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If can't get into French Laundry for 50th bday where should we eat in Los Angeles?

We live in Southern Oregon. My hubby decided he would like to have dinner at The French Laundry for his birthday which is in early December. I have done my research and see that there is clearly no guarantee that I can get a reservation (see that the best chance is to have a platinum American Express and use their concierge service, but we don't have one and it is $450 to get platinum AE - don't want to spend that much just to have a better chance to get a reservation=).

So, the question is if I can't get into TFL where should we go in LA? We have been to Providence three times and Bazaar once - looking for that type of experience but would prefer to go someplace we haven't been before, though may opt for Bazaar since have only been once before. We will be inviting 2 other couples to join us for the weekend.

We have also been to Gjelina's, Bestia, MBP but looking for something a bit more special for the bday dinner. Suggestions??

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  1. Urasawa. More intimate and more expensive than French Laundry.

    In the Japanese vein because LA does that so well: n/naka. More romantic than either one.

    I like both better than my meal at French Laundry.

    25 Replies
      1. re: Porthos

        Thanks for this suggestion - it looks fabulous and that's exactly the kind of experience we want - tasting menu or omakase!! Sadly, one of the people we want to have join us doesn't eat sushi - I am sure he would grin and bear it, but for that price we want everyone to really enjoy the meal =)

        1. re: FromHomeToRoam

          Look at SAAM, Allumette, or Providence.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            +1 for the Providence Tasting Menu. Best meal I've ever had in Los Angeles.

          2. re: FromHomeToRoam

            n/naka is very accommodating on that front, if that is something that interests you.

            1. re: andytseng

              n/naka is a good choice too - kind of a cross between Melisse and Urasawa.

              1. re: andytseng

                Another nod to n/naka. A singular experience. Chef Niki is amazing.

              2. re: FromHomeToRoam

                I went to Urasawa once with a group of 8, including one who ate only vegetables. No fish, shellfish, or meat - and they accommodated her needs quite nicely. Anyone could debate the "value" of that meal -- the price was the same as the rest of us -- but looking just at the food value, may miss the point.

              3. re: Porthos

                I am so psyched for n/naka...... Glad to hear it is romantic, I was picturing more austere......

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  Lucky for you, austere is NOT how I'd describe n/naka.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    Try staying at a local B&B in Yountville and asking the concierge to work their magic. I've scored 2 TFL tables this way.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      AMEX Concierge has never failed me -- anywhere.

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          Never needed one for Totoraku.

                          AMEX has gotten me last-minute reservations at Luger, and Luger doesn't even accept CC (except their own).

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Can they get you a table at Rao's in East Harlem, NY?

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Never tried. And Rao's doesn't really pique my interest for whatever reason.

                              And I don't like to abuse her services (or her staff's). Sometimes the reservations she gets me isn't so much having an "in" (although many times it is), but simply hard-work and diligence on her part (i.e., reservations at Ko). And she gets a nice holiday present from me each year for her efforts.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I've heard it's the toughest table in the US to get, outside of private clubs.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  If we want to be technical about it, does Rao's even have reservations in the true sense of the word?

                                  If the common belief is to be taken at face value, the tables at Rao's are owned like family heirlooms -- passed down from generation to generation. It's sort of like the restaurant version of Green Bay Packers season tickets.

                      1. re: J.L.

                        The concierge at the Vintage Inn in Yountville scored us a table at TFL last time my family and I were in Napa. Lovely place to stay as well.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      Porthos...I was planning to try to celebrate a very special occasion with my mostly vegetarian partner at The French Laundry. After reading your post and looking at the menus, I'm wondering if n/naka might not be a better choice. Of course the food takes top billing, but I want the atmosphere and service to be special as well. What do you think? I too am concerned about getting a res at the FL (although I do have an AmEx Platinum Card which is supposed to help)...is this a problem at n/naka?

                      1. re: josephnl

                        If you partner eats fish, then n/naka would be great. I can't imagine doing n/naka strictly vegetarian though (ie no fish or shellfish).

