Why 4-Year-Olds Should Review All Fancy Restaurants

08/21/2014 at 10:55 AM ET

Jessica Saia & Isla Murray

Kids — they say the darndest things!

Like that time 4-year-old Lyla Hogan had the herb-roasted Elysian fields farm lamb at the prestigious French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley and said:

“This one isn’t delicious.”

But, don’t worry, her parents weren’t embarrassed beyond belief by their little cherub’s scathing words about the dish prepared at a place Anthony Bourdain has called the best restaurant in the world. She was brought there by the website The Bold Italic to review a full tasting menu from her own adorable perspective — and she’s the youngest person ever to do so.

Jessica Saia & Isla Murray

With beautifully expressive photos taken by Isla Bell Murray, Lyla’s table to mouth experience is illustrated from the very beginning, when she’s served an ice cream cone-shaped avocado cornet, to the very end, when a laundry list of irresistible goodies are placed before her (the best way to win a girl’s heart is with chocolate! Good move, chef.)

Jessica Saia & Isla Murray

Some of Lyla’s greatest hits include her thoughts on a handsomely prepared plate of white sturgeon caviar, which she immediately gives a thumbs-down without even trying. She curls her bottom lip and says: “It looks really not good.”

And with each plate comes more zingers, like when she’s served a petite green salad: “This pepper tastes like babies.” Wait, she’s eaten baby? “I just ate the legs and the feet, not the eyes or the mouth.”

Jessica Saia & Isla Murray

Fortunately for the Laundry’s chef and owner Thomas Keller, not all of little Lyla’s comments about the food are disparaging. The summer melon soup is to-die-for or in Lyla-speak: “tastes like a Tinker Bell popsicle.”

Jessica Saia & Isla Murray

And, for the record, the restaurant’s bread is completely AWESOME and Lyla could drink their ginger ale forever, and ever — out of a champagne glass, preferably. This place is super fancy, remember.

To see Lyla’s adorable review from beginning to end, click here.

—Amy Jamieson

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Showing 16 comments

cookandfashion on

I love your post ! 🙂
Follow me 😉

Sacré on

I must have the same palette as a 4 year old because that was pretty much my summation of TFL. It’s in a beautiful setting in Napa and the restaurant atmosphere is amazing. But there’s at least a 2 to 3 month wait for a reservation, the food is a bit pretentious, way overpriced, plus it takes HOURS for all the courses to be served and quite honestly, the best part is all the decadent desserts. Fortunately, the portions are very small and I was able to make my husband eat most of what I didn’t like as to not offend the chef… although my husband wasn’t too happy about that part.

Truthfinder on

Back in 1999 when we were in St. Helena (Napa Valley), we easily got reservations to “The French Laundry” and cancelled them. We decided to go elsewhere for dinner. Little did we know at the time this restaurant would turn out to be world renown and $$$$$$$$. Now it takes forever to get a reservation. We called and got one the very same day and cancelled 2 days later. Live and learn… Duh!

Manders on

Wait, The French Laundry doesn’t serve chicken fingers and fries? Shocking that a 4 year old wouldn’t like it!

K.B. on

The pictures are so cute, but what a waste! I’d LOVE to dine at The French Laundry. Thomas Keller is a genius. But, the waiting list for a reservation was months-long the last time I checked. And since I never know when a business trip will take me out there, that has made a visit impossible. I’ll get there one day, though. It’s on my Bucket List.

fieldhockeygk11 on

I don’t know who taught her table manners, but I think they should re-teach her…Eating with her fingers at a fancy restaurant? Despicable. Figures she would end up in People magazine. Yuck.

templar on

SHE IS 4 !

Charli on

I passed on the French Laundry a few weeks a go . It seemed a little to shee shee for what I wanted. I don’t need hype. I just want to have a nice dining experience. The menu didn’t move me at all.

Anonymous on

This is one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read on this site – pointless, ridiculous, and self-indulgent!

Jeancy Makela on

The kids.c’est comme qu’ils sont lesenfants

forrest gump on

………drunk people & little kids tell the truth.

MomC on

Wow! Not even sure how to react to a stunt like this. On one hand, it seems like such a waste of an opportunity and product. On another, it seems very disrespectful to the experience for which Mr. Keller and his team strive. A meal like that isn’t for everyone and it isn’t for everyday, but if you pay attention to the ingredients and the technique, it will blow you away every time. Very sad commentary on what is considered “cute” in this day and age.

What!?! on

Charli – Did you mean chichi? I sat there for a minute trying to understand your comment.

Just a Duck on

Four year olds don’t belong in fancy restaurants.

DrunkenRabbit on

I’m with the other poster–teach that child how to use a fork. Teaching her not to shout out comments while she (and others) are eating would be nice, too. Dearest Lyla’s Parents: I’m sure you find your child adorable. Other people, wanting to have a special night out, who have paid a fair chunk of change and waited months for the oppotunity to do so? Not so much. Way to be selfish, parents.

OSA47kzE on

312237 5745You must be very astute at research and writing. This shows up in your original and unique content. I agree with your primary points on this topic. This content should be seen by more readers. 946795

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