It was a Friday afternoon when I was invited to French Laundry by a buddy. He told me to wear a suit and I happily obliged because it was the only clean thing in my closest.
After work, I rushed home, gather my things and threw on the suit then headed to Napa. It wasn’t a bad drive but we all know how bad San Francisco traffic can get on a Friday. I arrived 10 minutes early and decided to wait in front while I smoked a cigarette. Apparently, the other clients didn’t like the smell of it, so I went inside and dropped off my dirty laundry at the front desk.
The host looked disgusted and I was a bit embarrassed cause I totally forgot to separate my color and whites. I know. Total domestic amateur mistake. Well, at least, I designated what needed to be dry cleaned and the amount of starch to be used on my dress shirts. My buddy walked in and started to apologize as the suited gentleman started to explain French Laundry is a restaurant not a laundry service establishment. I was a bit confused why a restaurant would name itself “French Laundry” instead of something more obvious like Burger King or Taco Bell.
Anyway, my buddy pulled me aside and asked what I was doing. I told him I thought we were going to drop off my laundry here then go get some tacos and beers. I thought it was a bit odd for them to ask me to wear a suit for that but didn’t give it much thought. He apologized for not being more specific about French Laundry being a classy restaurant and asked me to grab my laundry. I happily obliged cause he said dinner was on him. As I was putting my laundry in my trunk, I noticed I had a box of wine I bought last week. I decided to bring it in for dinner since my buddy was paying for dinner.
We were seated then I pulled out the box wine from under my jacket. My buddy had a look of surprised when he laid his eyes on the 5 liter of white Rosé I got for $12. I told him not to worry cause I got a great deal on them since it was on sale at Sam’s Club. He said he wasn’t sure if it was allowed here. The waiter came by with our menu and I asked him if he could put our Rosé on ice. He kind of chuckled and I simply replied it’s the least I could do since my buddy was paying for dinner. He informed us there will be a corkage fee. I quickly educated him that it wasn’t appropriate for them to charge us a corkage fee since box wine doesn’t have a cork.
I’ve been to some extremely classy places like Denny’s and TGI Friday’s where the service was remarkable. However, I would have to agree French Laundry’s service was impeccable even though their name was a bit misleading in my opinion. I’ll get over it eventually. Anyway, our wait staff was very professional. They called us “sir” and gave us new utensils after each course. I didn’t like received new utensils since I usually like to suck on the fork and knives for the aftertaste.
Now, the food. I was shocked at the price of the tasting menu and I didn’t believe people would pay this much for food. I had some amazing tasting menus before at McDonald’s and Wendy’s with their value menu but the price was ridiculous. Who the f*ck pays $300+ for a 6 course meal? Seriously. I started looking at the dishes then I realized why. They give you jewelry with each dish. Now, I know why.
1) Oysters & Pearls – This was the dish that initially convinced me why people pay the hefty price. It had pearls in it! Unfortunately, the dish came out without any pearls. I was expected a top of a line pearl to accompany the course but none was found. I asked the waiter where my pearl was and he said it was a play on the ingredients. He walked away and I told my buddy we should ask for a refund cause I expected a high quality pearl like the ones from JC Penny’s.
2) Foie Gras Au Torchon – Apparently, Foie Gras is duck liver. I did not know that. I thought it was a play on high grade marijuana where you smoke with a torch. Nope. It’s duck liver. At this point, I started to realized this place was very misleading like all the women who put me in the friend zone. They let you pay for dinner but they don’t put out. Sigh.
Overall, I didn’t get what I was expecting from French Laundry like finding out the kid I’ve been raising for 10 years isn’t my child even though he doesn’t resemble me at all. I wish they would rename their restaurant to something more obvious like Napa Oyster Bar or Donald Duck’s Liver At the Oyster Bar. I’m glad my buddy paid for the meal and I was able to pay him back with my 5 liters of Rosé.
- Service - 10/1010/10
- Presentation - 8/108/10
- Flavor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 8/108/10
- Decor - 8/108/10
Please note that this isn’t a laundry service establishment despite the misleading name. In addition, make sure you let the waiter know that they can’t charge you a corkage fee cause box wine doesn’t have a cork.