                        If your partner is strictly vegetarian, then go for TFL.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Even with n/naka's dedicated vegetarian menu (http://www.n-naka.com/menu/n-naka_Veg...)? I personally wouldn't choose it over the non-vegetarian option, but then I'm not vegetarian. The menu looks fantastic.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            Porthos...you have seen that n/naka does have a strictly vegetarian tasting menu much as does TFL? Although my partner does eat some fish, he would likely opt for the "safer" all vegetarian menu. You would still opt for TFL?

                            1. re: josephnl

                              I did see that. But what makes n/naka great were the abalone pasta, the sushi, etc. I don't know if the vegetarian menu is wow enough for a special occasion. In fact, I don't recall much in terms of vegetables from my meal.

                              Not to say I've had the vegetarian option at either, but if the occasion were special enough where you are considering doing TFL, go to TFL simply for the "special" factor.

                              If you were able to go no diet restrictions tasting, then I stand by my previous statement that for price and taste, I prefered n/naka.

                              It probably comes down to whether or not you want to stay local or go up to Yountville.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                I've done the vegetarian menu at n/naka. It's fabulous.

                                I will pass on the question of n/naka versus The French Laundry. (But will say, if the latter is an option, it would be hard to pass up, and I say this a die-hard n/naka fan.)

                        2. I like Melisse better than the French Laundry

                          22 Replies
                          1. re: la2tokyo

                            Me too. Which is not a criticism of TFL - which is a terrific restaurant and dining experience.

                            Melisse is a closer experience to The French Laundry than Urasawa is.

                            Either "The 10" or Carte Blanche menu should leave you feeling fully celebrated! Have fun and congratulations!

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              Love Melisse, but it is no French Laundry......

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                I agree - it's not even close.

                                The concierge at our hotel in Yountville was able to get us reservations at the French Laundry.

                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  Never had a great experience at Melisse. Food has always been OK, not spectacular. I enjoyed my meals at Providence more, but I would recommend Patina for a more intimate and quieter experience.

                                  Chef Nakayama at n/naka is very accommodating and may be able to swap out the sushi and sashimi courses, but that would affect 1/2 the tasting menu.

                                  1. re: TripleAxel

                                    I'm so stoked for my dinner at n/naka this week......

                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                      If the former manager/sommelier didn't quit, then you would have had the ultimate dining experience if you were to get the wine pairing. His explanations on the wines and sakes and how they pair with the dishes they accompany is exquisite. Truly enhances the experience. The new person is not very knowledgeable at all....

                                      If you don't get the wine pairing, I'd recommend a bottle of Yuzu Sake, addictive!

                                      1. re: TripleAxel

                                        Sounds great, thanks for the advice, will inquire when we go.

                              2. re: la2tokyo

                                I agree with Melisse, which, as far as I know, is as close to TFL as we have in L.A. I've been to TFL a couple of times, and while I loved it both times, I would choose Melisse over TFL because I have some choice in what I order and their food and service is great.

                                There is only one other restaurant I've been to in the western U.S. with exquisite food and over-the-top indulgence on par with TFL, and that is Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In fact, that's where I went for my 50th birthday, and it was beyond perfect. However, I don't know if you would even consider going to Vegas.

                                1. re: brandygirl

                                  Robuchon in L.V. is terrific (been 4 times), but the last time I went I felt the prices were simply too high. Two tasting menus and two of the least expensive wine pairings ended up costing me $1800 with tip.

                                  That's crazy. More than my first two cars and motorcycle -combined.

                                  And there were a few courses that should've been better. I'd love to go again - but not if I'm paying.

                                  1. re: brandygirl

                                    Love Joel Robuchon Vegas. Have been several times. I like it way better than TFL (as good as Per Se). The food is best during fall and winter when truffles are in season. The bread cart, chocolate cart, and wine list are more impressive than the food itself. They also pick you up in a "complimentary" limo.

                                    The tasting at L'Atelier is actually a great deal around $159 and you can request the full Joel Robuchon wine list. The room and lack of bread and chocolate carts make it a less plush experience but it is still very very good.

