Yountville: Ad Hoc Food and Fun
I warned you guys that these wine country trip posts might go on for a while! Today I’ll fill you in on the spot where we had perhaps the most fun meal of the trip- Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville. From the get-go everything was top notch. Our table wasn’t quite ready when we arrived for our reservation, but the manager quickly offered his most sincere apologies and grabbed us each a glass of champagne. Talk about service! So far so good.
Before too long, our new friend Nick the manager showed up again, this time leading us to our table by the front windows. He soon explained that the server for this section was “in the weeds”, so he was going to take care of us for a while. Hey, anyone that supplies us with free champagne is welcome to stick around!
I should probably explain how Ad Hoc works, in case you’re not aware. The menu is prix fixe, $49/person and you get a 4 course, family style meal. Each night of the week features something different, with Monday nights being either Fried Chicken or Texas BBQ. It should go without saying that I was really hoping that we’d be lucky enough to get a Monday with Thomas Keller’s famous fried chicken, and apparently many others were hoping the same thing, because even though I made the reservation over two months in advance, we could still only get the last seating of the evening- 9 p.m.
I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t a little disappointed when I found out we’d be getting BBQ. I mean, really, I can get BBQ any day in Nashville, but Chef Keller’s Fried Chicken? That’s another story. But I tell ya, that disappointment didn’t linger once I tasted that first bite of meat.
First up was the salad made with ingredients fresh from the garden at TK’s other restaurant down the street, The French Laundry:
A nice light beginning to our meal before moving on to the not-even-close-to-light 2nd course:
Texas Style Barbeque
snake river farm’s wagyu beef brisket, smoked beef short rib, broccoli rabe
oven baked beans with padron pepper corn bread
The meat was absolutely incredible, juicy, melt in your mouth stuff.
I should mention that they also have an alternative option for non-meat eaters. My friend Charmaine chose to go that route, and she was served a lovely fish and a different side of beans without the chunks of bacon that were swimming in ours.
After the main course, it was time for the cheese course: Valley Ford Cheese Co.’s Estero Gold with Jacobsen’s Orchard apple butter and palladin toast. Quite tasty, but honestly, after all the heavy things we’d just consumed, it was a bit lost in the shuffle.
And then there was dessert. This is about the time I started asking myself “Why did I wear my white skinny jeans for this dinner?” Not the smartest wardrobe decision. Seriously, I almost needed to unbutton them. Almost.
Our perfect sweet ending:
Warm, caramel -laden Monkey Bread topped with butter pecan ice cream.
Dessert devoured, and more than a bit of wine consumed, the girls and I were still raring to go. Unfortunately Yountville does not exactly have what I’d call a booming nightlife, particularly on Mondays. So what to do? Well, let’s just say Nick did his best to take care of us. The last four people in the restaurant besides the staff, it became our own little party! The music was cranked up and before they knew what hit ’em, we were singing along to Journey….
Some time after midnight, we decided the party had to end. We did have a very full day of wine tasting ahead, you know. But before saying goodbye, we grabbed our new friend Nick for a photo. Thanks Nick, for a wonderful evening. We had a blast!
dinner five nights a week
5 to 10 pm
(closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
10 am – 1 pm