Friday, March 14, 2008


Crystal and I capped off our day in the Napa Valley with dinner at Bouchon.

We ordered Cassoulet, Leg of Lamb, and a Sauteed Gnocchi dish.

Cassoulet was listed under hors d'oeuvres which seemed weird to me, but we split an order to start. I was really curious to see how Bouchon would do it. It came in a mini Staub cast iron pot and had a nice garnish of a leaf on a slice of sausage. But the duck was blended into the beans and the whole dish seemed kind of homogenous. It was basically just beans with a slice of sausage on top. It was good, but not really what I was expecting.

I read a great recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon in the Bouchon cookbook earlier in the week and was hoping the restaurant would have it on their menu that night, but they didn't. So I got the leg of lamb, which was perfectly cooked. It came on a bed of beans. This was a complete miscalculation on my part. I think that day I ate the most beans that I've ever eaten in a single day. There was the Petite Sale, then the Cassoulet, and then the huge portion of beans that came with the lamb. I'm not sure how I managed to order all these bean dishes. The odds of that happening are really low. But I guess the odds are even lower that in my entire life I would not eat beans for every meal of the day. So I've gotten that out of the way.

Crystal got a sauteed gnocchi dish which wasn't exactly what either of us expected either, but it was still good.

For dessert we split a Pot de Creme that I think was infused with cinnamon. It was really good.

I was sort of Califonia red wined out, so I got a glass of red Burgundy. Crystal was wined out too, so she ordered lemon drops. Her drinks were really good. The bartenders at Bouchon are fantastic.

Overall, Bouchon had good food, but it isn't worth a special trip to Yountville. Everything was well prepared, but there seemed to be something missing at the same time. I really like the idea of refined and well thought out bistro food that Bouchon claims to be about, but the experience didn't seem extraordinary. Bistro Jeanty felt more like a nice refined bistro to me.

Maybe I felt this way because the waitress seemed a bit off that night. She was flustered but at the same time didn't seem to care that much. And it was really difficult to flag her down for the check. I've been to bistros where there are only 2 people running the entire front of the restaurant, and it was difficult to get a hold of the waiters. But Bouchon isn't really one of those kinds of places.

Maybe it was because I noticed that our plates were streaked. If they go to the trouble of turning the Bouchon logo on the plate to face you, then the plate should be polished, right? I'm usually not that picky about those kinds of things, except they seem to be asking for it. I mean, it's a nice plate and you're looking at it and it looks kind of dirty.

Or maybe it was just the beans. I don't know.

6534 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-8037

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