On my first trip to Napa this weekend, I got a chance to eat some great food and drink plenty of good wine. On Friday night, after my parents and I flew in earlier that afternoon, we ate at Bouchon.
Dear Thomas Keller,
Please close Bouchon while you undergo renovations in the kitchen. The starters we ordered were nice - cold pea soup with crab salad had a pleasant smooth, creamy texture, and the cassoulet with duck confit was textbook - pretty good start. Then we waited. And waited. Fifteen minutes go by. At that point, our server said our entrees "should be here in just a couple of minutes". Fifteen minutes after that, our food arrived...lukewarm. Starving, I dug into my Coquille St. Jacques - diver scallops with asparagus, chorizo, and pequillo peppers. The scallops were cooked very nicely but underseasoned, the asparagus was overcooked and underseasoned, and the chorizo was overcooked and chewy. I had a few bites of my mom's bouillabaisse. The fish and shrimp were plated in a bowl, brought to the table, and then the broth was poured in tableside. Well, the seafood was quite cold and devoid of seasoning. What a boring dish. Thinking back, we really should have returned our food and asked for something else, but we were so hungry and tired by the time we got our food that we didn't even want to bother.
I am a big fan of yours Mr. Keller, having enjoyed the best meal on my life at Per Se even though it costed me an arm and a leg. I'm a cook, and The French Laundry cookbook is one of my favorites. So I'm sure you could understand that I was excited to eat at Bouchon. I understand closing for a week or so during renovations costs money, but your reputation is at stake. As I went to the bathroom in the temporary outhouse of a men's room next to Bouchon after the meal, I wondered to myself how customers would react if they had to relieve themselves in an outhouse next to The French Laundry down the street.
Eating at Redd the next night was like night and day. I'll review it later.