As I will never get into the famed French Laundry, I went for second best and dined at one of Thomas Keller’s other Yountville restaurants, Ad Hoc. This restaurant serves down home cookin’ family style and on a prix fixe menu. The restaurant is famous for its buttermilk fried chicken, which unfortunately, is only served on every other Monday. Good luck trying to get a res on fried chicken day because it’s always booked up! I came to Ad Hoc on a Monday evening thinking it was a fried chicken day, but was fooled when I realized they were serving BBQ. However, it did not disappoint!
The meal started with “The French Laundry Garden Celery Salad.” The tender greens were gently picked from French Laundry’s garden. The mixed greens were lightly tossed with walnuts, sweet apples, shaved celery and a very light creamy dressing. The salad sounds simple, but I could taste the care and thoughtfulness put into the dish.
Between a party of 4, we shared 1 order of fried calamari. Oh my gosh. This was hands-down the best calamari I’ve ever had. Lightly battered, perfectly tender. The spiced aioli was the perfect compliment to the crispy goodness.
The main course was the Santa Maria Style BBQ platter. We each got a half-rack of smoked pork spareribs and several slices of the Snake River Farm wagyu beef tri-tip. Let’s talk about the ribs first. These babies were smoked for thirty. six. hours. Unbelievably tender and smokey. The sauce they topped it with had the perfect combination of tangy and spicy. The wagyu beef also was to die for. If you’re not familiar with wagyu, this kind of beef is America’s equivalent to kobe beef. In my picture, you can see the beautiful marbling which made this succulent tri-tip so tender and juicy. To give visitors the courtesy of serving veggies so that you don’t feel completely guilty for what we’ve eaten, Ad Hoc served a savoy cabbage, broccolini and Yacon root slaw.
The platter came with buttermilk biscuits with burnt ends gravy. That means the burnt ends from the BBQed meats were cooked into a creamy gravy and poured on top of fluffy biscuits. Oh my it was good.
The pre-dessert dish was a platter of plumped prunes, a few slices of Central Coast Creamery’s Seascape and palladin toast. The cow and goat milk cheese was sharp, creamy and smooth – almost like a soft white cheddar. The combination of the sweet prunes and the buttery toast was like an explosion of flavors. Everything paired perfectly.
It’s restaurants like these where I despise the custom of eating dessert last. I was way too full to eat the banana cupcakes, so I took only a tiny bite. Light in banana flavor, these cupcakes were topped with a rum buttercream and filled with a salted caramel center. So sinfully good. The frosting tasted like pure butter.
For the blogs sake, here’s the inside of the cupcake.
The only reason why I’m giving this 4 stars is because of the service from the hostess. I feel she intentionally put our party in the “Asian corner” of the restaurant, meaning us and 3 other Asian parties sat at the back of the restaurant. I quickly forgot once the food came. I can’t wait to come back here to try the fried chicken. It’s totally worth the 1.5 hour drive after work.
6476 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599