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      Yes, love that bread cart too. I was talking to a baker about that bread cart - we were thinking we could do a bread-only meal. With various butters, oils, cheese. Probably wouldn't catch on in these carbo-phobic times.

                                    2. re: brandygirl

                                      Thanks for the Joel Rubuchon recommendation. My hubby really likes that idea. They don't take reservations more than 60 days in advance either but may be easier than TFL. We will give it a try!!

                                      1. re: FromHomeToRoam

                                        Robuchon is amazing. Both my wife and I like it much better than TFL, and we have been to both restaurants multiple times.

                                        1. re: la2tokyo

                                          Well, at $1800 I sure as hell HOPE it's AMAZING! What's that? About double or triple TFL? But hey, it's Vegas, baby :)

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Yeah the last time I was there it was $1500 and I thought that was expensive. It's $435 for the tasting menu now? TFL is $270 including service, but if you add in the caviar and truffle supplements it can get close to the same price. At that price I would consider going to Melisse, ordering the Carte Blanche and spending the rest of the budget on wine, but Melisse wine is not exactly a great deal either.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I've been several times and it's usually $500-800 for 2. The bread cart and chocolate cart are so good I prefer the 4 or 5 course prix fixe which runs you $169-189pp. The rest is spent on wines. There are even 2-3 course prix fixe options for less.

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                Went there once many yrs ago, and our family had the smaller tasting menu. I agree, just fill up on the *phenomenal* bread! Service was impeccable, and I think it'd make a fantastic special b-day meal. They also seemed to have a "patio" area.

                                                Do they give a complimentary loaves to everyone? (b/c they gave that to us after we dined there)

                                                1. re: ilysla

                                                  They'll give complementary chocolate, or madelines, or cakes for the ladies to take home. Never got a loaf of bread though :)

                                                2. re: Porthos

                                                  http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/j...

                                                  $435 for the tasting menu.

                                                  2 x $435 = $870.

                                                  Wine pairings are $295, $595 and $995

                                                  2 x $295=$590

                                                  $870+$590=$1460.
                                                  Plus tax. Plus tip.

                                                  That's for the "cheap" wine pairing.

                                                  Here's the a la carte menu.

                                                  http://www.mgmgrand.com/pdf/robuchon_...

                                                  For the $127-$250 meals.

                                                  http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/j...

                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                    I'm not saying you can't spend $1800 per couple there. I'm saying you can still have a great experience at 1/2 to 1/3 that price.

                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      In Vegas, money just doesn't seem all that expensive.

                                            2. re: FromHomeToRoam

                                              Let them know it is a special occasion. Last time I was at Joel Robuchon for my birthday the pastry chef baked a delicious cake for the occasion (in addition to the desserts served with the menu). I felt that was really special.

                                        2. Thomas Keller has an excellent restaurant in Beverly Hills called Bouchon.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: cujo

                                            to be fair, it's a bistro, and the menu reflects that; a lot of stuff that can be cooked days before and reheated, or used/recycled into other recipes. not to say that it won't be expertly executed using impeccable technique, but you're still talking home-style cooking/comfort food for the most part vs. what you might find on the menu at french laundry, which is more about pushing the envelope.

                                            bouchon may make the best fried chicken you'll ever have, but it's still just fried chicken.

                                            1. re: cujo

                                              Bouchon in Vegas is much much better than the one in LA. Heck, might as well go to Bouchon or Ad Hoc in Yountville instead.

                                              1. A good friend has managed to score French Laundry reservations 48 hours out. Has worked for her several times. Do not give up!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                  Is that because of last minute cancellations Maudie ????

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    J.L. Has a good response. Couldd Be last minute cancellations . Just know that my friend has had at least dozen meals there and always on short notice. Worth mentioning they live in Marin

                                                2. Still head up to SF but go to Coi. Incredible, unlike anything you'll get in LA and fun to get out of town. Then do Zuni for lunch on the way out of town. That's what I would want. Easy, romantic trip out of town, amazing restaurant experience, fun hotel with the wife, then a great lunch on the way out.

                                                  1. Thanks all for your comments and suggestions. I have looked up everything that has been mentioned. Actually, he really liked the idea of Joel Robuchon LV. They don't take reservations more then 60 days in advance either but I'm thinking it will be a bit easier than TFL.

