A May 2005 trip
to Yountville by Chicago_Dave
Quote: We didn't bungee jump with a hot dog in hand. Instead, we enjoyed two completely different dinners: an ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in a Fremont strip mall and The French Laundry, a restaurant recognized as one of the best the world.
Upon entering Shalimar, start looking for folks wiping their mouth and patting their full belly. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and doesn’t have a host to seat you, so you are on your own for getting a table. Similarly, you need to go to the kitchen counter to place your order (the single sheet menu can be found at the counter also). You can do so before finding a table, but the kitchen won’t start cooking until you’ve found a table.
The menu is organized around the types of cooking: tandoori (clay-oven barbecue), naans (bread), rice, salan (curries), and vegetables. Prices range from $2 to almost $10. The best way to approach the menu is order a number of dishes of each type and share among your table. The food arrives in whatever order the kitchen cooks it – it arrives hot and plentiful.
The tandoori and salan dishes offer chicken, lamb, and beef options. Two tandoori favorites were the seekh kabab mughlai (ground beef) and seekh kabab murgh (chicken). Both meats are blended with various herbs and spices, skewered, and barbecued in the tandoor. One bite of the beef and we had the answer to the question of which dish had the garlic! Simply fantastic! The murgh korma shahi is one their best-known salan dishes, and for very good reason. Chunks of chicken are flavored with saffron, then simmered in a blend of yogurt and other spices. The curry served as a great dipping sauce for the naan (bread), too. An order of sindhi chicken biryani (basmati rice with chicken and other spices) completed the dinner. I am not a big biryani fan, so would have been happier with just the basmati rice.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2005
3325 Walnut Avenue
Restaurant | "French Laundry - Nine-course tasting menu"
There are three menu options: a seven-course tasting, a nine-course vegetable tasting, and a nine-course chef’s tasting menu. Each menu is $175 each, and there is a 19% service charge is added to the bill. The menu varies each day, according to whatever products are available. In our case, we opted for the chef’s tasting menu; this day, however, two of the course had a choice between two items.
The menu started with an "amuse" from the kitchen, which did amuse us - it was a "salmon ice cream" cone – salmon tartar served with crème fraise in a cracker-like cone. No, you can’t get this at Dairy Queen. Each course in the tasting featured two or three specific ingredients.
The first few courses highlighted vegetables/salad, such as cauliflower panna cotta with oyster glaze and sevruga caviar (yes, I am looking at the copy of our menu) and a salad of Big Island hearts of peach palm, field rhubarb confit, celery branch, and perigord truffle "syrup."
Seafood entered the stage: sautéed fillet of Chatham Bay cod with wilted Lolla Rossa lettuce, San Marzano tomato marmalade, and an applewood-smoked bacon emulsion was one course; lobster "mitts" with hon shimeji mushrooms, wild lily buds, and herb salad was another.
The meat dishes were squab with medjool date and Sicilian pistachio pastille, with a fennel bulb and grains of paradise-infused sauce, and a pan-roasted lamb chop with a cassoulet of spring pole beans and thyme infused extra virgin olive oil.
A cheese course and a sorbet course prepared us for the chocolate dessert finale.
We decided to let the sommelier choose the wines to match the courses – we discussed our likes and dislikes and our per-person price range and let him do the rest… and we were not disappointed. Each wine really complemented the course, even the port wine with the dessert.
The staff seemed to enjoy serving us as much as we enjoyed their hospitality.
6640 Washington Street
Yountville, California 94599