I just want to clarify one thing so that there isn't any confusion.
The French Laundry requires a credit card to hold the reservation. As far as I know (I'm not employed by them), they do not put a hold on the actual card. They do however charge the card $100/guest if you don't show up to your reservation and you hadn't previously cancelled that reservation at least 72 hours in advance.
The Visa gift card solution (as opposed to the traditional credit card) helps reduce the liability to both you and me. Julia is the first person I've had take me up on the gift card solution suggestion.
If you have any more questions about how that all works, just email me, and I'll gladly answer!