Bouchon Bistro, Yountville CA
Our possessions are mostly packed because we’re moving this week. This kept us from traveling to see family that lives a ways away, and we had nothing with which to cook at home for ourselves for an Easter meal. Zach did research to find any place open that had something different to offer, and Bouchon Bistro in Yountville promised a meal well worth the drive.
Bouchon Bistro is known for having some of the freshest seafood. We shared three Chefs Creek and three Cortes Island oysters; both were salty, briny, and sweet, and the Chefs Creek were smaller in size but slightly sweeter. They were served with a traditional cocktail sauce and a sweet vinegar mignonette.
This onion soup was very sweet as it traditionally should be – not overly salted like the typical American style. Zach believes they use a housemade stock instead of a beef base or bullion cubes. The onions were tender and abundant, but don’t get scared! They were deliciously caramelized. Despite having a good amount of strong Swiss cheese, it wasn’t greasy. The thyme was a nice addition.
It would seem that mac and cheese is a very popular side dish nowadays. We’re seeing it in a number of restaurants. Here, the blend of white and yellow cheeses over perfectly cooked pasta was rich and playful with so many flavors. There was definitely Gruyere, but even Zach the supertaster couldn’t get past that because the cheeses were so well balanced and blended. And August always likes a cute ramekin.
A grilled ham and cheese sandwich on brioche bread with a fried egg, Mornay sauce, and a mound of well salted fries was Zach’s entree. The bread was buttery and crispy, the ham smoky, the cheese plentiful, and the sauce very rich and creamy. The fries almost had Zach fooled – crispy and tender, he thought they were cut in house, but we learned they are in fact frozen. One of August’s pet peeves is french fry texture and temperature and so many restaurants mess up one or the other, therefore she has essentially given up on them. However, she sneaked a few of these towards the end of the meal and confessed they were even good cold.
August’s plate was as tasty as it was pretty. Trout is currently on the sustainable seafood list, and this pan-roasted fish from Idaho was super tender and buttery. The green beans, or rather haricots verts, are a French variety that is a bit longer and thinner than the American ones we’re used to seeing. They were verdantly sweet and given great texture by the toasted almonds. The beurre noissete brown butter sauce added to the rich simplicity of the meal.
Hostess Erica was warm and friendly when we arrived, and Chris, our server, was wonderfully attentive and knowledgeable. We met manager Krzysztof Pawlik, who runs a great front of the house. Chef Michael Sandoval took time to step out of his busy kitchen and greet us, and it was a very appreciated gesture and a pleasure to meet him. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience, and we’re looking forward to dining here again (as well as at the parent restaurant French Laundry [wink]).