When we were up in Napa Valley over the 4th of July weekend, we had lunch in Yountville at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro. It was amazing. Yeah, it’s just a French bistro, but probably one of the best places I’ve ever eaten. The ambiance is fun and almost cute, but that’s Yountville as a whole. Whenever I’m in Yountville I almost feel like I’m on a movie set or in Disneyland. The little town is quaint with perfectly kempt lawns and flowers. Bouchon, and the adjacent Bouchon Bakery contribute to the perfect atmosphere.
Our lunch reservation was at 11:30 right when they open. When the doors opened people started streaming into the French bistro with high ceilings and black and white floors. The excellently trained wait staff have their system down. The waiters were lined up and waiting for the host to tell them where to take each party. We were fortunate to get a table outside. Since we were eating an early lunch the weather was warm and sunny, but very tolerable. Perfect outside dining weather. We were able to watch the parade of people and cars (including many very nice cars stroll by)
Our waiter was efficient and knowledgeable, which is essential for any restaurant in the Napa Valley, or Bay Area for that matter. The menu, printed on a sheet of brown paper, like a paper bag, was wrapped around our napkins. A perfect little pain d’epi (bread shaped to look like a wheat stalk) was brought out with fresh butter. This simple bread was excellent, with a nice crust and chewy interior. Since the weather was nice and warm we started off sharing ½ dozen fresh oysters, served on a bed of rock salt with 2 sauces. The oysters were delicious and refreshing in the warm weather, and we were given 3 different types of oysters to try.
For the main course I ordered the Tarte Flambée, which was onion confit, crème fraîche, gruyère cheese, and lardons. It was rich and decadent and seemed a bit more like a crustless pizza than a tart. It was delicious.
My husband ordered the Croque Madame, grilled ham and cheese sandwich on brioche, with a fried egg and mornay sauce, served with a heaping pile of French fries on the side. The sandwich was creamy and extravagant with the combination of brioche, mornay sauce, and cheese. The fries perfectly cooked, thin, with a slightly crispy exterior.
Finally, for dessert we ordered the special, three brownies with berry sorbet, a perfect paring of rich, chewy chocolate brownies and light, refreshing, fruit sorbet.
Bouchon offers great service, great food, and a great atmosphere. I definitely will be going back to try some other dishes. It’s a good thing we don’t live closer, because I think if we did I would want to eat here at least once a week.