April 03, 2007

French Laundry

Last night Emily and I dined at French Laundry with Rob and Traci. It was definitely the best meal I've ever had, and probably the best I will have. The company was great, the service was excellent, and food was perfect.

The reservations were for 5:30 pm, we arrived on time and left around 9:15 pm. By the end of the meal, the first few courses were a pleasant memory. (And, consequently, this will be a long post.)

The Menu

They started us off with gougeres and their famous salmon ice cream cones. (Salmon on top, crème fraîche inside and a savory cone.)

The first course was "Oysters and Pearls," a Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca and Point Reyes Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar.

Then some cute loaves bread were delivered, with two different styles of butter. (And butter baked inside.) They made sure to inform us that the breads were all from the Bouchon Bakery down the street. (Emily has some pictures of that, too.)

For the salad course, most of us got a salad of glazed sunchokes and navel orange suprêmes. (Emily's was served without pine nuts.)

I opted for the foie gras dish, which came with an assortment of sea salts and brioche.

For the first fish coarse, we had a choice between a sea urchin dish and a Japanese Suzuki (some kind of sea bass, I believe). Both were excellent.

The "gratin" under the sea urchin was one of the best sauces of the meal, and the clear ginger sauce around the peas was also amazing. I'd love to have the recipes for both, maybe if I wrote the chef...

The second fish course was a main lobster tail, poached in butter, with an asparagus/serrano ham "omelette" (more of a roulade) and a tarragon coulis.

The first meat course was milk-fed chicken, with a truffled sauce inside, swiss chard, and Michigan cherries. The meat was very tender and flavorful; the cherries were perfect.

Emily got an off-the-menu duck dish, which was also quite good, but I didn't quite catch the full description.

For the second meat course, we had a choice between a lamb and beef dish. The lamb dish had to be ordered for two, so both couples got it. It included three different cuts of lamb, artichoke, a "garlic pudding," and a rosemary jus. I think the reddish lump was the garlic pudding, but it had a lovely roasted red pepper taste that made more of an impression than the garlic.

The cheese course had a washed-rind cow's milk cheese. The flavor kinda reminded me of Italian Fontina. It was accompanied by poached onions and some greens.

The first dessert course was a rhubarb sorbet.
Emily got a mango sherbet on something resembling angel food cake for her first dessert course. (Again, it was off the menu, so I'm not exactly sure what it contained.)

We had a perfect espresso. The cup was narrow and tall, which caused a nice, thick layer of crema on top.

For the second dessert course, I had a green tea and white chocolate dish with a passion fruit jelly and a passion fruit foam. The foam was quite amazing, the flavor way more intense than I'd expected.

Emily had the Baked Alaska with coconut ice cream, persian lime, pound cake, and compressed pineapple.

"Mignardises" - French for assault by desserts. The ladies were given a small Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée, the gentlemen got a meyer lemon pot de crème. Then they gave us roasted macadamia nuts coated in chocolate, and a orange tuile.

Then they came around with a tray of truffles. About six varieties, we were encouraged to choose whatever we wanted, but were so full that we only went with 2-3. (I chose coffee and banana ones, the others were caramel, praline, peanut butter, and raspberry.)

Finally they gave us some shortbread as a parting gift.

And, the laundry bill...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a wonderful time at the French Laundry! The photos are amazing. Thank you (and Emily) for sharing this experience with us. M&D