Yountville resident Nancy Gates remembers when she received a call last year from The French Laundry, one of America’s most acclaimed restaurants. She had been selected as one of the winners to attend the restaurant’s special discount night for Yountville residents.
“Everybody in the room at our house jumped up and down and said, ‘Yes!’” Gates said.
Once a year, The French Laundry hosts Yountville Night, an exclusive evening for local residents when the restaurant returns to its original 1994 menu price of $49 for a seven-course menu. Guests are selected through a drawing.
This year’s event takes place April 10. Advertising for the drawing began this week, and the restaurant has already received
The event has become one of the biggest highlights of the year for residents, many of whom clear their calendars in hopes of being chosen. Gates’ book club, which normally meets on the second Tuesday of every month, canceled its April meeting for that very reason.
“We all hope to be at Yountville Night,” she said.
Although the featured seven-course meal is no longer available to today’s restaurant-goers, The French Laundry does offer a nine-course chef’s tasting menu or a nine-course tasting of vegetables for $270, excluding wine and tax.
“The price (on Yountville Night) really is a great deal,” said resident and Vice Mayor Lewis Chilton.
Chilton has attended the event twice and describes the restaurant’s atmosphere as “surprisingly casual.”
“I’ve never worn a tie to The French Laundry, and that makes me happy,” he said.
Chilton has dined at The French Laundry once outside of Yountville Night and said the experiences were of equal quality.
“What they do for the locals is exactly as good, if not better,” he said.
The French Laundry has been hosting Yountville Night for the past eight years. “It is a way for us to welcome our Yountville neighbors to experience The French Laundry and to nourish our relationships with them,” manager Erin Tichy said.
The menu changes daily, and although Tichy would not reveal the full menu for guests on April 10, she did say winners can expect to enjoy some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the salmon cornet and “oysters and pearls.”
Names will be selected March 12, and each winner will be allowed to bring one guest. Tichy did not say how many names would be selected.
Cindy Saucerman, executive director of the Yountville Chamber of Commerce, has dined at The French Laundry several times, including once on Yountville Night.
Saucerman describes the food as “incredible” and the presentation as “exquisite.” She said everyone should experience The French Laundry at least once.
“If it’s not on your “bucket list,” it should be,” Saucerman said.