Bouchon Bistro – the less known Thomas Keller gem

Bouchon Bistro – 6534 Washington Street  Yountville (Napa Valley).  http://www.bouchonbistro.com/

One of the things I want to do before I die is to eat at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in the Napa. So it was quite serendipitous when I texted a foodie friend for an affordable lunch recommendation on my way to Napa for a friends bday, and received “Bouchon Bistro” as the answer. Bouchon Bistro is Thomas Keller’s more affordable dining option in Yountville, only steps away from its more well known cousin French Laundry itself. Thanks to the time being 2pm, we were lucky enough to get a booking at such short notice.

Bouchon Bistro is a fine dining experience in itself. The restaurant is located on a charming street in wine country, one that looks like it’s out of a story book. Next to it is Bouchon Bakery, a pastel exterior of yellow and green, that reminds you of a macaroon and beckons you to go in and get one 🙂

Clockwise from top: Bouchon Bistro’s cute exterior, Bouchon Bakery next door, the menu

What we ate:

  • Macaroni au Gratin ($7.50) – macaroni gratin. A really good take on the classic American mac & cheese, this side dish was good in a small dose to share.
    Merguez Grillée ($16.50) – spicy lamb sausage, toasted farro salad, heirloom carrots, pickled red onions & fava beans with cumin scented sheep’s milk yogurt. Very well cooked sausage, I loved the combination of the beans and the greens.
  • Truite Amandine ($27.95) – pan-roasted Idaho trout with haricots verts, toasted almonds & beurre noisette. Just amazing. The trout was perfectly cooked, the greens complemented nicely but it was the toasted almonds really made the dish.
  • Thon en Persillade ($36.00) – seared big eye tuna, pole bean ragout, baby artichokes & mizuna leaves with parsley vinaigrette. Tuna was well cooked, although a little bland in my opinion. However, the extremely well seasoned beans and vegies really brought out the flavour in the tuna.
  • Poulet Rôti ($26.50) – roasted chicken with sweet corn, ventrèche, beech mushrooms & peppercress with chicken jus. I’m not usually a huge fan of roasted chicken, but this version was really hearty yet refined at the same time. Note the extremely large serving size.
Given we were in Napa, we paired our meal with a 2009 Groth chardonnay, which was nice and buttery – just what I love in a chardonnay. Unfortunately, we finished lunch at 4pm so had to rush to catch a winery before it closed, so had no time for dessert. We were told by our server to go next door to Bouchon Bakery for their amazing macaroons.

Clockwise from top left: sear big eye tuna, pan-roasted trout w/ toasted almondse, spicy lamb sausage, roasted chicken

the verdict: 9/10 – excellent french food, a little piece of France conveniently located in California. a very memorable dining experience!

don’t forget to order: the trout w/ toasted almonds. just divine.

to try next time: the macaroons next door at bouchon bakery 🙂

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