My dinner at ad hoc
It was my birthday so I got to pick where we went to eat and I chose ad hoc in Yountville, having read such raves about their fried chicken. When I made the reservation they told me it was a fried chicken day so I was primed and ready. Alas, there was no fried chicken yesterday but the dinner was still absolutely wonderful. (They serve chicken one day a week, on alternating Mondays and Wednesdays. Maybe my wife will take me back tomorrow:->) But it got me thinking...
Why aren't there more restaurants like this: a single prix-fixe menu that changes every few days. The only two I can think of immediately are ad hoc and Chez Panisse, both pretty expensive. Could something like this work in the $25 per person range?
It seems like this would cut the cost of operation since the kitchen only cooks one item a day, the wait staff has less to do, there would be lower waste, shopping would be easier, and customers might eat there more often since the meal would constantly be different. If there was something like this in my neighborhood I'd be tempted to eat there once or twice a week, assured that I'd always get something new and interesting. One drawback I see is that the chef would need a huge repertoire.
I have absolutely no experience in the restaurant business so I'm sure I sound very naive, but I'd like to know why this isn't done more often.
At some point in the past couple of weeks the fried chicken schedule got off - I think I noticed that they did two Mondays in a row - probably because of the the 4th of July holiday? So if you made your reservations a few weeks ago, I'd imagine they didn't realize it would change. Glad you enjoyed your meal anyway, though!
I'm totally enamoured with the concept, too. There's something pleasant about skipping the whole decision-making process once you're at the restaurant.
As it is, some people are reluctant to eat at Ad Hoc or Chez Panise due to luck of the draw. Even a restaurant with a limited menu has problems. Digs Bistro in Berkely has only three entrees which change weekly rather than daily. However, it is hard to convince people to go there because they worry they might not want what is being served.
So what did you have on your night at Ad Hoc?
Canteen is close; with three or four starters, entrées, and desserts which change weekly.
Doubtful it could work in the $25 range and still be good. Its funny - in L.A.., I drove by a restaurant which had a big sign out for a three-course meal for $18.95. But I know the neighborhood and *knew* that it was not a meal I would appreciate...