ad hoc had to be one of my favorite restaurants in Napa. You may be familiar with Thomas Keller, who is well known for the infamous Per Se and French Laundry. However, ad hoc is so different from those two restaurants, perhaps only overlapping in its high quality and delicious food.
While those restaurants are a more refined and very expensive exploration of French cuisine, ad hoc is a family style restaurant focused on seasonal comfort food. They have one menu of four courses every night and the only option you have is whether or not you want to add a supplemental dish to your main course. As someone who tends to be very particular about what I am in the mood for, I was a little nervous about what we might find on the menu (admittedly hoping for their famous fried chicken). My apprehension was completely unnecessary, though, as everything they served was delicious. It was actually nice to have someone make all of my decisions for me, too.
(I couldn’t resist tasting their fresh bread even though I knew I had plenty of food coming).
Our first course was a watermelon salad. The combination of watermelon, and savory vegetables was delicious, especially topped with a blackberry dressing. The kicker, though, was the unbelievable financier croutons. Did you catch that? They put cookies on our salad!!!
The second and main course was spice rubbed pork shoulder. I very rarely order meat in restaurants because I’m usually drawn to the fish and vegetarian dishes, but oh my was this good. The pork was so flavorful and spicy. It was served over a combination of rice and beans that Matt enjoyed (I don’t like rice).
My favorite part of this course was the plate of fried green tomatoes. They were firm but juicy and perfectly crispy on the outside. The sauce reminded me of tartar sauce and actually went really well with the tomatoes. I was a little disappointed I had to share these.
We also opted to try the side of albacore tuna salad…. certainly not your traditional tuna salad! Again, we didn’t need more food, but Matt made a good point that we were there once and might as well try everything.
The third course was a cheese plate. There was toasted crusty buttered bread, lamb chopper cheese (SO good!) and a mint english pea spread of sorts. The three items together made for a perfect combination.
Last but certainly not least was a make-your-own sundae for dessert. At first I was disappointed that we weren’t getting a baked good (I figured we could get something Bouchon-like), but the homemade vanilla ice cream and toppings more than made up for that. I seriously considered licking my bowl but the waitress came over to our table before I had the chance to embarrass myself.
We very seriously considered going back to ad hoc again during the trip but unfortunately didn’t have a chance. Now Matt gets the menu emailed to him on a daily basis and pretty much every day we consider hopping on a plane to the west coast. This obviously isn’t a vegetarian or kosher-friendly restaurant, but for anyone else with minimal dietary restrictions, it is a must visit in Napa!
The winner of the KISD Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies is Jessica!
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Timestamp: 2012-08-13 23:06:47 UTC
YAY! So excited :) and this food just made me so hungry….
They don’t seem to be afraid of the carbs either, which I appreciate :)
Haha I agree!
Good review, and awesome pics, too! I haven’t eaten at any of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, but it’s definitely on my to-do list :)
Oh wow, the food looks phenomenal. Great review!
I obviously need to plan a trip to Napa IMMEDIATELY! Everything looks amazing. COokies in salad? I approve!
ALso, you don’t like rice?? Neither does The.Boy. You two already have something to bond over!
I love him already!
There are so many great restaurants in the Napa area. I would love to eat at this restaurant…hopefully on our next trip! :)
That watermelon salad with the financier croutons looks divine!
ad hoc is one of our favorites too – and we always order the extras ;)
delicious review, those tomatoes look SO good!
Financier croutons!? Brilliant!! These photos are making me so hungry, and I literally just ate lunch. Thanks for the enticement. :D
I can never resist the bread at restaurants even when I’m ridiculously excited about the meal to come :) This sounds like such an awesome place!
Definitely on my list of restaurants I want to go soon. Lovely meal. I would be worried about the options too but sometimes you have to suck it up. The dessert idea is so fun!
What a great review! I have always wanted to go there and really now I must :)