Monday, April 20, 2009

Good Food in Napa Valley - Bouchon Bistro

Well ..... Bouchon is not exactly in San Francisco, it is actually about a 2 hour drive up from San Francisco and inside Yountville, Napa Valley. The weekend that A and J drove us up north was a marvellous day for cycling around the vineyards in Napa Valley. Napa Valley Bike Tours ( in Yountville was where we had rented the bicycles, if any one is interested. The prices for bike rental is not cheap for Singapore standards though. Any way I had fun with HY on our tandem.

We planned to have lunch in one of the restaurants along Washington Street in Yountvillle after the cycling. After the cycling, and obviously very casually dressed, we decided to settle lunch in the Bouchon Bistro. We had a 1 hour wait to get in for late lunch. However, the Bouchon Bakery just beside the restaurant made up for some stomach lining before the real stuff.

The treasures in Bouchon Bakery ........

Tasty Macarons .........

Bouchon Bistro is part of the Thomas Keller group of restaurant and opened by Thomas and his brother Joseph in 1998 after the success he had with the French Laundry along the same street. (The French Laundry is awarded the 3 star rating by the Michellin Guide to the Bay area restaurants and Bouchon Bistro is rated 1 star for 2009).

Service in Bouchon Bistro was immaculate and the waiter knows his dishes at the back of his mind. The only flaw was that he gave J a wrong glass of white, which he quickly corrected. By the way, Yountville is in Napa Valley where the finest wines are produced. So, there's plenty of good wines to go with food at a reasonable price. 

The ambience is casual and cosy enough for relaxing and socialising. It is exactly how Thomas and Joseph Keller wanted Bouchon Bistro to be.

Inside Bouchon Bistro ..........

Here's some of the food that we ordered and liked;

Rillettes aux Deux Saumons (US$16.75) : fresh & smoked salmon rillettes with toasted croutons - For this appetizer, the salmon mixed with egg is spread over the croutons that was provided. 

Salmon, egg mix on the crouton .........

Moules (US$7/1 dozen) : Mussels - I'm not a mussels lover but I did try them. The sauce that taste of the essence from these fresh mussels makes this dish very appetizing. The mussels lovers on our table love it.

Steak Frites (US$33.50) : pan seared prime flatiron served with maitre d'hotel butter & French fries - HY ordered this as steak and frites is a must try for a French restaurant. She liked it and thinks that it's quite job well done for this main.

Only the steak? Where's the frites .......

HY ask for the frites (French fries) to be separated from the steak. She loves the crispy fries, not soggy ones .........

Joule et Epaule de Porc (US$32.50) : braised pork cheek with pork shoulder rillettes, du Puy lentils, young leeks, shallots, frisee & pork jus. - I decided to order this main as I saw pork cheeks and pork shoulder as the cuts used. They are meat from the best part of the pig that I liked. Cuts from this part of the pig are really tender. I had a little tooth ache on my right side of mouth and still managed to enjoy this dish my chewing on my left. The pork cooked to perfect tenderness helps alleviate my pain in this case. Kudos to the Bouchon Bistro's kitchen.

In French Laundry  you can expect a more refine dining experience. This makes it far more expensive to dine in than Bouchon Bistro. What we spend for 5 person in Bouchon Bistro can be what we are forking out for 1 person in French Laundry. On top of that, you're expected to dress up in jacket suit (no jeans) for FL.

What more can I ask for today ........ a gathering of good friends ........... French cuisine .......... in a relatively relax town inside Napa Valley .......... This is life.

Address : 6534 Washington Street., Yountvillle, CA 94599

Country : Yountville, California, USA (Inside Napa Valley region)

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