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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 LobsterPrime 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 GrilléeThe 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 RibAd Hoc Blowtorch Prime Rib

Here’s the ribeye broken into separate components.

ribeye-partsAnatomy of a ribeye, from left: rib bone, the eye, and the calotte.
Picture from Ideasinfood.com.

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 plateA 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 BombeThe Chocolate Bombe was the bo— nevermind… ;)

Here’s pics of the rest of the meal:

[pictobrowser type=”flickr” userID=”arndog” albumID=”72157623011038355″]

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

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Ad Hoc reviews The French Laundry

Memorial Day Maine Lobster Rolls at Ad Hoc

Yeah, yeah…another Ad Hoc post. I know. I’ve been meaning to write about some of the cooking I’ve been doing, including baking my first brioche or my thoughts on liking traditional waffles more than Belgian waffles, but when Ad Hoc’s daily menu email update arrived in my inbox yesterday morning, the words “Maine Lobster Rolls” jumped out at me.

Maine Lobster RollsThis was the full portion for two people.

Ad Hoc recently started doing barbecue nights on non-fried chicken Mondays, but for Memorial Day, they decided to offer the Maine Lobster Rolls to give dinner more of a picnic vibe. Now, I’ve never had an authentic New England lobster roll, but I think I may have spoiled myself by having this one, which features lobster from the same purveyor that supplies The French Laundry, a custom sweet roll from Bouchon Bakery, shaved celery, red onions and garlic aioli.

Maine Lobster RollsThe sweet, housemade pickles were excellent, too.

The meal started off with fried French Laundry chickpeas that were like fried, salty edamame—an amuse bouche of sorts, but they don’t use words like that at Ad Hoc. :)

French Laundry Fried Chickpeas

The leek salad featured more French Laundry vegetables and some crispy Jamon Iberico, what Bac-O’s aspires to be when it grows up.

TFL Leek Salad with Jamon Iberico

The cheese course featured Rogue Creamery’s aged and creamy Caveman Blue, raspberry-vanilla jam and beer flatbread.

Rogue Creamery's Caveman Blue with raspberry-vanilla jam beer flatbread

The toasted lemon pound cake with chantilly cream and macerated blueberries ended the meal on a surprisingly light note.

Toasted Lemon Pound Cake

I was content to spend Memorial Day chillin’ at home and watching Game 4 of the Lakers/Nuggets Western Conference Finals battle, but since the Lakers ended up playing poorly and losing, I’m glad I spent my time up in Yountville enjoying the sublime comforts of a great meal instead of stressing out at home yelling at the TV.