Chef Patron Thomas Keller liked to have a more casual alternative to his flagship restaurant The French Laundry so he opened his vision of a French bistro in 1998 – Bouchon.
Thomas Keller is undoubtedly the most famous chef in the United States. The Chef has reached the absolute top thanks to outstanding culinary skills combined with years of clever marketing. His achievements are impressive, but you will unlikely see him in the kitchen of Bouchon.
Chef and restaurateur Keller now has eight restaurants and three bakeries in the United States of which one bakery and three restaurants are located in the small town of Yountville. The picturesque and exclusive Napa Valley town holds a record amount of top restaurants of which most are located at the same street. You can have your lunch at Bouchon and just walk a few steps away to The French Laundry for dinner later the very same day.
Michael Sandoval joined the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in 2003 and he has worked his way up to finally become the Chef de Cuisine of the first Bouchon restaurant in 2011. Classic French bistro cooking of top quality is the key. It might be considered a bit exotic and for some even exclusive in the United States, but most people from Europe are used to the style, especially people living or visiting Paris which obviously has acted as the main inspiration for Bouchon. Keller’s interpretation of a French bistro sometimes lacks to feel genuine due to the sheer size of the dining room and plastic feeling, almost like being at a Disneyland. The best way to describe it is an American version of a French bistro.
The style might feel a bit too much for some and not as genuine as in France, but the casual bistro fare is second to none. Every single dish is cooked perfectly and the level of consistency is high, indeed. Our favourites are the seafood dishes despite the fact that they are prepared far from the sea, like the lightly smoked wild sturgeon with Maine lobster, fava beans, braised radish, new crop potatoes & horseradish crème fraîche.
Today there are so many fantastic restaurants in Yountville and the competition is fierce. Thomas Keller set the bar when he launched his impeccable The French Laundry and there are better alternatives in Yountville than Bouchon, but it is a great choice if you like to have a casual French bistro experience.
Image of Chef Patron: Courtesy Deborah Jones
Written by Andy