OK. There's a topic going now about the extreme portion size at these places and what a travesty that is. Can't argue much with that, although I have noticed that CJ has reduced the size of some of their side dishes and appetizer salads lately, though they're still more than adequate. I've never been to The French Laundry, but whichever side of my brain it is that holds the logic wants to know whether a 40-course dinner there doesn't approach the realm of 'too much' as well (eliminating, if possible, the obvious experiential and quality difference).
Where I get a bit more puzzled is how so many hounds broadly characterize all the food at CF and CJ as mediocre or worse. Now......... I think I understand the difference between truly wonderful, lovingly-crafted, straight-off-the-ranch (or farm) authentic food and chain restaurant more-standard food, but isn't there room for chain meals to be acceptable? I'm constantly reading topics here about the amazing wonder of a pre-packaged item from Trader Joe's. OK, they do some pretty good stuff, those TJ guys, but it's not usually something that sends me into FL-like heaven either.
I live in an area that isn't like San Francisco or New York, where there are wonderful neighborhood eateries on almost every block. We have our share of better, mostly up-scale, restaurants, and some pretty good 'daily-dining-priced' places as well, but not a whole lot. My wife and I share an appetizer salad and an entree at Claim Jumper on a somehwat regular basis, and find the quality to be well worth the price. Are we not true Chowhunds??