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Restaurants & Bars 29

French Laundry

stebro | Jan 24, 201201:12 AM

We had lunch at the Laundry last week with four friends. My wife and I had been there twice before, both times for dinner and it was several years ago. My wife and one friend ordered the vegetarian menu and the rest of us ordered the standard one. Some quick comments: Those who ordered the vegetarian menu were the happiest. It's not that the regular menu wasn't good. In fact, it was good and that's the problem-- It wasn't consistently excellent to outstanding as we remembered from prior visits.

There was one problem with the vegetarian menu. The handkerchief pasta arrived cold and hard. My wife and the friend who had this dish both said the same thing. They informed the waiter, who responded with an explanation of how the pasta was made and how they served it al dente (as if we were at fault for not appreciating it). Cold and hard is not the same as al dente. When his explanation didn't work, he said that he would inform the chef. Although the dish already had been consumed by the time the waiter was informed of the problem, I found his reaction very disappointing. He should have offered to replace the dish with something else (which probably would have been declined considering the number of courses). This is the French Laundry not the Olive Garden, there is no excuse for undercooked pasta, and notifying the chef did nothing to rectify the problem. All in all, I thought our lunch failed to rise to the heights expected at the French Laundry or to be worth the stratospheric price. You can have as good an experience at Gary Danko for about half of the French Laundry price and without having to go through the reservation hassles. I give the Laundry three stars, factoring in the price (270/person not including tax or wine).

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