Yountville, California

January 2005

Bistro Jeanty is a real find in the town famous for you know who…Thomas Keller.  Having eaten at Keller’s restaurant Bouchon since we’ve never ever been able to snag a reservation at the French Laundry, I have to say that the meal, service and ambience at Bistro Jeanty are by far superior to that “other” restaurant.

Imagine you are in an old farm house in France.  It’s winter, there’s a cozy fireplace roaring in the corner of a candle lit room.  Everyone is drinking and eating and smiling.  They actually seem happy to be here!  And I know why – the menu is a mix of old and new dishes.  By “old” I mean quenelles.  Driving through France in the 70’s, quenelles were a regular menu item.  They seemingly have disappeared from menus in France these days so I was surprised and eager to try a dish I remembered so fondly from my childhood.  These are not your “old school” quenelles; these are fluffy light pike dumplings in an equally light lobster sauce.  Lynn had the rabbit paté which he nearly  inhaled it was so delectable.  Then we both had the pork special (a lovely pork roast  stuffed with cherries) with generous sides of spätzle and red cabbage.

Instead of the traditional cheese plate, Bistro Jeanty offers you a choice of a single perfectly ripe cheese.  We went with a tangy local goat drenched in walnuts and honey; it was awesome. 

Follow up visit

October 2005

Our second visit this year, which always begs the question would we be disappointed?   Emphatically NO.

This time we were seated next to the fireplace which gave us a commanding view of the room and a chance to see what everyone else was eating.  We started with the smoked salmon appetizer and the house smoked trout.  Lynn moved on to the coq au vin while I went with a lighter dish – the sole with haricot verts and a wonderful potato gratin.  Unfortunately Lynn was feeling a little dining fatigue that night which worked out ok for me since I then got to eat the crêpe suzette for dessert all by myself.  Actually it was a singular crepe, as large as a dining plate, sprinkled with sugar and a hint of orange liquor. 

Bottom line: Bistro Jeanty is a wonderful and reasonably priced restaurant in sometimes too trendy Yountville.


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