Wednesday, December 13, 2006

okay, I lied.

So, I said I would post last week, and obviously that didn't happen. I have a good excuse though! I've been coughing up a lung the past week, and I'm just now getting over my hack and general misery. I'm ready to blog once again. I will really be ready to blog when I leave my crappy job in 2.5 days. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Okay, anyway, about a week and a half ago, we went to Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA. Ad Hoc is the latest (and temporary (for now)) addition to Thomas Keller's growing collection of restaurants.

Our friend Tanya, made the reservation for eleven, and we were on our way. There's something very inviting about the atmosphere at Ad Hoc. It's sort of like having dinner at a friend's house. Make that a rich friend's house.

Ad Hoc's menu is set, so there's no ordering to do other than drinks. However, they will ask if anyone has any food allergies. The menu changes on a daily basis and the focus is on comfort foods. I've read in that they have served things like fried chicken in the past. All dishes are served family style.

Our first course was a sweet potato and lentil soup. I have to say this soup was amazing. It was hearty, slightly sweet, but not overwhelming at all. The soup also had sausage and cilantro, and as we all know, sausage makes everything taste better. This soup was a crowd favorite.

Next up was duck. Our server informed us that they braised the duck at 82 degrees Celsius for 10 hours and then seared it right before serving. I wish they had only cooked my duck at 82 degrees Celsius for 9.5 hours instead of 10. I'm pretty sure the duck would have been perfect then. While the skin was amazingly light and crispy, the meat was dry in some areas. Even though it was dry, I'm still going to say it's the best piece of duck I've ever had. I don't like it when duck has that big fatty layer between the skin and the flesh (yes, I know that's the good part blah blah blah). This duck however, did not that extra layer of fat and the meat (though dry) still fell off the bone. I think my end of the table just had a "bad" batch because our table had several dishes of duck. Mr. Cupcake sat at the other end of the table, and later told me that his duck was phenomenal. If only I had known! He said he'd go back just for the duck if he could.

One of the good things about Ad Hoc is that the portions are big, so you can have more than one serving. Soo, Lars, and I skinned one of the extra legs for the crispy, fatty, goodness just because we could.

I can't say I get excited for cheese courses mostly because I don't particularly care for cheese. Our cheese for the night was some Ig Vella Dry Jack Special Reserve. It's a form of Jack cheese, which was only so-so for me. It was somewhat dry, and also had that pasty cheese texture that I really dislike. I will tell you that the orange stuff you see on the upper right was fantastic. It's quince paste. I'd never heard of a quince until that night, and now I'm forever a fan. Our server described it as a mix between an apple and pear that is made into a paste. Soo being the cheese lover that she is, liked the quince smeared on the cheese.

Finally, for dessert, we had a chocolate brownie with caramel sauce and marshmallow ice cream. I was super excited for marshmallow ice cream. I wasn't sure how they'd go about making the ice cream, but all I could think about was how homemade marshmallows are amazing. I mean really, were they going to take the Jet Puffed Marshmallows that you get in the store and make it into ice cream?! Well, that's sort of what it tasted like. The ice cream was overly sweet, in fact, a little hard to eat. The brownie was okay. It was a bit fluffy for my taste, but they used a really nice dark chocolate that gave it a rich flavor. I liked the few bites where I actually tasted bits of chocolate. I wish there had been more of those.

Our total cost for four courses not including alcohol, tax, and tip was $495. For eleven people at $45/person, it's not a bad deal at all. Though, I do have one gripe about our visit. After we finished dessert, we were chatting it up, but then our server asked to leave because another group had arrived and they needed our table. It wasn't a huge deal, but really, I can't remember the last time I've been asked to leave a restaurant. I guess they try to turn the tables a few times in a night, so don't expect to linger if you go.

Even with my one gripe, I do hope they keep the Ad Hoc doors open. Our server hopes so too because he doesn't want to lose his job. So if you go, and love it, he says write in and tell them that you love it.


sooiepoo said...

if i could eat more of that soup, i would! :) the crisp skin of that duck was amazing! let's go back!

j9 said...

This is all well and good and fancy pants. But when are you going to do an entry on the deep-fried feast?