Some say that Keller’s second restaurant in Yountville is even better than his flagship, the French Laundry. The rest of us may never know. But Bouchon is open until midnight seven days a week, and you can grab a seat at the bar without a reservation and spare yourself the theatrics of the more formal dining. Champagne, oysters, and French fries are a fine first course, and the bar also makes a mean martini.
Bouchon is a Thomas Keller star (at a third the price of French Laundry). which serves unpretentious, French fare with a Keller twist. From Croque Madame to steak and roasted chicken, the kitchen puts out classical French bistro fare. Try sitting at the marble-topped bar with a Pastis in one hand and a spoon for mussels in the other. Not only is it quite affordable, but if you are lucky enough to snag an outdoor seat, you may also sit, Paris-style, all afternoon chatting with friends (and I dare you to resist walking into the Bouchon bakery two steps away to complete your meal- or grab a foie treat for your dog!).