For years (if not for decades), The French Laundry in Yountville, California has been regarded as America’s best restaurant. It is also universally viewed as one of the toughest reservations to get, as well as one of the most expensive restaurant meals in the country---not the most expensive, since that accolade is usually given to Chef Thomas Keller’s other restaurant, Per Se, in Manhattan.
Dinner at The French Laundry, if you can get in, isn’t for paupers. The menu is a multi-course tasting extravaganza that comes in at $270 per person, service included. Of course, the 15 or so courses take roughly 5-6 hours to consume, virtually insuring the consumption of several bottles of wine. The restaurant’s wine list is extensive and elaborate, but not cheap either; figure $800-1000 per couple before you’re through.
Now The French Laundry has come up with a new profit center: a spirits list. Without much fanfare, the restaurant acquired its liquor license back in September, and head sommelier Dennis Kelly quietly went about sourcing a selection of the finest and rarest distilled spirits on the planet. (more…)