ad hoc Monday night
Does anyone know if ad hoc is serving chicken next Monday (4/7)?
Where are you guys driving from to get to Yountville? I'd love to check out AH's FC dinner but the drive from SF (where I work) is discouraging. From the EB it sounds more reasonable, but still not a cup of tea. I guess I could wait for a fed holiday on a Monday.
Thanks for linking to my blog.
To clarify, Ad Hoc fried chicken night alternates...it's every other Monday and every other Wednesday.
Looking forward to nicedragonboy's report. In the meantime, I'll throw in mine.
Mrs. Mousse and I were in Sonoma looking at rentals for our upcoming nuptials. We're pretty fried from all the planning, and figured that the best fried chicken on earth was just the treat we needed.
We sat at the bar so we could order off the a la carte menu, which is what we will do from now on. The prix fix is a great deal, it's just way too much food for us. A la carte prices are as follows: $12 Salad, $23 entree, $10 cheese, $10 dessert. We opted for 1 salad, 2 entrees, 1 cheese.
The salad was glorious. Freshly picked mixed greens from the French Laundry garden, incredible serrano ham, lovely cremini mushrooms, and these adorable baby leeks that made Mrs. Mousse squeal with delight. The salad came with just a light dressing of olive oil and salt, and a small glass of dijon vinaigrette. Our server encouraged us to try a bite of the salad sans dressing, just so we could appreciate the freshness of the greens. We then gave it a light drizzle, and it was very easy to toss in the family-style bowl. The dressing was great, but we were happy to choose how much to add. Though each element stood up on its own, the combination of bitter green, sweet leek, salty ham, sour dressing, and umami mushroom made for the perfect bite. It was a really refreshing way to lead in to a heavy main course. The salad was HUGE for a single serving, and I thought they had given us a double until I saw the double salad next to us that was gargantuan. Seriously, more restaurants in the Bay Area need to adopt Ad Hoc's approach to salad portions.
Good as the salad was, we hadn't driven over the mountain for a bowl of greens. Lemme tell you about this fried chicken. This was our second time eating it, and it was just as perfect as we remember. It is the epitome of everything fried chicken should be. Crispy crust with a kick of pepper, not too greasy or oily, tender, moist, flavorful meat. Even the breast was divine. No criticism whatsoever. Fried chicken perfection.
The fried chicken came with some lovely sides: english peas and carrots drenched in butter (in a good way) and whipped mashed potatoes. Total comfort food. It's amazing how this kitchen is able to execute classic dishes with such an eye to detail. They redefine my expectations of how comfort food should taste.
A single portion of fried chicken comes with a half a chicken (they use a poussin - it's small but still filling) and a nice sized serving of veggies and starch. Given the overall quality, it's a deal at $23. BTW - "all you can eat" is only available on the prix fix; no seconds on a la carte.
We were stuffed after the first two courses, but couldn't resist the cheese. Ad Hoc really "gets" the cheese course. We had a St George from the Matos Cheese Co in Santa Rosa. It was a firm cheese, nutty, very pleasant. The medjool dates and marcona almonds respectively brought out the sweet and salty flavors of the cheese. It was the perfect ending to the meal. There was no room for dessert (though I had my mind on the box of Recchiuti fleur de sel caramels I have at home).
I really enjoyed sitting at the bar. We were able to chat with our fellow diners: an Indian chef who is staging at The French Laundry, and a hard core foodie who works in the restaurant scene in NYC. Great dinner company. They were just as wowed by the chicken as we were.
Our server, Ross, was exceptional. Attentive, funny, and incredibly enthusiastic about the food. He really helped to make the evening special. Servers like this are a rare breed.
Quick comment on the beer: Ad Hoc may have the most well edited selection of bottled beers in wine country. A pilsner, a wheat beer, a bock, and a belgian ale, all from excellent breweries. The bock was the perfect match for the fried chicken. For once, I didn't miss draft.
Total bill for the food, one beer, one glass of wine, tax and tip: $110. We shaved $40 off the tab by sitting at the bar, and we definitely didn't miss the extra courses. Ad Hoc is still a special occasion sort of place for our budget, but fried chicken like this is worth every penny.
If you're strapped you could easily just order the entree, drink water, drop less than $30, and go home stuffed.
