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TELL ME ABOUT CHEF TOM KELLER's RESTAURANT IN CALIF.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

I had been to PER SE in NYC at Colombus Circle ... However, I have not been to The French Laundry yet. The wine sommelier at PER SE is quite accomplished and the simply prepared Prime Rib was delectable ... Margcata

post #2 of 24

The French Laundry is my favorite fine dining restaurant in the country.  You can't beat the setting, the service, or of course, the food.  Both the chef's tasting and vegetable menus are exquisite.  What I love about this place is that its completely unpretentious, you feel like you're in a friend's living room. I've eaten here more than once and have never had a bad experience.  Its completely consistent.  By the way, if you ever go and Santa Barbara sea urchin is on the menu, choose it.  Its like foie gras...

 

Bouchon Bistro has perfectly-executed food, (best duck confit I've ever had) but the service needs improvement.

 

Bouchon Bakery is also fabulous, but a madhouse with lines out the door.

 

Ad Hoc is the most casual with a great atmosphere.  Food is fun and delicious and the service great.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

The next time I am in the USA, I shall head over to California to check out Tom Keller's venues. I had Sea Urchin at Joan Roca's Girona Restaurant called El Celler de can Roca and it was wonderful too. It is a delicacy in several northern Spain provinces. Thank you for your time and info.

post #4 of 24

I really loved it when I went in 2000. I got to take a tour of the kitchen and shake hands with Chef Keller. I didn't understand the TV's in the kitchen and was told that every table has a camera focused on it, so the kitchen can time the courses.

Really?

Smile you're on candid camera.

post #5 of 24

Keller is all about super ingredients, execution and attention to detail.  That doesn't change from restaurant to restaurant or from location to location. 

 

The French Laundry is as good as a restaurant gets.  Keller's vision, imagination and inventiveness are as good as anyone's, but (again) it's the attention to detail, ingredients, and execution which elevate the food to the consistently sublime.  A few other restaurants in the world are as good, but there are none better.  Everyone should eat at FL, and many more times than once.  It's really up your alley, and if you haven't already made reservations you should make them now.  Today.  Immediately.

 

What can I per say about Per Se that hasn't been per said?

 

Bouchon is a bistro, pretty much.  The prices are lower than the French Laundry; the availability is significantly better; the quality is similar; but it does not provide the same sort of "experience" as the FL.  I like Bouchon a lot.  It's my kind of food not only in the sense that I like it, but enjoy cooking the style.  Bouchon Bakery is a bakery/boulangerie, and not a restaurant. 

 

Ad Hoc is a cafe with a no-selection, three course, prix-fixe menu which changes daily.  Today's main is fried chicken.  What they cook, you eat.  Your only other option is not to eat.  If there are things you don't eat, don't go there. Ad Hoc's food choices are non pretentious, ingredient quality is excellent and the cooking is at the level of a really good home cook's.

 

Wherever in the world Keller is, he supervises the kitchens and dining rooms in real time using video cameras installed for the purpose.  So, if you're in one of his places, find a camera, smile, wave and say "Hi Tom!"

 

Like wine country everywhere, the Napa Valley is studded with outstanding choices, not all of them owned by Keller.  My daughter lives in Santa Rosa, and we're heading to Napa in December.  We're planning on taking Lily and her boyfriend to Ken Frank's place, La Toque as a big-deal restaurant Chanukah present.  I hear great food and exceptionally good wine pairings on the prix fixe.  I loved Ken Frank's food when he was down here in Southern California a long time ago, so am very confident.  Reminds me, six weeks is not too early to make reservations at La Toque tonight for dinner on a Saturday.  Better safe than sorry.

 

Seth, the boyfriend, doesn't eat red meat which inhibits Lil's opportunities, so we'll also take them to Stark's in Santa Rosa where she can enjoy a great big steak.  If you like that sort of thing, Cole's Chophouse is very good too; and I hear good things about Shimo.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/2/11 at 4:02pm
post #6 of 24

I just love how so many of you all can get out and go enjoy places like the French Laundry. As a professional chef myself, I know the general wage scale of the industry. I'm guessing that you either save for a few months, eating a lot of Ramen Noodles, are married to someone with a high-paying job, or you are liars. NTTATWWT. I just don't know. Currently it takes $270 to sit down for either the Chef's Tasting Menu or the Tasting of Vegetables. There is also a $50 and a $30 supplement that goes with two(2) of the courses. WTF is with that? LOL. They have a very nice wine list. It's 114 pages. Have fun with that. By-the-way ... FL is booked every day by 10:30 am. two(2) months in advance. That said, they're very nice places. Enjoy yourself. 

