Ad Hoc beef seafood Thomas Keller

Know Your Ribeye, a.k.a. New Year’s Eve at Ad Hoc

I know we were just at Ad Hoc 11 days before, but I made our New Year’s Eve reservations way before they put grilled short ribs on the menu the same day we were going to The French Laundry. And I certainly wasn’t going to turn down a special end-of-2009 dinner of Prime Ribeye and Maine Lobster with Truffle Butter.

Steak and Lobster
Prime Ribeye and Maine Lobster with Truffle Butter

I’ve had ribeyes at Ad Hoc before, but this was the first time Ad Hoc was allowed to serve the calotte (ribeye cap) alongside the ribeye. Normally, the calotte is trimmed from the rib roasts and sent up the road to The French Laundry where they serve it like this:

Calotte de Beouf Grillée
The French Laundry’s Calotte de Beouf Grillée (12.08.08)

You know how prime rib has that ring of meat on the outside that tastes way better than the middle? That’s the calotte. If you’re a real fan of beef, you already know that the calotte is considered the best part of the cow because it’s tender and loaded with flavor, and chefs have been known to save the calotte for themselves.

Ad Hoc Blowtorch Prime Rib
Ad Hoc Blowtorch Prime Rib

Here’s the ribeye broken into separate components.

Anatomy of a ribeye, from left: rib bone, the eye, and the calotte.
Picture from

Everything at Ad Hoc is served family style, but they portioned each platter so that everyone at the table got two pieces of calotte, two pieces of ribeye, a whole lobster tail and a whole lobster claw. It was served with steamed broccolini and Carolina red rice with black eyed peas. I don’t mean to besmirch the meltingly tender lobster—the whole claw fell out of its shell when it was picked up—the perfect medium-rare ribeye, or the accompaniments, but really…this meal was all about the calotte. It was especially gratifying to find out that the calotte and lobster tail were separate courses on The French Laundry tasting menu that evening, as well.

A full plate
A full plate of food to close out 2009.

Normally, you can ask for seconds at Ad Hoc and they’ll oblige, but not on this night. It wasn’t a problem because my wife gave me some of her calotte because she was getting full and saving herself for dessert. The Chocolate Bombe was a dark chocolate hazelnut mousse served with caramel sauce and hazelnut brittle, a lovely way to end 2009.

Chocolate Bombe
The Chocolate Bombe was the bo— nevermind… ;)

Here’s pics of the rest of the meal:

And here’s Cibo Matto’s – Know Your Chicken on YouTube to ring in 2010!

13 replies on “Know Your Ribeye, a.k.a. New Year’s Eve at Ad Hoc”

Arnold, that rib-eye steak looks delicious and I LOVE the cap. I think it’s like the skirt steak and other “obscure” cuts – the smart butchers save it for themselves. (The not so smart probably grind it into burgers, sigh.) The rib-eye cap or the sirloin cap are not for everyone since they’re a little chewier but for me, heaven. Curious if they told you the farm/breed/diet/aging and all that. I would think Ad Hoc would be pretty particular about their meat sources.

@Melody: If you’re ever in the Bay Area and want to go to Ad Hoc, let me know! :)

@Sam: If I made you food drunk just off these pictures, I think I did my job. :)

@Carrie: Let me see if I can find out more about the cow. :)

From someone stuck in the midwest, eating Keller’s food only through cookbooks, thank you so much! Drooling……

What a nice way to finish off 2009. I look forward to many great blogs from you in 2010. Have you thought about about an audio widget to your blog? It’s very easy to do and I think it would add a lot to your blog.

Hi Arnold – just wanted to drop you a line to say really enjoying your blog. I both the momofuku and ad hoc books and I love them as well. I’ll be visiting more often!


I know I’m late to this party, seeing how January is almost over and all. But I couldn’t help myself when I saw the pictures with all the beef and the lobster and the beef. It is time for me to get up there, no more excuses. Thanks for the recap… it has me seriously thinking ahead to this New Year’s eve already (not that I plan to wait until then to get up to Ad Hoc).

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