My first report on Ad Hoc's fried chicken, which is amusingly near-identical to this one:
re: Morton the Mousse
I meant to post last night but didn't get back until around 10pm so was too tired. I arrived a bit early since I didn't hit as much traffic as I was expecting, driving in from Berkeley. I even arrived before the rest of my party so I had some time on my hands. At the suggestion of the hostess, I went up the street to check out Bouchon Bakery. Woohoo, I get to knock out two birds with one stone on this trip! I gotta say, I love that bakery, small and quaint but with some definite eye catchers. It would definitely be a dangerous place for me if it was closer to my work during lunch time. Anyways, while there, I took orders over the phone from the rest of my dining partners and we got the following: Baguette, Olive Loaf, 2 Chocolate Bouchons, TKO, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Nutter Butter, Pain au Chocolat, and a Passionfruit Tart. I just finished the passionfruit tart and I'm fairly certain I'm in love. The custard was just the right amount of tart, it was topped with a hatched pastry layer dusted with powdered sugar and a couple of berries which took the edge off the finish of the tart custard.
Back to Ad Hoc, we were seated right away which was nice. Since Morton gave such a wonderful description above of the menu for the night, I'll keep my report a bit briefer. Our server confirmed that everything is served family style, which is my favorite way. I thought the salad was wonderful, greens were exceptionally fresh and the combination of the crimini mushrooms and leeks and paper thin slices of serrano ham was excellent. My tablemates did comment that they thought it was a bit over salted, but not so much for my tastes. Though I could've done with a more sour tasting dressing, perhaps.
The table was cleared and new plates and silverware were provided at every course in preparation for the fried chicken which already smelled heavenly from the parking lot walking in. Then there it was, piled high on a silver platter, easily 3-4 large pieces of chicken per person, a deep golden brown mountain, sprinkled with rosemary sprigs. Of course on the side came the whipped mashed potatoes and some of the best cooked veggies I've had. The english peas and carrots and onions in butter were a stand out to me that in it's own buttery way, contrasted well with the chicken. In my mind, I knew it was a lot of food, but some how I was convinced that I'd have no problem ordering seconds, after struggling to finish that first batch I am absolutely amazed, and somewhat scared of anyone who could finish two servings. It definitely is one of the best, if not the best I've ever had. Very crispy, slightly spicy and very juicy. Just about the juiciest fried chicken I've ever had. Even the breast meat was succulent. My only complaint, was that one of the last pieces I had was actually a bit undercooked. It wasn't cool inside, but there was definitely a bit of pink and that was a bit of a turn off for chicken.
I absolutely agree with Morton on this assessment of the cheese course. What a wonderful combination. Each ingredient, the medjool dates, the marcona almonds and the St. George cheese complimented each other so well. Chewing them altogether at the same time gave you that party in your mouth feeling.
When it was time for dessert, we were already feeling like gluttons, but we persisted on. On the menu was a banana upsidedown cake over caramel sauce with vanilla bean whipped cream. I enjoyed this a bit more so than my friends, who weren't banana fans, but the cake was a little dry unfortunately, though the caramel sauce and the whipped cream, which I probably could've had as a dessert on it's own made the dryness bearable.
I really liked the setting, it's a lovely and casual restuarant, though a bit out of my normal price range. If I lived closer, I could see myself eating there regularly cause it's just that comfortable. Service was very good for the most part, but my tablemates complain that it was annoying that the windows kept on being opened and the draft was hitting our table directly. Other than that, I thought it was a great night.
I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere, but can someone clarify the "second serving" aspect of Ad Hoc. nicedragonboy mentions that some people get two portions of chicken or some such. Does this only apply to the chicken or to other main dishes on other nights, as well? How about to the other courses besides the main course? Do they only bring out extra servings for large groups?
re: Morton the Mousse
Since I, too, love fried chicken, I made a res. for May 19. The phone person said I could not order a la carte, only get chicken at a table, 4 courses, $48. I reread your post so I guess the trick is to eat at the bar in order to order a la carte? Maybe I'll just do this regular way this time and figure it out for the bar next time. Do they take res. for the bar or do you just go early or something?