 

post #7 of 24

Posted by IceMan View Post

I just love how so many of you all can get out and go enjoy places like the French Laundry. As a professional chef myself, I know the general wage scale of the industry. I'm guessing that you either save for a few months, eating a lot of Ramen Noodles, are married to someone with a high-paying job, or you are liars. NTTATWWT. I just don't know. Currently it takes $270 to sit down for either the Chef's Tasting Menu or the Tasting of Vegetables. There is also a $50 and a $30 supplement that goes with two(2) of the courses. WTF is with that? LOL. They have a very nice wine list. It's 114 pages. Have fun with that. By-the-way ... FL is booked every day by 10:30 am. two(2) months in advance. That said, they're very nice places. Enjoy yourself. 


I'm not a professional chef, but a newly retired lawyer.  Your concern over my finances is touching but misplaced.   MARGCATA is a food critic who has eaten in some of Europe's and America's best restaurants.  Presumably your concern about her finances is similarly misplaced.

 

If you don't pay the supplementary charges, you don't get the Ossetra caviar and foie gras courses; and vice versa.  Caviar and foie gras cost extra, clutch those pearls. 

 

Good cellar, 114 page wine list, GREAT sommelier to help you navigate them, but no Mike's Hard Lemonade.  Oh well. 

 

Booking a reservation two months in advance isn't much of an exercise in sophistication for those with calendars.

 

The food at FL is very good, and if any food is worth those prices, it is.  In a weird sort of way it's a good value for the money.  That's beside the Veblen and Geffen values.  Of course value is relative, and FL as a good value only makes sense if you have the money to spare.

 

Bouchon is less high-end, less expensive, easier to make reservations.  Ad Hoc, all of the above, but in spades.

 

Don't drink and post,

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/2/11 at 8:06pm
post #8 of 24
Quote:

Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

In a weird sort of way it's a good value for the money.

 


I've never been to the French Laundry. But from what I hear about it I'd have to agree with that comment. Considering the incredible prices for some restaurants in France, the French Laundry is an incredible value. I don't suppose Thomas Keller actually generates a profit from that restaurant. 

 

post #9 of 24

I totally agree that dinner at TFL is a good value.  The amount of labor, the quality of the product, and the stellar service (the gratuity is included in the price, by the way,) are very much worth it.  Its not exactly a small staff for a restaurant that houses only 16 tables and one private dining space either, and something tells me that the staff are not highly paid (as having "The French Laundry" on your resumé is far more valuable).  Yes, it will put a dent in your wallet, but its the one place where I feel like I know where my dollars are going.  Can't say the same for several "high end" restaurants in Manhattan.

 

p.s. Saw Keller on CNBC the other day.  Here's the clip.  

 

@boar_d_laze:  Have you heard of/been to Mustards Grill in Napa?  Its a bit of a tourist madhouse in high season, but the food is phenomenal.  Cindy Pawlcyn is one heck of chef.

post #10 of 24

LOL BDL. It's wonderful how you can bust me out like that and crack me up at the same time. Let me say though, I have no real concern for anyone's finances other than my own. I was just making a GP kinda statement, and it really didn't include you, being that through other threads I am aware somewhat of what your personal details are. I believe somewhere you have previously spoken of being a lawyer. I guess my post was sorta misdirected being that it came after yours. I guess also that I could have used better phraseology to be better understood. I was in a rush to watch Top Chef Season 9 on TV. Anyway, if you (anyone, not just BDL) wish to go there, I'm happy for you, enjoy yourself. 

 

Here's the current menu: 

http://www.tkrg.org/upload/fl_menu.pdf

 

It's a wonderful menu. It's completely over-the-top in all kinds of ways. It's just not a menu that I would enjoy. NO, I'm not being a sour-grapes crybaby. I'm highly food trained and educated. In one way or another I've had those items. I guess I'm just too Bohemian* to really enjoy those culinary delights. 

