Few things go together as well as caviar and Champagne. So concluded the French Laundry and Per Se’s Thomas Keller, who has just opened a pop-up on the West Coast dedicated to the classic pairing.
Keller joined forces with caviar expert Shaoching Bishop for the new high-end lounge, which is located in Yountville, CA. The duo currently helms the caviar purveyor Regiis Ova (“royal egg” in Latin) and the eatery will showcase the brand’s most prized varieties.
“We’re introducing something that hasn’t been seen in Yountville before; we’re creating a vibrant lounge with champagne, caviar and live music where our neighbors, friends and visitors can relax, gather and celebrate together,” Keller said in a statement.
The pop-up offers both small plates and snacks along with more substantial fare. Highlights include chef Daniel Boulud’s smoked salmon with bagel wafers and a Meyer lemon schmear as well as buttermilk fried chicken finished with a generous quenelle of Royal caviar, kettle fried potato chips and French onion dip. Deserts, meanwhile, comprise a variety of La Fôret Bon-Bons made by Laundry alumna Wendy Sherwood.
Diners can also opt for a tasting flight of Regiis Ova Caviar, which includes five-gram servings of Ossetra, Hybrid, Supreme, Siberian and Salmon Roe, plus all the classic garnishes like crème fraîche, eggs mimosa and chives. The flight is served with brioche soldiers griddled in clarified butter. You can also enjoy caviar by the gram or tin.
“Caviar can be an everyday luxury,” adds Bishop. “With the lounge, we now have the opportunity to demystify caviar and invite guests to learn about our featured varieties and sustainable sourcing practices.”
As for the bubbly, the list was curated by Michel Couvreux (beverage director for Per Se and The Surf Club) and Andrew Adelson (head sommelier at The French Laundry). You can expect all the usual heavy-hitters, Dom Pérignon, Krug and Ruinart, along with unique offerings from a variety of Californian and European vintners. Champagnes are offered by the glass or the bottle, with magnums and jeroboams available for larger groups.
Created in collaboration with noted designer Ken Fulk, the upscale space is outfitted with RH furnishings and features a palette of deep-sea greens. Loungers can expect a mix of luxe materials, including leather, linen, marble, iron and teak that render the space at once classic and modern. You can also choose to sit indoors for a moody, romantic vibe or outdoors to enjoy a lush garden setting.
As no good lounge is complete without a little jazz, there is a roster of Bay Area musicians performing nightly. In addition, a DJ will spin soulful tunes that run the gamut from Aretha Franklin to Amy Winehouse.
The Regiis Ova Lounge is open Thursday through Sunday and reservations can be made via Resy. The pop-up is also likely to continue through fall, because, well, the classic combination of caviar and Champagne can be enjoyed in any season.