recently, some of my friends ate at the French Laundry, in honor of a 30th birthday. this is what i also plan to do in honor of my 30th birthday. for those who don't know, the French Laundry is considered to be one of if not THE best restaurant in the U.S. here's the write-up from laura, andy and garett's dinner:
Monday night's tasting menu at The French Laundry for Garett's 30th birthday. They write things out in a weird way, so I'll do it verbatim and then try to translate:
"Oysters and Pearls": sabayon of pearl tapioca with Beau Soleil oysters and Iranian osetra caviar (This was the most indulgent way I've ever had caviar; usually I am trying to ration it out with my toast points, but here they gave us a spoon and what was essentially Caviar Pudding.)
Jacobsen's Farm "Musquee de Provence" pumpkin soup with chestnut beignets and Perigord truffles (This is what three of us had -- the truffles were in a kind of creme fraiche/butter mix that was in the middle of the bowl. I have never had such sweet pumpkin soup, ever.) At the same time, Garett instead had the poached Moulard duck "foie gras au torchon" with Bartlett pear relish and toasted brioche, which was one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth.
Sauteed filet of Japanese Suzuki, wilted Arrowleaf spinach, caramelized salsify and beurre rouge (The caramelized salsify was so extraordinary that we all asked our waiter about it. The beurre rouge was basically a very syrupy and wonderful wine and butter reduction.)
Fricasee of Maine lobster "mitts", globe artichokes, sweet carrots, pearl onions, Nicoise olives, and "Barigoule" broth (I guess lobster mitts are the meaty round part of the claw. They had been poached in butter. The olives were just tiny slivers of slices to flavor the broth.)
"Aiguillette" of Liberty Valley duck breast, endive fondue, blood orange "supremes" and candied citrus zest (Not only was the duck the most perfect ever, but the blood orange segments were pretty much oranges made into rich marmalade without being mashed up into a jelly. They were exquisite on top of the duck.)
Snake River Farms "calotte de boeuf grille", Yukon Gold puree, broccolini, crispy bone marrow and sauce "Perigourdine" (I have never eaten better beef in my life. Period, paragraph. And I don't even like cuts of beef. Every bit of it had so much intense salt and grilled flavor. The crispy bone marrow was definitely the strangest thing on the menu. It looked like a tater tot but inside was this kind of runny, fatty goo. It had intense flavor but was not my favorite part of the meal.)
Reblochon cheese with "Pruneaux d'Agen" tart, cinnamon "gastrique" and garden mache (This was the dish that made all of us at the table start giggling giddily. Who knew that a little poached prune tart could be so perfect with cheese? The cinnamon "gastrique" was an extremely concentrated apple cider reduction the consistency of honey, and made everyone's eyes pop out of their heads.)
Coconut sorbet, Persian lime gelee and toasted coconut "gianduja" (this was Andy's least favorite part of the meal, and the part that did seem the most extraneous. The Persian lime gelee was really subtle and amazing, but the toasted coconut gianduja was pretty much a stick of white chocolate with coconut scattered through. Very candy bar-ish.)
"Douceur au chocolat": Devil's food cake with Valrhona "Guanaja" chocolate creme, espresso Anglaise and chocolate chip ice cream (The chocolate chips in this ice cream were actually Scharffen Berger cacao nibs. I couldn't finish my chocolate thing, which was a bit of chocolate cake topped with a super-dense pot de creme, layered with milk chocolate ganache, then dark chocolate ganache, then gold leaf. Sweet Jesus.)
Then they brought us individual tiny cremes brulees, caramel panna cotta, tiny fruit gels, little chocolate mousse pyramids, cinnamon-cardamom meringue sandwiches, shortbreads, and lemon tarts. And coffee. And 15-year Madeira. I didn't really need to eat today. Next time we go (next week, perhaps?) I'm ordering off the a la carte menu.