 

 

* Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians can be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.

post #11 of 24

Ate there last year while on a multi week photo shoot with a large generous budget. The art director for my client was very impressed and I scored a lot more high dollar jobs from her dining experience and her being able to brag about eating there, twice. I liked the food and had another reservation a few days later and returned and it was equally good. It was two great meals, the wine selections were perfect and I am by no means a wine drinker. Not my style of dining but a good experience with ultra fresh everything. If I was going back to shoot in that area again I would skip it and try other local restaurants that I hear are also great. 

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by amuse_bouche View Post

I totally agree that dinner at TFL is a good value.  The amount of labor, the quality of the product, and the stellar service (the gratuity is included in the price, by the way,) are very much worth it.  Its not exactly a small staff for a restaurant that houses only 16 tables and one private dining space either, and something tells me that the staff are not highly paid (as having "The French Laundry" on your resumé is far more valuable).  Yes, it will put a dent in your wallet, but its the one place where I feel like I know where my dollars are going.  Can't say the same for several "high end" restaurants in Manhattan.

 

p.s. Saw Keller on CNBC the other day.  Here's the clip.  

 

@boar_d_laze:  Have you heard of/been to Mustards Grill in Napa?  Its a bit of a tourist madhouse in high season, but the food is phenomenal.  Cindy Pawlcyn is one heck of chef.



I went to college with Cindy and can tell you that her food is amazing. She did at one time co-own Mustards Grill but no longer does. She has her own place near the train station in St. Helena. CA

 

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post



I went to college with Cindy and can tell you that her food is amazing. She did at one time co-own Mustards Grill but no longer does. She has her own place near the train station in St. Helena. CA

 



That's strange, Mustards Grill is listed on her website.  Maybe she bought into it again?  I would love to visit any restaurant she has a hand in (will try to check out the St. Helena property next time I am out there.)  I love her cookbooks, she really knows how to use certain ingredients without ever over doing it.

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

Thank you for your insights on The French Laundry ... Next year, when I am visiting my mom, friends, brothers and nephews, I shall consider a trip over to see Chef Tom Keller and sample his latest seasonal carte. I had interviewed him on the phone for a Spanish magazine back in 2009 - 2010 and have his email so this could be arranged.

 

I had sampled the following at his Per Se:

 

Atlantic Marinated Salmon in red onion with cream fraiche

Rare ribeye from the Snake River with wild mushrooms

Terrine of Duck Foie Gras from the Hudson Valley 

 

I understand his culinary philosophy: 2 restaurants, 1 culinary philosophy and collaboration is fundamental and evolution quintessential ... The product, method, precision, and observing all from east to west coast on his t.v. cameras ... I have been on radio and t.v. --- so I too, like the limelight ...  

 

Tom is also affiliated with The Relais Chateaux Hotel & Resorts, according to their latest Hotel and Restaurant Guide ...

 

I write about restaurants in Spain and other destinations which include a travel feature, worldwide chefs, products, events such as Madrid Fusion and Salon Gourmets, Fitur ( Interntl Travel Trade Fair ), Hotels, Spas, etcetra ... The publication I work for is in print and not online. The Publisher has been publishing the magazine since 1958 and it is the oldest English magazine in Spain ... It caters to the expat communities, embassies and consulates, hotels, tourist offices and residents ... The feeding of the material for online presence is complicated and we had a meeting on the subject and no one wants to sit in front of the computer to do the feedings of the materials and layouts ... It has it´s niche and has always done well in print format. Of course, in my profession, we do have advantages which include lunch and wine for two. I used to write about fashion, and upon published works, Carolina Hererra and Donna Karan for example, would provide a gift as well. This is how the business works abroad as well as in Europe. 

 

Well, thanks again for all the restaurant suggestions in California.

 

  

 

   

post #15 of 24


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

 

 

Here's the current menu: 

http://www.tkrg.org/upload/fl_menu.pdf

 

It's a wonderful menu. It's completely over-the-top in all kinds of ways. It's just not a menu that I would enjoy. NO, I'm not being a sour-grapes crybaby. I'm highly food trained and educated. In one way or another I've had those items. I guess I'm just too Bohemian* to really enjoy those culinary delights. 

