17 PM

                                  sounds like the early arrival interrupted staff meal?

                                  1. re: Sarah
                                    d
                                    demitasse04 Jul 21, 2012 11:15 AM

                                    We walked the block over to Bouchon

                                  2. re: demitasse04
                                    maria lorraine Jul 11, 2012 05:11 PM

                                    They probably could not legally have offered you a glass of wine or alcohol in any form before they were officially open. Many restaurants also have insurance regulations that do not allow patrons in the resto before opening. Had the restaurant personnel the time or presence of mind to explain that to you cordially, you probably would not still be holding onto this slight.

                                    1. re: maria lorraine
                                      d
                                      demitasse04 Jul 21, 2012 11:15 AM

                                      did you even read the whole post? "a GLASS OF WATER, A LOOK AT THE MENU, even a glass of wine "

                                      1. re: demitasse04
                                        maria lorraine Jul 21, 2012 03:35 PM

                                        Of course, and I responded.

                                        Restaurants, especially in Napa Valley, have extremely strict guidelines on when they can and cannot offer someone a glass of wine. They risk fines and losing their license if they don't follow the law. You arrived before opening; they cannot legally offer you wine then.

                                        Restaurants here (and presumably elsewhere) usually also have insurance regulations that do not allow patrons inside the restaurant before opening either. The restaurant runs a liability risk if you are inside while tables and chairs are still being set up, cleaning equipment is being put away or used, or other restaurant setup actions are happening.

                                        If the employees who will be fixing and serving to you your meal are on break and having their "family meal" while you wished to be seated or given a menu or glass of water or wine, the resto is not open yet.

                                        1. re: maria lorraine
                                          CarrieWas218 Jul 22, 2012 12:09 AM

                                          Well said, Ms. Maria Lorraine!

                                          1. re: CarrieWas218
                                            wolfe Jul 22, 2012 01:01 AM

                                            Was it Frank Loesser (The Most Happy Fella) or Rogers and Hammerstein(Oklahoma) that wrote "Napa Valley Folks Should Stick Together"?

                                            1. re: CarrieWas218
                                              Tripeler Jul 22, 2012 01:44 AM

                                              Maria Lorraine's very informative posts are always based on solid facts. Yet another example of this.

                                            2. re: maria lorraine
                                              The Chowhound Team Jul 22, 2012 09:16 AM

                                              (Not responding specifically to maria lorraine, but to this subthread in general.)

                                              Sorry to interrupt the chowtalk, but since all of you have described your experiences and opinions, along with the relevant issues of restaurant protocol/legalities, it's time to move on and shift the talk back to about where to find delicious food.

                                      2. re: maria lorraine
                                        m
                                        Malcolm Ruthven Jul 11, 2012 09:50 PM

                                        Bistro Jeanty is one place that's been on my "to do " list for a long time, but I've never done more than walk through. This thread will be the impetus I need to get there soon.

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