Tuesday, October 13

Napa Trip 2015 - Ad Hoc - Yountville

Thomas Keller is one of America's greatest chefs at the time. He's best known for The French Laundry in Yountville. For those not willing spend the money or can't get in, we can taste a bit of Keller's work at Ad Hoc or Addendum also in Yountville.
Ad Hoc is extremely crowded and popular or at least it was on a Saturday night and the reservation rules are strict. Your entire party must be present and there is only a 15 minute grace period for being tardy before the reservation is dropped. The meal is served family style and the menu is not announced until the day of. For $52 per person, we were served the following dishes.

Caesar salad with kale, tomatoes, fried capers, anchovies, and fried croutons. This salad sounds so simple yet it was so delicious and difficult to replicate exactly. The produce is fresh. The anchovy filets were of good quality. The fried capers were crunchy and salty. I think the dressing must be housemade. But those croutons though, so buttery and crunchy. There's also plenty to share amongst 10 people. I tried to make this at home and it wasn't the same even though I had all the ingredients right but the quality of my ingredients was subpar to Ad Hoc's.

Every element in the steak with potatoes, corn, and spinach dish was cooked perfectly. Perfect level of doneness for the meat. Perfect crunch on the potatoes. Perfect wilt on the spinach. It was just a tad plain for me. It's a large quantity though but there's only so much steak and potatoes I can eat at one time.

This crab mac and cheese was perfection. It cost an extra $21 to the table. Big macaroni pieces, melty cheeses, bread crumbs and crab pieces. 

I was really disappointed by this course of cheese, toast, and chopped olives because it was only just that. I don't really know what the point is here of slowing the pace of the meal at the end right before dessert. I would have preferred that we have the option to break apart the pre-fixe menu and eliminate this cheese dish for a lower total cost. I really didn't care for this, especially after already eating the main course. It wasn't even a very impressive type of cheese.

Cold chocolate cupcakes for the dessert. They were good but I wasn't wowed.

In the end, all I remember is the salad and the crab mac and cheese which we had to pay extra for. $52 per person for this quantity of food is good but nothing else about Ad Hoc is worth it. If you went all the way to Napa, went through the trouble of making a reservation somewhere for dinner, anticipating a nice fancy meal, do all of that work for another place that will be more worth it. Everything was edible, everything was good, but what a big over-hype. Maybe it's over-hyped because many people eat here thinking it's their way in to a taste of French Laundry because it's by the same chef. 

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