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).

The French Laundry garden

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.

Laundry symbols on the lamps
Art in the restroom

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.


The birthday wish at the top was a nice touch. These menus were given to me after our meal


Tasting of Vegetables – we both elected for the Chef’s Tasting Menu




“Oysters and Pearls”
Elevages Perigord Moulard Duck Foie Gras Torchon
Various types of salt for the Foie
The wife’s Garden Radish Salad
Wild Scottish sea trout “terrine”
“Beets and Leeks”
“Bread and Butter”
Soft Boiled Rhode Island Red Hen Egg (with a ridiculous amount of Australian Black Winter Truffles.
Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu
Hearth Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
“Happy birthday!”
Assorted desserts galore!
Passionfruit and PB&J bonbons

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.

I elected to do the wine pairing option where they choose wines that pair well with the dishes. It was a LOT of wine!
The cab

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.

The newly renovated kitchen – about 2 years old
The kitchen
Live feed from Per Se in NYC

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.


– StewsCat


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