Star chef Thomas Keller's The French Laundry, one of the most renowned restaurants in the United States, has added an impressive spirits and cigar menu that includes a handful of rare, pre-Castro Cuban cigars.
Owned by Keller since 1994, The French Laundry is located in Napa Valley, California, specifically Yountville, and has won numerous awards, including being named a Michelin three-star restaurant. It's wine list won Wine Spectator's prestigious Grand Award in 2012. The French Laundry, which is housed inside a building that dates back to the 1900s and is on the list of National Register of Historic Places, offers two, nine-course prix fixe menus daily featuring mainly French food with some American influences.
Ever since Keller opened The French Laundry, it has operated with only a beer and wine license. That is, until now. Head sommelier Dennis Kelly told the San Francisco Gate's "Inside Scoop" that the new spirits and cigar program is designed to enhance the postprandial portion of the dining experience.
"[Thomas Keller] had this vision for this program," said Kelly in the report. "The program is created around the idea of after-dinner drinks, and especially to enjoy with cigars." According to the report, diners will be given an iPad at the end of their meal with the entire spirits and cigar menu on it. From there, guests will be given the option to enjoy their smoke and drink outside in the restaurant's courtyard.
Broken up by country of origin, the cigar menu offers some well-known, non-Cuban brands like Rocky Patel, Fuente (including Fuente Fuente OpusX), Ashton, Padrón, Macanudo, Partagas, My Father (including the Flor de las Antillas, our reigning Cigar of the Year), Romeo y Julieta and Punch. A few cigars are wrongly categorized, though, and the upcharge for a single stick is extremely high. For example, a Las Cabrillas Cortez that normally sells for around $5 a stick is marked up to $22.
However, even an experienced cigar enthusiast will be amazed by the restaurant's selection of "pre-Embargo cigars," as the menu calls them. Priced from $165 to $595 a stick, the vintage cigar list includes:
Romeo y Julieta, "Belvederes," rolled in 1961
Hoyo de Monterrey Perfecto, 1930
H. Upmann "Naturales," 1958
Las Cabanas "Selecciòn No. 3," 1960
West End, Cheroot, 1868
Peter Schuyler Perfecto, 1932
Flor de Farach "Flor Fina" Robusto Extra,1957
La Primadora Perfecto, 1946
La Corona Perfecto, 1931
Diners will be able to pair their premium cigar with an equally impressive list of spirits that include rare single-malt Scotches, Bourbons, brandys, tequilas, rums and even grappa. To view the entire spirits and cigar menu, click here.
The French Laundry
6640 Washington St
Yountville, California 94599
Monday to Thursday: 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday to Sunday: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.