Thomas Keller arrived on horseback, with nothing but a magnificent head of hair and a tasting-menu dream.
Believe what you will, the moral is: The French Laundry is back and taking reservations after four long months of kitchen remodeling.
Some history: back in the 1900s, a farmhouse on Washington Street becomes a saloon. Alcohol prohibitions halt the saloon-ing, and it reopens as a French steam laundry before eventually becoming a restaurant.
Keller acquires it in ’94, and the French Laundry is soon born. Everyone goes nuts. Michelin stars are involved. It temporarily closes in 2014 for renovation.
Bringing us pretty much up to today. The renovation still isn’t done, so for now, they’ll be serving you the famous Oysters and Pearls out of a kitchen that’s actually a shipping container. Well, that’s unexpected.
You’ll stride in to find the dining room untouched: same starchy white tablecloths and homey feel of your French aunt’s country house. That one aunt everyone has who creates daily nine-course tasting menus.
The one who never repeats a single ingredient throughout meals.
The one who’s constructing a 17,000-bottle wine cellar.
You know, that aunt.