Wagyu Beef Wellington at French Laundry

On Instagram I saw a photo of the $500 supplement of Wagyu Beef Wellington, looks terrific but …….
This is on top of the regular $390 charge. How could one meal be worth this price?

As long as there are folks who can pay that (for some it’s small change), there will be restaurants who will charge that.


there are high end restos - $500 per nose is not unheard of, pre-inflation . . . .

so far as real Waygu, be certain of the resto’s
(a) honesty of description
(b) kitchen skills.

having previously had a superb dinner at (Las Vegas) Craft Steak, revisited, splurged on an imported ‘real’ A5 Waygu steak.
ordered medium rare, it came cooked to a criminal death.
obviously Tom Colicchio is not checking on the qualifications/skills/performance of the LAS kitchen staff.

now, , , , is it worth it? almost without doubt, no. real (and there is a lot of ‘fake’ / hybrid / other ‘Wagyu’…) about any ‘real’ USDA Prime grade, and quite a lot of USDA Choice graded steak is 99.5% ‘as good’

we planned a west coast trip - tried for two years - email, phone, snail mail - to get a reservation at the French Laundry. they responded to nothing.
but Guv’ Newsom got a private room with no masks during the height of the epidemic. so, go figger . . .
unless you got really powerfully connected friends, forgetaboutit.

In Las Vegas, I hope you sent that steak back that was overcooked?

So this meal is $900. Even if I were a gigillionaire, I would not spend that on a meal.

From the beginning of time, till the end of time, powerful people will be granted special treatment.

That said if you’re determined you can find a way. I know very ordinary people who’ve gotten reservations. Maybe lunch is easier? Maybe a hotel concierge (Fairmont? Mark Hopkins? St Francis?) has some pull?

That was very dumb of Newsom, of course it couldn’t be kept secret. I’m not a politician, not a genius but even I know that wasn’t a smart move.

(I’m a Blue Dog Democrat)

it was his “privileged” move . . . dumb. . . stupid . . . whatever, , , Newsom found it “a good and acceptable” thing to do. with or without masks . . .

giga-naire . . . can’t disagree - spending buckets-o-dollars on a single meal is almost without exception a stupid idea. there are establishments where the service and exquisite smallikites “warrant” veddy high prices. these are place that only deal in ‘the best of the best’ and offer ‘way cool extras’ that cause/support the uber price.

But to those who are very, very wealthy, $500 is the equivalent to $50 for ‘regular’ folks, which I would deem more than acceptable for a meal for one.

These same people also have no qualms losing multiple thousands of dollars at the poker table in Vegas.


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This meal is $900

Obscene in my book

Compulsive gambling is in a whole other category, such a terrible flaw.

I find both equally obscene, but how other people spend their money is really none of my business :woman_shrugging:

How 'bout NO! I’ve had A5 wagyu and you really don’t want a chunk like that. It’s so rich that just a few morsels are more than enough. That’s not just conspicuous consumption, it’s stupid and tacky conspicuous consumption. Might as well throw on a few 16 oz foie gras steaks. Yueerk! :nauseated_face:

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Pssst. It’s for those who want to flex their financial ‘security’ :wink:

I agree. It’s like eating beef-flavored butter. Not in a bad way - but 1oz is plenty.

Every one of the supplements we’ve had at FL have been disappointing.

From the truffle supplements to duck and foie gras to a flétan et ses lesgumus (a lighter riff on beef wellington made with halibut and wild ramps) most of them were not that memorable.

As to that Beef Wellington with Waygu, and the concern with Wagyu generally being too fatty to eat in “steak” form, I generally agree. But assuming FL is using the typical cut for a Beef Wellington (a tenderloin), it would actually be fine, even if the Wagyu was A5 grade, as the loin is generally quite lean to begin with and would welcome additional marbling.

All that said, the continued popularity of FL continues to confound me. With all the interesting restaurants in/around the Wine Country, why people continue to visit is a bit surprising. Our last visit was sometime before COVID shutdown restaurants in CA, and it will probably be our last.

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A long, long time ago now, we did the lobster supplement (one for the table to share), and I recall it being very good, but not better than the rest of the menu.

Same here. At one point in time, they represented a unique experience and a rare form of dining. Nowadays, there are tasting menus aplenty everywhere. The differentiator imo between TFL and Per Se was the surrounding experience of the setting, the visibly farm to table nature of the menu, and so on. We made a weekend of TFL visit and it was a memorable one, whereas Per Se was like any other high end tasting menu without the location context. But today, I wouldn’t choose to go back to TFL, even though it was a positive experience back then.

Except that’s not how their reservations work, which is pretty easy to look up. Used to be you had to get on the phone exactly a month prior, right when they opened. Now it’s on the internet. There used to be a dedicated thread about this on Chowhound iirc.

And celebrities can get a table anywhere without the normal process, not just here, so I don’t know what that has to do with anything.

If you have an Amex Black Card, the concierge is quite helpful in getting reservations. And "helpful’ is putting it mildly.

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Yes, also other cards with concierge services.

But my point was that reservations are not not possible without — they’re only withholding a few tables for those purposes.

You just have to get on and be persistent exactly when the reservations open, I’ve done it plenty of times (and failed plenty of other times) with a variety of restaurants around the country.

Yeah, it’s like playing Jeopardy.

You have to know exactly when to hit the buzzard, and not a moment too soon, or too late.

Yeah, and whether you care enough to do it.

At one time, it was part of the “fun” to snag a rough rez.

Nowadays, I have better things to do with my time (and plenty of other things I’d rather eat).

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two years, no response, no success, no acknowledgement . . .
they obviously don’t need my business and I’m very happy to deny them that opportunity.

a web site that for two years is “under revision” - or whatever phrase they used . . . -
is utterly insane.
borders on restos with internet menus . . . and when you get there . . . “Oh, that’s no longer on the menu, sorry.”
like . . . dudette - that’s why we came . . . there is no “sorry” - a bunch of grovel might work - but probably not. at least for 401 Prime, scratched off the list . . .

the internet was supposed to provide the capacity of 'thangs" to provide the latest up-to-the-second information.
which it can do except for places that decline to update their site for quarters/years at a clip…
bottom line: never trust the resto’s online site - call and confirm . . . which has (sigh . . . ) only about a 30% success/accuracy rate.
one being left with “Why the hell did I bother to call?”

Is any of this about TFL?

What response or acknowledgement were you expecting aside from getting through the reservation system they already have established? A personal decline? You really think they have time or staffing for that?

regrets, you assume an east coast resident has any clue on how to navigate the “you are not worthy of eating here” reservation system.

a simple “go away” would suffice.
in the non-ueber world, I have never ever experienced “no response” to email, snail mail, telephone call, site input.
never. ever.

later tried his lemon chicken recipe. super glad our reservation request was ignored - paying even $4-$5 for that chicken would have made me unhappy…

I feel for you, FL obviously denatured your HO handle. You were anything but a happy onion.

That said, your experience with FL is not limited to CA, or the west coast. It’s prevalent just about in every major metropolitan area.

Some of the worst offenders (if you want to call them that) are in the east coast, esp. in NYC. Some that immediate come to mind are Carbone NYC, Atomix, and Office of Mr. Moto (online 30 days in advance, no telephones, no walk-ins).