Ad Hoc- Fried Chicken Review- Long
OMFG!! I hate to admit this, and yes I am admitting this. I had the best fried chicken here EVER. I grew up in Chicago eating Browns, KFC, and Popeyes. Fried chicken was always a treat that brings an emotional response from me, and yes that sounds kinda disturbing.
On to the scene- Hit the Fried chicken night here this past monday with a friend and was surprised a quaint country style Napa home converted into an upscale restaurant. Place kinda reminded me of walking into a banana republic store or anf without the incense burning at max. All the waiters also are wearing Ad Hoc clothes with logos, with a very zen clinician type of look. The background music was a mix of 80's pop, and indie rock.
On to the Food- Started off with a mixed green salad with serrano ham and a dijon vinagrette. The salad had poached leeks with large hunks of ham. I did find the salad leaves a little too big for my taste and could have been shredded to bite size pieces.
Next course, the perfectly cooked fried chicken was the best I have tasted so far. Apparently the waiter explained that the brine that they use is the one described in Keller's cookbooks. Chicken was brined in water, salt, honey, lemon, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, and other aromatics. The best thing was that the chicken shattered in your mouth, and was so perfectly cooked that it was juicy and perfectly moist. The batter was inflected with some rosemary and paprika and had great crunch. The breading was the right amount in my mind not like KFC extra crispy nor like KFC original recipe. Somewhere in between. The dishes were served with a Yukon gold mashed potato and fresh baby peas, carrots, and onions sauteed in butter. The mashed potatoes were a little too salty, whaad up with that? I guess i was looking for more perfection after the chicken experience. We then had a cheese course of local cheese that was to mimic a St. George cheese from Spain. Very good. Ended the Meal with a great upside down banana cake with fresh whipped cream. The whipped cream was the best as it was mixed in with freshly peeled vanilla bean, and slightly sweet.
The best part though was that we asked to take a tour of the kitchen since we were given the opportunity at Per Se. The waiter went back and allowed us to meet the chef and see where the chicken was prepped. We saw 3 large cauldrons of peanut oil, and watched as the whole process went down. Spoke a little with David Cruz, about his technique and took in the view.
I now want to try other "nights" at Ad Hoc, I would definitely have this again. Too bad LA does not have fried chicken this good."
I was also there this past Monday. Loved the salad and the side vegetables, and thought the chicken was really tasty, but didn't like the banana cake (good whipped cream and caramel sauce thought). The info about the brine and the preparation process makes me so much more appreciative.