Ad Hoc – 2/8/09

by arnold on February 10, 2009

The thing I love most about Ad Hoc is that you never eat the same meal twice, and this was no exception. I’ve noticed from looking at the menus that they’re coming up with some really interesting first courses that deviate from the traditional soup or salad paradigm.

As I was getting out of my car, I ran into Nessim, one of Ad Hoc’s lead servers, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Claire Clark, the former French Laundry pastry chef who’s spending time at Ad Hoc making desserts before going back to the U.K. This was an unexpected treat since we were there specifically to try her dessert course. I also reconnected with Chef de Cuisine Dave Cruz, and he was kind enough to send over an additional course to our table in between the first and second courses.

MENU

Maryland-Style Crabcakes
fingerling potatoes in remoulade,
shaved celery salad, hass avocado

~

Brook Trout
hen of the woods mushroom conserva
(additional course)

~

Whole Roast Lamb Leg
fennel gratin, borlotti bean ragout,
garden rosemary, dijon mustard
dried mission fig jus

~

The Cheese Board
marcona almonds
marshall’s farm wild flower honey

~

Red Velvet Cupcakes
white chocolate-cream cheese frosting


The crab cakes were outstanding. They were fresh and free of any flour “filler”—just crab with seasoned panko to hold it together. It was served with some nice fingerlings in remoulade and some avocados cooked sous vide, which made them even creamier.

The lamb was local and less gamey than the Colorado lambs that Ad Hoc sometimes gets, which I liked. It was served with fennel gratin and Borlotti bean ragout that the entire staff was raving about, and it easily outshined the lamb although it was a tad salty for me. My wife, who loves salty foods, had no complaints.

The cheese course featured toasted almonds, cheese from three different animals (goat, sheep, and cow) and was served with a really nice bitter orange jam.

The red velvet cupcakes were smaller than a typical Ad Hoc dessert, but when they’re this pretty, does it really matter? Technically, this was a great cupcake. It was dense (by design), and the texture reminded me of pound cake . The white chocolate and cream cheese frosting had just the right amount of sweetness and the Valrhona chocolate pearls added some crunch to it. However, I’m coming to the realization that I just don’t like red velvet cake. I think my eyes see red cake and expect something bold, but the flavor is always much more subdued.

Or maybe I just don’t get it and that means there’s more red velvet cake in the world for the rest of you. :)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

lainie February 10, 2009 at 8:02 am

oooh.. FANCY!

Arnold, I feel the same way. . I do not “get” the red velvet craze. . it’s cocoa cake with lots of red food dye. w t f?

However, I did try making one a more or less “no additives” way using beets. . it was delicious! And most people thought so until I told them I did not use red food dye but beets instead. . .instant eeeewwwwww!!! ;)

cool that you got to meet claire! The meal looks lovely!

Reply

Phil H. February 15, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Wow, this looks like my ideal Ad Hoc meal!

Reply

Arnold February 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Phil, I hope you can make it back there so Ad Hoc can redeem itself. :)

Reply

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