(See Update Below): Starting next week, it will be illegal for California restaurants to sell foie gras. Those who violate that rule may be subject to a $1,000 fine. But so it goes that the San Francisco authorities might not prosecute chefs who give away the dish for free, as Bloomberg News reported today. So here’s where things get interesting.
Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry typically offers a single foie gras dish for $30. It’s a number that’s always published on the online menu (Per Se in New York charges $40). But we The Price Hike noticed something interesting today. The French Laundry’s current menu lists three foie gras dishes: sherbert, torchon and Americna Wagyu with foie gras “pastrami.” Only the latter carries a supplement, at $100 (that’s what Keller usually charges for Wagyu).
So effectively, there are no real foie gras charges on this menu. Is this an effort to “work-around” the law? Or is this simply an effort to celebrate the silky duck liver before it (theoretically) becomes illegal? We’ll find out in about a week. The French Laundry updates its online menus almost every day — though keep in mind that Keller has said he’ll comply with the ban. Stay tuned, folks.
Update (6/27/2012): The Good People at the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group emailed The Price Hike to let us know that the menu without supplements was a “menu-in-progress” and was posted “inadvertently.” The foie gras dishes do, in fact, carry an extra $30 charge. Click here for an updated list of those dishes.