Monday, October 14, 2013

Napa Valley: Bouchon

Steak in front of the Bouchon Bistro patio
I have anticipated Bouchon and built it up in my mind for many months since discovering the restaurant was located in Yountville, is attached to a bakery that makes French macarons and is owned my Thomas Keller. When I found out Bouchon had availability for brunch on Saturday morning, the morning we happened to be driving up to Napa for a wine pick-up, I was elated. Unfortunately, Steak and I had a rough morning battling traffic (and admittedly I was running late to begin with), so we ended up being 20 minutes late to our reservation, 5 minutes past the grace period. I had come to peace with possibly losing our reservation, but entered the restaurant with a sliver of hope. And, to my surprise, we were immediately seated, by the window, no less! The staff couldn't have been nicer or more gracious and didn't even mention my tardiness. 

Our window-side table adorned with my French 98,
the French pastry basket and Steak's fresh-squeezed orange juice.
The service during our meal was impeccable. Our waiter was delighted to take my drink order, a French 98, a nod to the classic French 75, but named after the year Bouchon opened. Steak ordered a glass of orange juice, which was served freshly squeezed with a beautiful orange wedge on the lip. We had to order the basket of French pastries, which was served on beautiful Bouchon China, on a typical oyster rack, over butter and fresh jam. The pastries du jour were a good morning bun, a banana nut muffin, a raison brioche, and a classic croissant. All were divine and the raison brioche and banana nut muffin made an appearance at Sunday breakfast as well.

Half of the classic croissant and good morning bun.
For our main course, I ordered the special, a Dungeness crab omelet with crab imported fresh from Oregon. Steak had the Boudin Blanc & Oeuf off of the brunch menu. Both entrees satisfied, but may have been the least exciting part of the meal. Eggs just can't compare to homemade pastries and the French bistro ambience only made better by a Champagne cocktail. The salad that came with my omelet was the star! The dressing and lightly peppered spinach leaves were just what I needed to balance the sugar of the pastries and the decadent sauce on my omelet.

Our server gets a gold medal for picking up on my passion for French macarons and bringing out the bakery menu alongside the dessert menu. Steak and I had been eying the line at the bakery and were not looking forward to waiting with the masses to get a taste of the sought after cookies. Fortunately, we were able to order a 9 pack of the macrons from the luxury of our window-side table. When we saw the price of the 9 macarons, $30, we were stunned. These were going to be some of the most expensive macarons we had ever tasted, aside from Laduree in NYC & Paris. What we didn't know is that Bouchon Bakery makes some of the biggest macarons I have ever seen (but not quite as big as the macaron I had at the Bellagio in Las Vegas)! We were pleasantly surprised.

Happy with the generously-sized macaron cookie.
Surprised and delighted definitely describes our mutual feeling of our overall experience at Bouchon. It's rare to be surprised by a much-anticipated restaurant, but always a pleasure. Thankfully Bouchon lived up to, and even surpassed, all of my expectations.

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