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Is The French Laundry as Good as People Say it is?

The French Laundry is a world-famous three-star Michelin restaurant, but is it as good as people say it is? For those that don’t know what the term “Michelin star” means, it is an award that is given to restaurants that are judged with very high standards. They give out one to three stars to certain restaurants, three being the highest.

The French Laundry is one of those restaurants I have always dreamed of going to because of how well-known it is for its food and service. My parents have gone a few times before the pandemic and raved about it.

Three weeks before I went home to visit my family with my boyfriend, we were lucky enough to find an open reservation on a Tuesday night at 5:45 P.M. Usually the restaurant is booked way out and it’s very hard to get a reservation. However, there was still a few dates available which was lucky!

We went on March 16th to The French Laundry which is located in Yountville, CA. When we arrived at the restaurant we were seated at our table in the new dining section they created.

Apparently, it used to be their parking lot but they turned it into a dining section with heaters, chandeliers, tables, etc. I was a little disappointed because I have always wanted to sit in their garden because it’s beautiful, but the area we ate in was still very nice.

The server went over the menu with us, which was a pre-fixe menu. Two of the courses had the option for upgrades at an additional cost. You could choose to upgrade to their a5 wagyu and their pasta with truffle. We all chose one to upgrade so my boyfriend and I each got different upgrades so that we can share both.

They also accommodated my shellfish allergy which was great. Their menu also changes frequently so you can find their daily menu on their website. The menu had a total of eight courses including dessert. Our dinner took about three hours. Usually, my parents like to pair the food with wine but we didn’t get wine this time.

The service was amazing all night. Our servers were very attentive and constantly checked in on us and they explained each dish very well. The courses were also presented nicely.

However, we were all slightly disappointed with the food. I thought it was just me because I am super sensitive to salt but my parents said the food isn’t usually so salty. I felt like every dish we had was just too salty and didn’t taste amazing like I thought it would. My dad said all the times they have been prior, the food has always been fantastic.

I’m not sure if it was just the day we went on or if it’s because they can’t get certain ingredients because of Covid, but something was off. The food didn’t blow me away as I expected after hearing other people’s experiences here. I also read some reviews around the same time I went, about the saltiness too, so I’m glad it wasn’t just me.

Although it didn’t live up to my expectations, I still am super happy I got to try The French Laundry. My favorite parts of the meal were the course with the wagyu, the bread and butter, and dessert.

The dessert comes with a bunch of different desserts and they bring out a box with fancy chocolates for you to choose from.

After dinner, they give you the option to tour their kitchen which was probably my favorite part. It was fun seeing the chefs cooking and how they prepare the dishes and plate them. If you’re lucky, you may even see Thomas Keller and get a picture with him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there that day, but my parents have met him and said it was a great experience.

Overall, I liked the restaurant and my experience. I just wish the food was less salty but it was still enjoyable. I would come back here in the future to try it again if I get the opportunity. But do I think this time was worth it? Not so much. I’m happy I got to cross it off my bucket list though!

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