I eat here as often as I can.
Fried chicken Monday delivered all the sparkly things. The mashed potatoes were freakin' heavenly.
I would eat here twice a week if I could (once for dinner and once for brunch).
I was SO excited when I discovered Ad Hoc!! Every foodie's dream is dinner at The French Laundry, but it's not some place you can randomly call up, grab a reservation, and casually drop down $500+ for a meal. Ad Hoc is much more accessible. I considered it my "French Laundry appetizer."
ATMOSPHERE: Reservations were super easy to get on Open Table. I booked them only a week in advance and had my pick of slots. I LOVE the concept of Ad Hoc - if I could own a restaurant, I'd want it to be just like this. The restaurant is modern, but not in a sharp edges sort of way. It was very home-y, with lots of natural light. Polite, as if dressed in its "Sunday best," but with a family-themed vibe. That's what the meal is like: cooked for a family to share (3 course prix fixe menu, $38 per person). The menu format was simply adorable: printed on clean, white paper and tucked into a folder. The service was professional and wonderful!
FOOD: I'd go every Sunday if I could ... maybe I'll strive for one Sunday a month because this is what it's all about: serving what's in season and celebrating the food's flavor at its peak. This Sunday, the menu was:
- red potato and sweet onion frittata with caramelized sweet onions, young frisee, puquillo peppers, and smoked Idaho trout
- grilled pork tenderloin with garbanzo beans, roasted romanesco broccoli, braised pork rib and celery root hash
- banana bread with chocolate mousse-vanilla ice cream and candied walnuts
I don't normally like frittata because they're usually dense and quiche-like, but Keller's frittata was thin, sweet n' savory, and light as air. Perfect when paired with the smokey trout, the frisee, and their mouthwatering sherry vinaigrette. I'd probably eat anything if it was topped with that dressing.
I was REALLY hoping that our menu would include pig and my wish was granted! The pork tenderloin was the juiciest pork I've ever had. Ad Hoc proves that you can cook pork and have it not be dry. The pork tasted maple-y and the hash was delicious. How could you not like the hash? It was probably the tastiest, fattiest parts of the pig pan-fried in its own fat. Yum.
I love bananas, in milkshakes, sundaes, and just by itself, but I've never liked it in bread ... until now. The bread was moist and not overwhelmingly banana-y or too sweet/chocolaty. The outside was crispy and the middle was melt-in-your mouth. Paired with the fluffy, homemade ice cream and it was the best way to end brunch!
Oh! And I also highly recommend their white wine sangria with blood oranges. It was the BEST sangria I've ever had - bubbly, crisp, not too dry or sweet.
If you want the perfect weekend get-away, I recommend my Jan 17 09 itinerary: wine-tasting in Sonoma (you can find my reviews for the wineries on one of my lists), a couple's massage and stay at MacArthur's Place, a dinner consisting of a picnic with cheese and salami bought at the Sonoma Cheese Factory, and then finished with brunch at Ad Hoc the next morning. That, my friend, is a recipe for success.