One of the places we had dinner reservations for in Napa was Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc. We will continue to try for reservations at French Laundry, but this was a last minute vacation and you need at couple months advance to be lucky enough to snag a reservation.
We were incredibly pleased with our dinner at Ad Hoc – a four course family style menu that changes daily.
Ad Hoc means “for this purpose”, aptly named as they had very different plans for the restaurant originally. As they were building it, they opened on a temporary and experimental basis with the set courses served family style. Being so extremely popular, it was decided not to mess with a good thing.
A good thing it is, indeed.
Salad of Living Butter Lettuce
toasted walnuts, asian pears
shaved red onions, flambeau radishes
celery branch, celeriac dressing
Butter lettuce is one of my favorites for an ideal salad – and this was! I could have enjoyed this entire serving myself, possibly another. Simply perfect.
Mussels with chorizo, sofrito butter
This course was an optional addition, and Jason chose to include it. I am adventurous and will try everything, but I wasn’t much a fan. I dipped a piece of bread into the broth – amazing and aromatic. Loved that!
Snake River Farm’s Grilled Flank Steak
haricots verts in mushroom cream
poached king trumpets, fried shallots
tfl garden green garlic
Again, I try everything. The flank steak was flavorful, perfectly seasoned and tender. The fingerling potatoes and poached trumpets were perfect – crunchy golden potatoes and substantial mushrooms – very umami!
The haricots verts were also delicious, I think I ate most of them.
The cheese course was one of my favorites. Patacabra is a Spanish goat cheese, and I love goat cheese! This was rich and creamy and it paired perfectly with the sweet of the apple butter and the crunchy toasts.
I will be looking for patacabra…
Double espressos – you know it is time for dessert!
coconut tapioca, chocolate sauce
Pillowy soft with a cinnamon sugar crunch, this dessert was sublime. Serving it with creamy dreamy tapioca is genius, and the chocolate sauce completes the perfection.
A perfect end to a stunning and satisfying meal. Service was friendly and efficient, and while the atmosphere was lively, we had a relaxing and quiet dinner.
We will keep trying for that elusive French Laundry reservation, and we will also return to Ad Hoc.