For my birthday this year, I said f*ck it and decided to indulge a little.
To get a reservation, you need to be on your game. They only take online reservations nowadays and release tables for a 2 month period at a time. So, a few months ago I put on my calendar when they were opening reservations for May and June and hopped on the site when it opened. I was amazed how quickly times and days booked up…within minutes of opening. I managed to snag a Friday lunch time close to my actual birthday.
I’ve never actually dined at multi-starred Michelin fine dining restaurant before, so wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I specifically didn’t want to read too much about other’s experiences because I didn’t want to go into the meal with bias. I read maybe 1 review but mostly for logistics about parking, etc. Prior to this, the only experience at Michelin starred restaurant was at one-starred Solbar in the Solage resort in Calistoga.
We have many numerous trips to Napa so getting there I was on autopilot and didn’t have to worry about directions and which way to go. There was the expected traffic on a Friday morning so we had planned accordingly. We arrived early to Yountville and sat on a bench in front of the French Laundry’s garden (across the street from the restaurant). It was a beautiful day though a bit warm (still I am amazed at just how much cooler it is in Napa than it is in Sac).
Even though it was still a little bit before our reservation, we were anxious to get in and start the experience so we walked through the famous blue doors early.
Just inside the door was a small lobby that felt almost like a boutique hotel/B&B. We were led upstairs to our table immediately. The decor and feel of the place was much like you were eating in someone’s home.
We then proceeded to enjoy a lovely lunch with some amazing food. I’m just going to let the beautiful plates tell the picture of a wonderful experience I was able to share with my wife.
I elected to do the wine pairing option and the staff would bring wines at certain times to pair with the various dishes. It was a LOT of wine.
We were able to take a brief look of the kitchen. They were in the middle of transitioning from lunch crew to dinner crew so it was a bit chaotic so we didn’t stay long.
Overall it was a fantastic experience. I really enjoyed the various plates and presentations of each dish. The stemware for the different types of wine were also fun. I expected them to be very detailed focus and was impressed by it.
A small gift bag with a tin of some shortbread cookies was a nice parting token.
My only gripe with fine dining is that you are required to wear a jacket at the meal. This maybe more just the fact that I don’t wear suits or jackets much, but I would much rather be comfortable at a meal than have to look a certain way. Again that is just personal preference and I respect the traditions and rules. This was probably a once in a lifetime experience and I’m glad and humble to be able to enjoy it.