Monday, January 15, 2007

Reservations at French Laundry...IMPOSSIBLE?

I recently got to thinking about French Laundry after discussing the restaurant with a friend of mine who I got the Bouchon Cookbook for as part of a secret santa exchange. We both dreamed of going there someday and so I thought what were the possibilites of getting a reservation there. Unfortunately, to my dismay - the response was dismal all over the place. Short of going there in person, it seemed impossible to do over the phone or otherwise. Impossible is what I thought. And then I came across this post:
OpenTable hints
At the moment, there are 2 tables available every day: a table for 4 at 5:30pm, and a table for 4 at 9:00pm. There has not been a dinner table for 2 offered at all for quite some time, contrary to this page. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there are three lunch tables available also: a table for 2 at 11:00 am, one at 11:15am and a table for 4 at 11:00am. For Per Se, there's a nightly dinner table for 4 at 5:30. I haven't seen anything else available. Dinner is the most competitive table. If you go straight for lunch you'll have a much better shot.
The tables open up exactly at midnight (Pacific Time, French Laundry and Eastern Time for Per Se) and are gone quickly. You have to know when the OpenTable clock will strike midnight. The OpenTable servers seem to be synchronized, so you can tell when their clock will change by visiting and clicking on the appropriate timezone. Be ready. The first person to click the link gets a few minutes of peace to fill out the form. You have to click first! Once you see the page where you fill out your credit card, you've locked the table for a few minutes.
Go to this page(French Laundry) or this page (Per Se) earlier in the evening. OpenTable actually limits reservations to between 59-61 days ahead, which sometimes isn't quite the same thing as the 'over-the-phone' reservation rules of 2 months to the day. On this page, enter the earliest date that OpenTable responds with "Your requested date exceeds the maximum advance reservations limit for The French Laundry (Per Se)" For the time, use 7:15 pm. OpenTable will look two hours before and two hours after for a suitable reservation. I've seen 5:30 and 9:00 tables available, so 7:15 is right in the middle. Keep your browser window on this 'Your requested date exceeds ... ' page. Watch your webpage. When 11:59:55 strikes, click 'reload' in your browser until you see either available tables show up or you see a 'No tables are available' message. If you see 'No tables are available,' sorry, but you lose. Try again tomorrow. Do NOT click so fast that you don't process what appeared on the screen. If you click reload with reckless abandon, you might get the option to book a table and then lose it with the next reload. If you are lucky enough to see a time appear, quickly click the time you are offered.
Good luck!
link to hints page

Maybe there is hope afterall. If you ever try it - let me know if it worked for you!


At 10:08 PM, Blogger Rokes said...

So glad you're back! Happy New Year!

My cousin went to French Laundry... she said it was overrated, but I still want to try it!

At 9:46 PM, Blogger justJENN said...

Wait a minute, are you going here?

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Yum-e said...

I would like to but I haven't tried it yet. You thinking about it?

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Per Se reservations are not open in Eastern Time Zone any more. At least not at the moment


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