 

 

* Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians can be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.

 

 

   Hi IceMan!

 

   TFL is one of the places that I hope doesn't close before I get a chance to go there.  I make a modest salary, yet my wife and I enjoy going out to eat.  We normally would rather cook at home instead of going out to a less than mediocre restaurant.  When my wife and I go out to eat it's usually for a night out and we'll get a sitter as well.  Make no mistake though...when we go out it's for the FOOD!  

 

  It's not unusual for us to refrain from eating out just so we can splurge every once in a while.  Other times we'll end up stopping at a place like Smoque, not pricey...but good (oh, Manny's too, etc. etc.etc.)  But, back on the subject of The French Laundry.  For me, it's not about the over the top ingredients ( there are plenty of places, near us, that serve some of the same dishes with very mediocre results).  For me, what it's about is the preparation! 

 

   I still want to make it to Alinea, but The French Laundry is also on the very short short list.

 

   Take care, 

  Dan
 

 

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for all the info. on Chef Tom Keller and his restaurant, The French Laundry. I appreciate your time for sending, and the next time I travel over to the U.S.A., I shall make a point of going over to dine there.

 

Chef Grant Achatz is another chef that interests me as a journalist, considering his horrible ordeal with his health. I have read many articles about him and I believe he is a genius.    

 

 Margcata. 

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MARGCATA View Post

Thank you very much for all the info. on Chef Tom Keller and his restaurant, The French Laundry. I appreciate your time for sending, and the next time I travel over to the U.S.A., I shall make a point of going over to dine there.

 

Chef Grant Achatz is another chef that interests me as a journalist, considering his horrible ordeal with his health. I have read many articles about him and I believe he is a genius.    

 

 Margcata. 



   Have you had the pleasure of eating at El Bulli?  A good friend of mine travels to Europe and Asia quite often.  He loves to eat good food and was in Barcelona the last couple of days that El Bulli was open, although no luck getting a seating for one.  He did end up eating at Inopia.

 

   I'd love to hear your impressions of Alinea, should you get the chance.

 

  Thanks for your posts,

 

Dan

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 

Good Morning Dan,

 

Thanks for ur reply. Yes, I had the pleasurable experience of dining at El Bulli and interviewing Ferran, his partner Julie and his sommelier in 2009. Albert Adria is quite talented too ... He has affiliated himself with several Gastro Bars in Barcelona over the last few years. Tickets and 41 are his other affiliated Gastro Bars. A genius in his own right, he is renowned for his pastries and baking.

 

Unfortunately, I have not been to Grant Achatz's restaurants as I have not been in the USA for pleasure, just to see my mom in Manhattan.

 

However, I have read many articles on him and I have the deepest appreciation of his epicurian background and  work in the culinary field, and he is an extremely brave gent to boot, having undergone such tramatic threatening health problems.

 

He is spoken of with great respect. In 2012, I am planning a trip to the USA, and on the itinerary, I hope to get over to Chicago to dine at Alinea ... Am I correct, that Grant opened another restaurant in Chicago ... I would also like to go to California, and have lunch at The French Laundry. I love Sonoma and San Francisco ... However, I cannot do it all ... So, I have to plan strategically. I do plan to contact Grant for an interview in 2012.

 

Several years ago, Charlie Trotter was a guest at The Madrid Fusion Trade Fair Convention, and I had tasted some of his preparations ... He worked with Sergi Arola and Ferran Adria. I understand he opened a venue in Los Cabos, Mexico as well or at least started it up.  He created some wonderfully whimsical items. I believe, Grant did an apprenticeship under Charlie.

 

I have also had the pleasure of  interviewing * many years ago in Miami, Norman Van Aken before he opened a venue in the Keys.

 

Have you ever had dinner at Alinea. He is the favoured chef of Adria and the panel of judges at various events.

 

Margcata  

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yes, I have read about Cindy in one of the major magazine subscriptions, Bon Appetit I believe it was. I also receive Food and Wine, Savour and unfortunately Gourmet went down dysfunct road. I shall keep ur suggestions on my California list. Thanks alot ...