Just got back from Napa Valley and was glad they did actually serve fried chicken last Monday. Morton and nicedragonboy each did an excellent review here which I share much sentiment. The salad was excellent, chicken and side vegetables delicious, but the dessert (banana upsidedown cake) was a big disappointment. The caramel sauce and whipped cream were delicous, as nicedragonboy mentioned, though. I don't eat cheese so they gave me slices of salami which was pretty tasty. Our dining party thought the food was really good but the $48 price tag was a little steep. We should have eaten at the bar and ordered salad and chicken only, then walk over to Bistro Jeanty for their fabulous tarte tartine.
p.s. Come to think of it....a perfect dinner would be Tomato Soup at Bistro Jeanty, walk over to Ad Hoc for the Salad and Chicken, then back to BJ for the Tarte Tartine. Ummmm.....
Even tho it's a very long drive for fried chicken, it was truly very wonderful. Went early afternoon and walked/shopped St. Helena then drove to Yountville for the 6pm res. (Good thing I left St Helena at 5 because traffic was slow, bumper to bumper even tho it was just a Monday.) Had time to check out Bouchon Bakery. Beautiful stuff but I could not handle the prices. $3 for one little macaron, $2 for tiny bite of choc cake thingie. On to Ad Hoc. Great server, they change plates and utensils often. Salad is wonderful, served family style in a BIG wooden salad bowl. For me, the fried chicken is the very best I've ever eaten (and I have relatives in Mississippi who are great home cooks!). I prefer breast meat and it was not at all dry. After we were eating it, I asked for more breasts -- I really want some to take home. (It's even good cold!) The sides were haricots verts and favas with Hobb's bacon (or ham?) and a delicious leek/cheese savory bread pudding. I loved both of these. The cheese was a sheep cheese that was not special to me but their strawberry preserves -- divine. Dessert was a so-so pecan tart. Anyway, if you love fried chicken, this is the place. I guess they serve it every other Monday and some Wed. The host said you can call in the a.m. and see what's on and make a res. for that day, ok.
I made the trek up from the East Bay on Monday for this menu - sat at the bar sans reservation. They had loads of empties on the wall of their Brooklyn Brewery-made "house" beer that got some press lately (Blue Apron Ale), but sadly, they were out of stock, so I settled for a few draught beers to tide me over thru the meal, which was quite excellent, if not necessarily the "perfect" fried chicken experience I sought. The salad was fine - mixed home-grown lettuces with toasted walnuts and white peach slices - though I thought the verjus dressing was a tad overly-sharp. The chicken came out as 4 well-bronzed pieces, a ton of food by itself for a solo diner, never mind the other courses on the menu! The crust was nicely crunchy, though I found it a bit blandly-seasoned, and the meat was filled with juice. They obviously brined their birds thoroughly, and to my mind, perhaps even a little obtrusively, as I found the meat a bit too salty. Excellent chicken flavor, though, and I dutifully plowed thru the whole platter. The sides were also excellent, though somewhat gilding the lily when people's attentions are most likely fixated on the platter of chicken before them - the haricots/favas were tasty, and according to my server, the slivers of smoky porkiness mixed in were Fatted Calf ham, not Hobb's. The leek bread pudding was cheesy, creamy goodness, though when served in combination with the chicken, constituted fat/cholesterol Armageddon. The cheese course probably got short shrift as a result - I could barely look at the thing, much less savor it properly, after that bit of fried-food gluttony. The pecan tart was, to me, what pecan pies should be - about the pecans and the tender crust, not the gluey filling that usually dominates the run-of-the-mill pie.
In all, I thought the chicken was very, very good, but still not quite my fried-chicken nirvana.
went on the 14th and thought it was the best fried chicken i have ever eaten. i was surprised that they added cayenne but the little bit of heat was terrific. when asked, i was told they brine the chicken for 12 hrs and then do a flour and buttermilk coating twice. it works. i was at a table of 4 and we had seconds. the first batch was better and 1 piece of breast meat on the second batch was raw in the center. suggestion, use a fork and knife for the breast. when we informed the server about it, she immediately took away the plate and on the final bill we were comped the bottle of wine. if only that could happen at TFL! BTW, the salad was excellent, greens with soppressata and nuts with a verjus dressing. and the brownie for dessert was better than the one we got from cyrus.