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Ad Hoc Northern California Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (Easter Brunch)

It was a beautiful, glorious Easter Sunday, Thomas Keller was in the house (eating, not cooking), and Ad Hoc served up an amazing brunch featuring Duck Confit and Waffles. If you haven’t heard, Ad Hoc is now offering Sunday brunch, with seatings available from 10:30am–2pm. Here’s some pictures for ya while you decide whether or not you want to make a reservation. :-)


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Ad Hoc fried chicken reviews soul food Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (12/31/07)

In honor of tonight’s biweekly fried chicken night at Ad Hoc, I thought I’d share the amazing New Year’s Eve brunch Ad Hoc offered to close out 2007.


Chicken and Waffles

The menu was centered around one of my favorite foods—fried chicken and waffles—and it’s something I’ve always wanted Ad Hoc to offer as a regular meal. I don’t know if they’ll make it a New Year’s fixture, but I was just glad I had the opportunity to experience this glorious meal. Pictures of the full spread follow the menu, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.


Salad & High Tea Sandwiches
baby mixed greens with sherry vinaigrette
ham and cheese, cucumber mint, lobster salad sandwich

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Fried Chicken & Waffles
spinach and poached eggs, hoppin’ john
fingerling potato hash with hobbs bacon

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Capriole Dairy’s
Crocodile Tear

cara cara orange marmalade
and candied pecans

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Huckleberry & Banana Parfait
with house granola

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Ad Hoc pork reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc (10.07.07)

We’ve been trying to stay away from Ad Hoc until my birthday (and fried chicken night) on the 22nd, but last weekend, my friend Patty called and said she was going to be in the Bay Area before going home to Thailand, and she really wanted to go to Ad Hoc. Who was I to refuse?


Garbure
cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage
sweet potatoes and butternut squash

~

Snake River Farms
Braised Pork Short Ribs

on faro with toasted pecans, shaved celery
and splenda apple sauce

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Gubeen
spiced concord grape jelly
baguette croutons

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Ice Cream Sundaes
candied pecans, fresh blueberries
chocolate and caramel sauce

This particular visit was notable because the cheese course ended up being a pseudo-chemistry lesson. Gubeen, a pungent cow’s milk cheese from Ireland, was paired with a spicy housemade Concord grape jelly and crispy baguette croutons. Gubeen smells and tastes kinda like garbage, and eating it on its own wasn’t very pleasant. I almost didn’t want to try another bite. But when you combine the Gubeen with the jelly and the croutons, you see why this pairing works. The jelly was more like a grape syrup with a hint of cayenne for heat, and it cut the intensity of the Gubeen, making it a lot more palatable. It’s definitely not the best cheese course I’ve had at Ad Hoc, but it was certainly the most interesting.


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This was also the first time I’ve had soup as a starter at Ad Hoc. The Garbure, a light soup featuring cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, was hearty and delicous without being too filling. The main course was Snake River Farms pork short ribs, which were excellent. Prepared sous vide, the pork was juicy and tender and the sweet apple flavor really came through. The rib bones were also included, which contained some of the best fatty meat of the evening. It was served on top of faro, a barley-like “supergrain” that apparently fed the ancient Egyptians, but a vegetable side dish was nowhere to be found, which was unusual for Ad Hoc. Some greens would have been nice.

All in all, another solid meal at Ad Hoc, but I’m really looking forward to my birthday fried chicken.

INFORMATION
Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599 map
707.944.2487

Categories
Ad Hoc beef reviews sous vide Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc (06.30.07)

Washington Street is an unassuming country road in the Napa Valley that also happens to be the epicenter of Thomas Keller’s culinary empire. His flagship restaurant, The French Laundry, put Yountville on the map, but Keller also operates Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and the happy accident down the street known as Ad Hoc.

As its name implies, Ad Hoc was supposed to be a temporary six-month experiment before Keller opened a restaurant specializing in gourmet burgers and wine. But Ad Hoc proved to be so popular that it’s now become a permanent member of Keller’s restaurant family, and the “burgers and bottles” concept was put on the back burner.

 


ad hoc
 

Under the leadership of Chef Dave Cruz, Ad Hoc serves a different four-course set menu every night, showcasing the best of American comfort food, including braised beef short ribs, roasted Kurobuta pork, hangar steaks and their legendary fried chicken. Each meal consists of a salad course, main course, cheese course and dessert. If you finish your meal and want a bit more, you can always ask for seconds and they’ll happily bring you more. Wine selections are plentiful, and the young, energetic staff is happy to help you pick an appropriate wine.

When we arrived, I got excited when I saw that we were getting braised beef short ribs. I didn’t really care about anything else on the menu because there are only a few things I love in this world more than a braised beef short rib. This evening’s menu:

 


Frisee and Mache Salad
shredded Liberty Farms duck leg shaved celery, cornichons, fried capers,
duck skin cracklins and a creamy garlic dressing 

~

Braised Beef Short Ribs
baby leeks and fennel, fingerling potatoes, sofrito,
orange zest and spanish black olives

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Cana de Oveja
camembert with K & J Farms nectarines

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Mixed Berries and Cream
house-made granola


The Frisee and Mache Salad was excellent, especially when you consider that I’m not much of a duck fan because I usually find it too fatty and the flavor can be overwhelming. But this duck leg was the exact opposite; it was succulent and flavorful without dominating the salad, and I forgot I was eating duck for a second. Fried capers were a revelation…they look like they burst open, kind of like miniature bits of fresh green popcorn (or would that be pop-capers?). The duck skin cracklins were a great substitute for bacon bits; there’s nothing like crunchy fried bird skin is there?

 

The main course of Braised Beef Short Ribs was an eye-opening entree. Our waiter said the meat was braised for 48 hours, which was confusing to me until one of our dining companions revealed that it was technically a sous vide. I had no idea what a sous vide was at the time, but soon learned that this technique produces some of the most delectable meat I’ve ever eaten. Cutting into the meat was like moving a hot knife through butter, but the meat didn’t fall apart. Each slice of meat melted in my mouth and had a really rich, beefy flavor with a hint of citrus from the orange zest. Not only was this among the finest meat dishes I’ve ever eaten, it made me curious enough about sous vide to explore the possibilities of doing it at home.

The cheese course consisted of Camembert wedges and slices of the freshest nectarines I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. You tend to forget how good fresh fruit really tastes if your only source is the local Safeway.

Dessert was a seemingly simple Mixed Berries and Cream with delicious house-made granola from Bouchon Bakery. The twist here is that the whipped cream is mixed with a little creme fraiche and buttermilk, which made it more decadent than one might think possible. I never thought I would go ga-ga over a blueberry and raspberry parfait, but in the right hands, anything can be positively sinful.

Ad Hoc’s casual atmosphere and easy-going staff make it easy to relax and enjoy a truly superb meal. What’s most striking about the dining experience was the simplicity of the food. It’s basically comfort food that’s been refined or redefined by using different techniques and fresher ingredients that elevate it to a higher level. If Ad Hoc is the low-hanging fruit in the Keller kingdom, then I can only imagine how good the food is at Bouchon and The French Laundry.

I think I’ll start saving my pennies now.

INFORMATION
Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599 map
707.944.2487
Ad Hoc on Urbanspoon