I’m in the closing stages of my ebook, and I’ve had to narrow the focus and edit out some material. Here’s some fotzelschnitten to savor.
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Having already divulged my preference for Boonfly Café fried chicken over Ad Hoc fried chicken, I’m going to come across as a Thomas Keller detractor when I champion Bistro Jeanty over Bouchon Bistro.
Let me set the record straight: from a pure culinary standpoint, Thomas Keller is clearly the greatest chef in American history, bar none. But as far as Bouchon Bistro is concerned, it’s good, but for me, Bistro Jeanty is more of the quintessential Napa Valley restaurant.
While Thomas Keller has been a fixture in the Napa Valley since 1994 (when he purchased the French Laundry from Sally Schmitt), chef Philippe Jeanty has been in the Napa Valley since 1977 (originally as the executive chef at Domaine Chandon).
Having worked in the restaurant business and the wine business, I’ve often conducted an informal poll among my peers, kind of like the Elvis-versus-Beatles debate: Bouchon or Jeanty? What I’ve come to learn is that locals seem to favor latter.
Of course, the knock against Jeanty, what you may hear repeated from time to time, is that the menu at Bistro Jeanty doesn’t change enough. But I think that’s a bit petty. Jeanty offers all of the classic French comfort foods at reasonable prices, and the restaurant always features specials.
For folks who visit the Napa Valley once per year, it would take a good decade to get through the regular menu at Bistro Jeanty. For the folks who live in Napa, it’s comforting to know that Jeanty’s terrific cassoulet is always available.