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

What about Grant's new restaurant Next ...

post #21 of 24

Four menus per year, focused on different cuisines at different times in history (or the future). Advanced ticket sales rather than reservations, with season tickets for all four menus with preferred seating. You "purchase/acquire" your "tickets" online. Good luck with that, they go really fast. It's a cool "conceptual" idea, based on culinary themes. Being that Achatz was a student of Keller, you will see some similarities. There is a thread or two here somewhere about "NEXT". These pics are from the first session. 

 

th_867596925_Next_playbill_cover_122_464lo.jpgth_086760018_app_platter_122_545lo.jpgth_867603694_App2_122_584lo.jpgth_867611985_Apps_anchquegg_porkquen_mushr_122_547lo.jpgth_867613247_bb_Turtle_consomme_122_517lo.jpgth_867618678_c_Sole_crayfish_122_210lo.jpgth_086762185_d_chicken_122_490lo.jpgth_208676251_e_Duck_122_586lo.jpgth_867629829_e2Gratin_Dauphinoise_122_23lo.jpgth_867639447_f1_Salade_Erma1_122_184lo.jpgth_086764956_y_Bombe_122_103lo.jpgth_867654597_z2_mignardises_122_182lo.jpg

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MARGCATA View Post

Good Morning Dan,

 

Thanks for ur reply. Yes, I had the pleasurable experience of dining at El Bulli and interviewing Ferran, his partner Julie and his sommelier in 2009. Albert Adria is quite talented too ... He has affiliated himself with several Gastro Bars in Barcelona over the last few years. Tickets and 41 are his other affiliated Gastro Bars. A genius in his own right, he is renowned for his pastries and baking.

 

Unfortunately, I have not been to Grant Achatz's restaurants as I have not been in the USA for pleasure, just to see my mom in Manhattan.

 

However, I have read many articles on him and I have the deepest appreciation of his epicurian background and  work in the culinary field, and he is an extremely brave gent to boot, having undergone such tramatic threatening health problems.

 

He is spoken of with great respect. In 2012, I am planning a trip to the USA, and on the itinerary, I hope to get over to Chicago to dine at Alinea ... Am I correct, that Grant opened another restaurant in Chicago ... I would also like to go to California, and have lunch at The French Laundry. I love Sonoma and San Francisco ... However, I cannot do it all ... So, I have to plan strategically. I do plan to contact Grant for an interview in 2012.

 

Several years ago, Charlie Trotter was a guest at The Madrid Fusion Trade Fair Convention, and I had tasted some of his preparations ... He worked with Sergi Arola and Ferran Adria. I understand he opened a venue in Los Cabos, Mexico as well or at least started it up.  He created some wonderfully whimsical items. I believe, Grant did an apprenticeship under Charlie.

 

I have also had the pleasure of  interviewing * many years ago in Miami, Norman Van Aken before he opened a venue in the Keys.

 

Have you ever had dinner at Alinea. He is the favoured chef of Adria and the panel of judges at various events.

 

Margcata  


 

  Hi Margcata!

 

  What an incredible list of foods and interviews you have sounds most amazing, congrats!  I haven't had the pleasure of eating at Alinea...yet.  When I go, I plan on getting the full tasting menu.  Something like that I will have to save up for.  But just like the flavors of Iberico Bellota...some things are worth the money no matter the price.

 

   Thanks for sharing :)  

 

  Where can I find out more information about your publication?

 

Dan

 

post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks so much for the edible fotos and the information on Grant Achatz.

 

 

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

Good Morning Dan,

 

Firstly, Navidul is an Iberian Ham Producer and 7 slices cost 1 Euro which is about $1.66 USD ... El Corte Ingles Hypercor Markets located throughout the Iberian Peninsula can slice up a variety of Iberian Hams ...

 

Jabugo, Huelva is the designation of origin of acorn fed Iberian Ham however, there are other appellations of this cold cut ... Extremadura as well. Then there is Serrano Ham from Salamanca and Teruel, Aragon Ham which is actually slightly and subtlely sweet ... all nice ...

 

Thanks for all the info on Grant and Tom ... These are 2 chefs I shall have to catch up with.

 

Ferrán Adrià favors Grant Achatz and believes he will receive special awards at the next London Restaurant Magazine awards ? !

 

Have a lovely day. Margcata  

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