Lunch at The French Laundry

by Brian Lee

We were treated to the ultimate dining experience by our dear friends Kent and DJ Nielsen, both chefs whose cooking school I attended in 1999-2001. This was their 22nd anniversary and their wedding reception was in the courtyard of The French Laundry! Our lunch ran nearly 5 1/2 hours and included a tour of the newly renovated $10M kitchen, wine cellar, private dining room, and a chance to meet Chef Keller. (Warning:  This is a long post!)

Our meal was served “2 by 2” meaning the guys were served one dish and the gals another.  We shared our dishes thereby doubling the number of dishes we could taste.  I cannot imagine a more perfect dining experience!

The Food

Fluke Tartar Coronet

“Ritz Crackers”


Chilled Green Tomato Soup with Brokaw Avocado Mousse.

Chilled Brandywine Tomato Soup with Mint Infused Yogurt

“Oysters and Pearls”, “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

Royal Kaluga Caviar, Maine Lobster, Young Ginger “Bavarois” and Summer Melons

Wild Sea Trout “Terrine”, Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Fines Herbs

San Francisco Bay Whiting, Sarson’s Malt Vinegar and Onion Blossoms

Hen Egg Custard with Ragout of Perigord Truffles

Soft Scrambled Rhode Island Red Hen Egg, Toasted Brioche Soldiers, and Preserved Australian Black Winter Truffle

Sauteed Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras, K&J Orchards Plums, Slow Roasted Garden Beets, and Amaranth.

Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras “Terrine”, K&J Orchard Nectarines, Toasted Pearson Farms Pecans and Kendall Farms Creme Fraiche (missing photo for this dish)

“Rouelle” of Dover Sole, French Green Lentil “Ragout”, Caramelized Onions, Watercress Leaves, and Georgia Candy Roasted Squash “Veloute”

Big Island Abalone “Poelee”, Glazed Nantes Carrots, Young Coconut Puree, and Pea Shoots

“Bread and Butter”,  Geechie Boy Mill Cornbread and Diane St. Clair’s Animal Farm Butter

“Bread and Butter”, Bitter Cocoa Laminated Brioche and Diane St. Clair’s Animal Farm Butter

Wolfe Ranch White Quail “Roti a la Broche”, Toasted Barley, Matsutake Mushroom, Garden Turnips, Sunflower Sprouts, and Mushroom “Jus Gras”

Liberty Farms Pekin Duck, Yukon Gold Potato “Rosti”, Cherry Belle Radishes, Watercress Leaves, and Black Winter Truffle “Vichyssoise”

Charcoal Grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf”, Toasted Oat “Panade”, Compressed Sour Apples, Briased New Crop Potatoes, Arrowleaf Spinach, and Black Walnut Jus

Herb Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb, Marinated Sun Gold Tomatoes, Garden Eggplant, Charred Corn Puree, Wild Arugula, and Red Wine Olive Jus

Andante Dairy “Acapella”, Toasted Piedmont Hazelnuts, Youtville Figs, Fig Leaf “Gelee”, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar

“Gougere” with Andante Dairy “Etude” and Australian Black Winter Truffle “Fondue”

Peaches and Curried Cream, Caramelized Popcorn and Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Strawberry “Tarte”, Sun Gold Tomatoes, Romanoff Cream, and Vanilla Ice Cream.

“Gateau Marjolaine” Presented Tableside

“Gateau Marjolaine”, Hazelnut “Dacquoise”, Chocolate Ganache, Praline Buttercream, Ovaltine Ice Cream

“Gateau Marjolaine”, Hazelnut “Dacquoise”, Chocolate Ganache, Praline Buttercream, Rice Ice Cream

“Coffee and Doughnuts”, Coffee Semifreddo

“Coffee and Doughnuts”, Doughnuts

Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts

Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts

Dark Chocolate Bars


Selection of Chocolates

The Wines

Dom Perignon, Epernay 2006

Emmerich Knoll, Gruner Veltliner, “Kreutles”, Federspiel, Wachau 2015

Billaud-Simon, “Vaillons” Premier Cru, Chablis 2014

Comtes Lafon, “Santenots du Milieu”, Volnay, Premier Cru 2010

The Kitchen

We were fortunate to be given a tour of the new $10M kitchen!

The Wine Cellar

Tyson leads us on a tour of the extensive wine cellar, including the wines recovered from the infamous heist!

The Board Room

The renovation includes a new private dining room.

Chef Keller

Chef Keller with Kent and DJ.

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kayem September 17, 2017 - 10:10 pm

Fantastic! I can not imagine! I’m glad you were able to partake!

Dave S September 18, 2017 - 5:50 am

Wow, absolutely amazing!

Mark September 19, 2017 - 5:12 pm

Stunning photography! The food looks out of this world.

Brian Lee September 20, 2017 - 8:14 am

Thanks! It really was an other worldly experience! These photos were taken with a tiny Sony RX100V pocket camera.


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