The French Laundry Wins the Luxist Award for Best Domestic Restaurant
Few fine restaurants boast a past as sordid as The French Laundry. Even so, the Yountville, Calif. eatery is consistently rated among the world's best, and is the Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice winner in the best fine domestic dining category.
In the late 1880s, the building that currently contains the three Michelin star French Laundry was a humble saloon. When a town ordinance mandated that no alcohol be served within two miles of Yountville, the building was converted first into a brothel, then to a French steam laundry by the 1920s. In 1974, the town's mayor bought the laundry and converted it into a restaurant; twenty years later it was purchased by current owner and chef Thomas Keller.
Gallery: The French Laundry
Keller had spent much of the prior decade working at some of the finest restaurants in the world, including Guy Savoy and Taillevent in Paris, both Luxist Awards' fine dining nominees in the international category . He used his experience abroad to create the French-influenced American cuisine that currently populates The French Laundry's menu-like a foie gras dish decked with a Riesling glaze, Silverado Trail strawberries, Piedmont hazelnut streusel, radish, watercress and black truffle.
The French Laundry's prix fixe dinner menu costs $250, service included; drinks can run the tab much higher. Throughout the nine-course tasting menu, though, no single ingredient is ever repeated, leaving the palate surprised and delighted at every turn.