                                                    Unfortunately, we can't do the last minute cancellation at TFL because we need to plan flights/hotel, etc. plus there is going to be 6 of us, and I think that would be more difficult to come by.

                                                    For now, I made a reservation at SAAM (we have been once before and did love it) as they don't have a limit on when reservations can be made. On Oct. 6 I'll try to get reservations at either TFL or Joel Robuchon for Dec. 6 and if successful then will plan for flights/hotels accordingly.

                                                    More suggestions always welcome! My daughter lives in LA so we go down there fairly often.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: FromHomeToRoam

                                                      I don't remember how far in advance I made our reservations to Joel Robuchon, but I had no problem getting the date and time we wanted. We each ordered the prix fixe menu with two appetizers, one entree, and one dessert for about $200 each, plus we added a cheese course. To be honest, it was really too much food so I would not add the cheese course next time (although I loved their cheese). And considering how full we were, I cannot imagine having their huge tasting menu or their larger prix fixe menu. With wine, the cheese course, and supplemental charges for our more expensive options, I think the bill was slightly over $500 per person.

                                                      When you make your reservations, be sure to tell them you are celebrating a birthday. Also, if you are not staying at the MGM Hotel, ask if they still have the complimentary limo service.

                                                    2. First of all, there are a handful of reasonably comparable restaurants to TFL in Northern CA. There are zero in LA.

                                                      That said, Melisse is excellent and the best we've got in that type of cooking idea.

                                                      I just read that you are considering Saam. Never been, but hear it is nice...

                                                      1. ???
                                                        OP, I would love to help and chip in but am at a lost pertaining to your plan and intention?
                                                        If your party is willing to travel all the way to Napa to dine at TFL why not look at options in the near vicinity or SF area as alternatives? There are so many great restaurants in the SF area. Why LA??
                                                        Anyways, Michelin 3* Restaurant at Meadowood would be a great if not better alternative to TFL? Atelier Gren , Benu, SPQR and my favorite Masa's are all worthy candidates.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                          As I mentioned to someone else who asked that previously, just not really a big fan of SF (sorry), and the weather should be nicer in LA at that time (early Dec.) Plus our daughter lives in LA so she could join us!!

                                                          1. re: FromHomeToRoam

                                                            Thank you for your patience in explaining your reasoning.
                                                            I am....well....nonplussed that SF would have a non fan. Especially someone who can appreciate TFL. But.... Variance makes life exciting. Cheers and good luck on your quest.

                                                          2. re: Charles Yu

                                                            A CH friend who is a cook and diner extraordinaire said that her dinner at Atelier Crenn was the best meal she'd had in her life!

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              I wouldn't go that far, but I really enjoyed my meal there.

                                                              And Chef Crenn used to be local - Santa Monica. Which wasn't bad, just not great.

                                                              She's stepped up her game. Kudos. Tiny place, great service, creative, lovely food.

                                                            2. re: Charles Yu

                                                              Atelier Crenn and Saison would be excellent TFL alternatives in SF - however VERY different cuisine and experiences.

                                                              1. re: Searching4Dunny

                                                                Thoroughly enjoyed Crenn, but I believe Melisse to be better.

                                                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                  I def prefered my Crenn experience to my Melisse experince by leaps and bounds. Can't wait to return to Crenn again.

                                                            3. I was at TFL about 2 months ago, walked in to see if they had any cancellations (Ha Ha). The manager said they were full, but he did say that there is a private room upstairs that can be reserved up to a year in advance. I believe it seats approx. 8-10.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: mover44

                                                                Well, that sounds like just what OP is looking for. I believe she said about six. And for the difference in price between going to Robuchoun (?sp) she could well afford a surcharge if their party is too small. Certainly worth a phone call.

                                                              2. We had a 'side' discussion about TFL on the Toronto Board and this was posted by one of our Toronto hounds:

                                                                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08...

                                                                1. My vote is Melisse. I've had the best meals in Los Angeles there. Also it has two Michelin stars. I've heard very mixed things about Providence and so haven't gone.

