The French Laundry
Time Out says
Since 1994, the old stone cottage deep in wine country that houses the French Laundry has stood among the holiest of holy grails—not only for destination diners, but for aspiring industry pros around the world. Thomas Keller’s influence is inestimable; without him, there’d be no Noma, Alinea, Benu or Frasca Food and Wine, to name just a few whose elaborate prix-fixe tasting menus bear testament to his mentorship. Signatures, like his legendary “oysters and pearls,” are copied endlessly. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have had Keller’s original amid a grand procession of dishes that celebrate the rarified and earthy alike—be it grilled veal tongue with peaches and cornichon relish or earshell clam tartare in finger-lime aigre-doux—you know that he’s set the standard for immaculate service as well. Yes, you'll be astutely aware of what you paid for the privilege, right down to the last cigar-paired glass of rare Cognac. But it’s a rare grouch who doesn’t walk away feeling like every penny went to a once-in-a-lifetime cause.