Ad hoc Review
Ad hoc website
Ad hoc menu (changes daily)
Directions to Ad hoc
Make reservations for Ad hoc
Thursday through Monday (closed Tue and Wed): 5 pm to 10 pm.
Sunday brunch: 10 am - 1 pm
(Last meal: Q3 2010)
It should be noted that Ad hoc was originally created as a placeholder for Thomas Keller's long-awaited burgers and wine concept restaurant. So, he set up Ad hoc in the meanwhile with the head chef at Bouchon. Of course, Keller could probably open up a taco shop, and the locals would love it. Originally, Ad hoc used to not take reservations to keep true to its name. But it basically became so popular that this got tossed out the window pretty quickly.
Ad hoc food
Because Ad hoc's menu basically changes every day, what you hear one person say about Ad hoc might not be the experience that you get. You should definitely check out the Ad hoc menu before deciding to go unless you just want to show up and be surprised. We've been there 3 times, and we've never had anything less than a satisfying meal. The purpose behind Ad hoc is accessible, hearty family-style type of comfort-food. Although it still has plenty to offer in terms of flavor, ingredients, etc., it's not trying to be a stuffy restaurant per se (Oh wait, that's another Keller restaurant isn't it?)
The Ad hoc menu is usually 4 course fixed menu with a starter (eg, salad, soup), main course, refresher course (eg, cheese, nuts, honey) and then dessert. Although it is a fixed menu, I've heard a waiter say that they can make accommodations for vegetarians or allergies though. But honestly, if you don't like meat, you probably shouldn't be here. Although I guess talking about individual dishes doesn't really make a lot of sense since you'd be eating something different anyway, I guess I'll do it anyway. :-) Here's what we've had at our most recent visit:
Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad
sweet 100 tomatoes, pickled cucumbers, broccolini and cauliflower florets, shaved radishes, lemon cream dressing.
Yeah, ok, I'm not big on these types of salads (don't really care much for iceberg lettuce) although I did like the pickled cucumbers and tomatoes bits. But it's a light start for the big guns await...
Herb Crusted Colorado Lamb Sirloin
sweet corn stew, new crop potatoes, roasted pardon pepper vinaigrette. Perfectly cooked lamb. This was a very tasty and satisfying dish.
Candied peanuts, yellow peaches. Perfectly fine cheese course. Often they'll have some jam or honey to go with a candied nut of some kind.
with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. Delicious take on an apple pie, I guess.
I should note that Ad hoc generously seasons its food. Some foods deal with this better than others. Overall, it's fine for us, but for some, the food can sometimes come off on the salty side.
Ad hoc fried chicken
We heard that every other Monday has fried chicken, and fried chicken just isn't too common around these parts.
Here's the Ad hoc take on the potato salad. I thought the potatoes were a little underseasoned (usually if the seasoning is off, it's the other way around for Ad hoc), but overall a pleasant enough way to start off your meal. But of all the times we've been, this was probably the weakest starter.
And the fried chicken ensemble. The buttermilk fried chicken was VERY tasty. The fry was excellent, and the chicken was very flavorful and juicy (and also very hot). It was noticeably herby and garlicky which we're guessing is in the batter for the chicken. Also shown are the biscuits in a sausage gravy and the roasted zucchini in a procini tomato sauce. The buttermilk biscuits in the sausage gravy were also excellent. I wished they could've given us 2 biscuits each though to give us a better way to sop up the artery-clogging gravy.
Of course, the salt content on this part of the meal was on the high side, but it's worth it.
Below is the cheese course. Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk's Cheese on the left, an apricot preserve in the middle, and some marcona almonds on the right. We had this meal not too long after we had our Ubuntu tasting menu which also had a sweet apricot portion in their cheese section. Wonder if there's some apricot thing going on.
And finally dessert. Beignets wtih 3 dipping sauces. A Valrona chocolate sauce which is one of our favorite chocolates. A mixed berry dipping sauce and also a lemon curd pastry cream sauce at the top. The beignets weren't as puffed out and airy on the inside as I'm used to seeing them. They were fuller, but they were still very fluffy.
Overall, I still prefer Ad hoc's normal usual menu to their fried chicken menu, but if we're in the mood for fried chicken, we'll just hold out until Monday at Ad hoc.
So, what goes on the other Monday when they're not serving fried chicken?
Ad hoc fried barbecue
Bah! More iceberg lettuce! But you know what really makes up for it?
Ad hoc setting and service
Ad hoc was meant to be pretty informal, and they try by having the waiters dress in jeans or slacks with just an Ad hoc labeled shirt. And then there's some sort of light adult contemporary music going on overhead. But at $48 per person (excluding wine), I guess you really can't expect the place to have that informal of a vibe, right? ) The inside of the area is dominated by the bar at the entry of the restaurant and then a fairly compressed seating area to the left. It's one of those close seating areas where you get to hear your conversation and about 3 other tables around you at the same time. It's a little on the noisy side, but the type of folks who eat there tend not to get too rowdy. The overall setting inside just goes for a clean, earthy look as it tries to look informal. Small overhead lights, beige walls, dark wood floors, etc. They don't bother with a table cloth, they serve wine in stemless glasses, and so on. Service overall is pretty good even during busy times which for Ad hoc is usually often during the evenings.
One day we were slumming around Yountville without reservations and we happened to bump into a closed Ad hoc shortly after it opened. We just popped in later in the week for dinner. You can't do that now. Definitely get reservations unless you like eating really early or late.
Price of our meal
2 people, 2 glasses of wine, 2 fixed menus, tax & tip = $160
I know this sounds awful talking about a dinner that cost us $160, but it's actually not a bad price for a very satisfying meal.
Other Ad hoc reviews and links
- Yelp reviews for Ad hoc
- Fork and Bottle's review (lovely pictures as always)
- San Francisco Chronicle's review
- Some really fabulous pictures of the food at sundaynitedinner.com
- Nice review with pics by Cooking for Engineers (how can you not want to check out a site with a name like that?)
- Bay Area Foodie Blog review