                                                                  Also a tip on the french laundry- if you book a hotel in Yountville they can sometimes get you the reservation. My stepmother got a reservation this way and it wasn't 2 months ahead....

                                                                  1. Try booking a room at Vintage Inn in Yountville and have the concierge book a table for you at TFL. There are a few tables reserved for guests of that hotel and a few other ones in the area. The room rates are around $200-250 per night so it would be less than obtaining an AMEX Plat card.

                                                                    EDIT: I realize now that this post is from 2013. Anyway, my recommendation for reserving TFL through the Vintage Inn still stands.

                                                                    56 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Searching4Dunny

                                                                      Hey don't be outin' all our secret table procurement methods, man!

                                                                      1. re: Searching4Dunny

                                                                        FYI - Room rates today, as of July 17th, 2014 are up....

                                                                        Perimeter Courtyard $340 - $555
                                                                        Interior Courtyard $420 - $635
                                                                        Villa $525 - $740
                                                                        Mini Suites $525 - $740

                                                                        1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                          That's reasonable for location and season. Compare Santa Barbara now.

                                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                            I was there during a December so I believe the prices are lower during off-season.

                                                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                              will all these hotels do thru the concierge to garner entrance to the flagship The French Laundry ????????

                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                What do you mean…all these hotels? He was talking about different rates a the Vintage Inn!

                                                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                                                  my bad, i guess i mean, do all the other hotels with their rates noted also have a concierge that saves up seats for the French Laundy like the vintage inn does ????

                                                                                  my bad, it was a quick post. on my part.

                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                    I can't imagine that all the hotels in the Napa Valley have an in with TFL, but I bet that the better hotels in Yountville right near the restaurant have some pull. I've heard from another source however that the Vintage Inn does have some clout there…as does AmExp Platinum (which has gotten me very tough reservations in NYC).

                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                      got it, thanks man.

                                                                                      btw, does anyone happen to know if TFL is a full bar, i'm under the potential misconception that it's beer and wine only ?????????

                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                        "... beer and wine only..."

                                                                                        Yes

                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                          Wow Kevin. You probably are a kin-mate of mine. I generally will not go to any restaurant where I cannot get a Bombay Sapphire martini before dinner (I make great ones at home). But I guess I'd make an exception for TFL where I would hope that with a wine pairing, my thirst would be quenched at the end of the evening. But you know, after a meal like that, I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy a cognac at night's end. Does TFL have cognac or after dinner drinks available??

                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                            I recall ports, madeiras, etc. (each of exceeding pedigree and caliber, of course) are on offer after the dinner service at TFL.

                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                              But no cognac, Armagnac or similar spirit?

                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                My memory fails me at this point. You might try calling and asking or simply googling other peoples' TFL experiences.

                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                  It won't be a deal breaker for me in any case, nevertheless, it would be a shame not to be able to enjoy a cognac after a meal at TFL.

                                                                                                  1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                    I'd be surprised if you had room for it, frankly..... And I love a nice cognac after a meal....

                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                      Even better is the cognac poured into my coffee after the meal a la tanas.

                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                          Yep, now you're speaking my language.....

                                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                            which post was this in regards to ????? :)

                                                                                                            i lost my way in this thread.

                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                              Click on the "RE: kevin" in the little box in the upper left part of her comment. That links you back to the comment she was replying to. In this case, it was the cognac/coffee concoction comment (3 times fast).

                                                                                                              Correction: upper RIGHT, thanks for catching that, kevin.

                                                                                                                1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                                  Thanks man.

                                                                                                                  Upper right, correct ?

                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                    Yeah, upper-right within the space of the comment. Thanks for catching that.

                                                                                                                2. re: kevin

                                                                                                                  The cognac in the coffee at 'tana's......

                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                    got it now. my bad.

                                                                                                                    that will be the nightcap, i think i learned that little trick from one of the regs. :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                      Ha, I've been doing that for a while.... It's super yummy. While everyone has dessert, that's my dessert.....

                                                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                        au contraire, that and a slab of their chocolate cheesecake will do quite nicely. :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                          btw, was that the proper use of French ??????????

