For the last two months, I had really been looking forward to this past Saturday. I had booked a table for four at Ad Hoc, and I *could * not * wait * to * go. Ad Hoc is in Yountville, also known as Kellerville, because it is home to not only Ad Hoc but The French Laundry, Bouchon, and the Bouchon Bakery. We killed some time waiting for our table by having snacks at Bouchon Bakery first - but we'll save that for another post.
The premise of the restaurant is that they serve a different four course meal every night for $49. I had been religiously checking their website to see what the daily meals were leading up to our dinner, and I had also been through his cookbook and wanted to eat everything in there. Needless to say, my expectations for this meal were ridiculously high.
Our first course was an endive salad with some tempura'd vegetables - ramps, carrots and mushrooms - in a nicoise olive vinaigrette. We immediately thought it smelled like Chinese food when it was put on our table, and the first bite was pronounced, "meh". And really, that sums it up. There just really isn't anything to say about this salad, other than it sort of tasted like Chinese food. We are big fans of the salads at Range - they are so simple, but always taste so fresh and are perfectly dressed - and I expected the salad here to be just as good as that - better even. Especially because I had read so many reviews where people talk about how fresh the lettuce is, how perfect the tomatoes are..... and our salad was, well, fried. It did look pretty though.
The main course of the night was grilled pork tenderloin, served with pork belly, barley, spring vegetables and kale chips, served with a pink lady apple mustard. This was by far the highlight of the meal for me. The tenderloin was great - tender and juicy, very flavorful, and the pork belly really did just melt in your mouth. The vegetables and barley went really nicely with it all, and all four of us highly approved. Even Kev, who doesn't really like pork.
The entree is followed by the cheese course, and ours was a Swiss cheese, served with wildflower honey and mixed nuts. We had many different reactions to this course. I liked the cheese with the honey, but not with the nuts. Kev liked the nuts, but not the cheese and not the honey. Brittany liked all three, and I think Mark just liked making the nuts stick to the cheese by applying the honey like a glue. I also liked the cute little pot the honey was served in.
The final course is dessert, and ours was a tiramisu, made with house made lady fingers and mascarpone cream. We all liked the tiramisu, and the coffee as well.
Maybe my expectations were unrealistic, but I was fairly underwhelmed by the meal. Or maybe we just went on the wrong night. When we got home, I looked up other people's reviews, and kept finding different menus that I think I would have loved. For example, the meal being served tonight, as I write this blog entry - fried chicken and waffles! With potatoes and cabbage! Home made ice cream sandwiches! Made with rum soaked brioche! That is a meal I could definitely get excited about.
With all of the amazing restaurants in San Francisco, I'm not sure I can convince these guys to take another 3 1/2 hour round trip drive for dinner in the near future. I think our plan instead is to try making the famous fried chicken ourselves.
6476 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599-1294