After a basket of multi-grain bread, we started the meal with a Bibb Lettuce Salad with crispy prosciutto, pickled red onions, nicoise olives, grated hen egg, haas avocado and served with an oven-dried tomato vinaigrette. It looks rather simple, but it was one of the best tasting salads I’ve ever had especially considering I normally tend to avoid olives. The prosciutto really added a nice crisp and salt, and the rest of the ingredients went very well together to make for a rich-tasting salad.
The Garden Filet Green Beans were prepared with toasted almonds and lemon. The green beans were fresh and nicely cooked to a slight firmness, and the almonds added some nice texture. It balanced out the meal quite nicely.
The main entree was Prime Beef Porterhouse Steak with marinated chickpeas, sultana raisins, sweet carrots, & marble potatoes. The meat was a very well cooked medium rare, and there was plenty of steak to fill both of us up. The chickpeas, raisins, carrots and potatoes added some nice starch and veggies to the dish, but the meat was fabulous even without them.
The next dish was Cypress Grove Chevre Company’s Cheese with jacobsen orchard mirabelle plums & palladin soldiers. This was definitely the highlight of the meal, which for me, is very ironic because I do not like cheese. However, there was something truly special about this dish. The balance of flavors between the cheese and plums and the toasted flavor of the bread (which I think is the palladin soldiers but I’m not totally sure) was very unique. The cheese and plum contrasted yet blended so well together. Hard to describe but definitely something I would want to have again…. if ever I can.
Dessert was a Summer Berry Tart prepared with a baked meringue, whipped crème fraiche, & lemon curd. I definitely did not like this too much. The baked meringue was weird. It was kind of airy but crunchy at the same time and ended tasting and kind of looking like foam. They would have been better served using puff pastry, but the berries were still very fresh and yummy.
Overall, Ad Hoc has a very casual vibe consistent with most of Napa Valley’s dining scene… depending on ther restaurants, one may even consider Ad Hoc more casual than most. I liked it though especially considering all the talk and hullaballoo that comes with Thomas Keller’s restaurants. It was a nice change of pace to sit down and feel like everyone just stumbled in after a day of wine tasting. Very little pretension and fluff. The price was actually pretty reasonable. The 4 course prix fixe was $50 per person. Not too bad really considering the quality of the food… which really was the highest of quality. You could tell that the ingredients were fresh, and although I’m not the expert, I’m starting to understand a little bit more this whole concept of locally-sourced, organic grown ingredients. It really makes a difference in the quality of the meal.
I don’t know if I will ever go to French Laundry or even Per Se, for that matter. However, I think that Ad Hoc is just as good of a restaurant to try and sample some of the famous Thomas Keller cuisine.
6476 Washington St.
Ad Hoc, Yountville, CA 94599
PAFO Ratings for Ad Hoc:
Price $$$ ½ stars
Ambiance 3 ½ stars
Food 4 ½ stars
Overall rating 4 stars