                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                            Yes, it was! But you know me, I can't eat that stuff....just tastes....but yea, that sounds awesome. Or one of their cannolis....

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              or their capp ice cream, but that may be overkill.

                                                                                                                              but never their tiramisu which reminds me of pedestrian wedding, quincierra, or bar/bat mitzvah catered tiramisu.

                                                                                                                              sorry, guys.

                                                                                                            2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                              I really can't recall after dinner spirits (I believe we drank some relatively dry but semi-sweet glasses of spumanti after dinner). I do recall a cigar menu though. A couple selections were enjoyed by us out in the courtyard with said spumantis.

                                                                                                          2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                            Nope cuz that is technically booze

                                                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                              Yes. I think ports and that ilk would still fall under Thr purview of a beer and wine license while congnscs, brandy, scotch, etc are hard liquors.

                                                                                                        2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                          Sapohire martini is my martini drink of choice.

                                                                                                          But every one on ten times I will get the fashionable though downright historically inaccurate vodka martini.

                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                            A vodka martini xtra dry just a classy way of getting a quad vodka shot

                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                              We're both on the same page Kevin. Now, I insist on at least a bit of vermouth in my Bombay Sapphire martini, something that has gone out of style. To me, by definition, a martini must have vermouth. What about you?

                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                Vesper Martini is the best: 2 oz. gin; 1 oz. vodka; 1/2 oz. Lillet. Shaken, not stirred.

                                                                                                                1. re: mc michael

                                                                                                                  vodka and gin together, that sounds beyond deadly ??????????????????

                                                                                                                  or maybe not ???????

                                                                                                                  what about boodles gin, some have mentioned though i haven't tried it just yet.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                    Not recommended on an empty stomach unless you want to check out early. You want one of the less botanical gins.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mc michael

                                                                                                                      And usually it must be said that very first martini is on an empty stomach.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                        Just order an app. You'll be fine.

                                                                                                                      2. re: mc michael

                                                                                                                        Why do you say that? Isn't it more the proof (percent alcohol x 2), rather than the botanicals, that makes different gins more or less potent? Bombay Sapphire is especially strong because at 94 proof, it's one of the more potent gins.

                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                          Proof is proof. Botanticals have nothing to do with that. It's about the flava of the drink. Plymouth or one of the Old Tom gins is best for this drink, i.e., less botanical.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mc michael

                                                                                                                            Still don't get it. Why is a less botanical gin better on a empty stomach?

                                                                                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                              It's not better or worse on the stomach, empty or full. It's better for the flavor of certain drinks, e.g., the Negroni. You don't want the botanicals conflicting with the taste of the Campari and the vermouth. OTOH, you want the botanicals in a G & T.
                                                                                                                              But, hey, you could do worse than drinking Sapphire with everything.

                                                                                                                  2. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                    i do too.

                                                                                                                    but if i'm not mistaken a heckuva load of joints, the fashionable Hollywood-esque joints will just pour the vodka (and it's always vodka unless you happen to specify) with ice into the martini shaker and then strained into a martini glass.

                                                                                                                    a component of the classic definition whether is some parts gin and then some parts vermouth.

                                                                                                                    buff said.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                      +1. A classic martini is gin and vermouth!

                                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                        Back when Centeno was still at Opus, I had sort of a variation on the dirty martini, made with Hendrick's gin and muddled cucumber. Perhaps not a martini for purists, but it was divine nonetheless.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mrhooks

                                                                                                                          Even though I am very much a martini traditionalist (gin, vermouth and a carefully rinsed olive), Hendrick's gin and cucumber are a wonderful pairing. Hendrick's gin itself contains some cucumber essence, and serving it very well chilled with either muddled cucumber or a cucumber slice garnish is quite delicious. I generally serve it in a martini glass...but I won't get into whether or not it's a martini.

                                                                                                  2. re: Searching4Dunny

                                                                                                    wow, thanks for the tip, dunny.

                                                                                                    but please erase it before everyone gets a wind of it.

                                                                                                    pretty please ?????? :)