Thursday we ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Ad Hoc, in California’s Napa wine country. We keep going back for great meals for a good price. We live two hours from the Napa Valley so we do this about once a year.
Ad Hoc has a daily fixed-price menu — four courses for $52. A Thomas Keller restaurant, Ad Hoc uses fresh ingredients of the highest quality, and the cooking is excellent. The food isn’t fancy, more like top-end home cooking. The service is attentive.
We drove north through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge, which spans the Golden Gate, the strait at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. As usual, we stopped at the vista point after crossing the bridge.
This time we drove into the nearby hills. Hawk Hill provides a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the distance. These hills are part of a national recreation area, so they will remain undeveloped for future generations to enjoy.
Then we drove to the Napa Valley and dinner. Every diner at Ad Hoc is served the daily menu.
The first course was a green salad with a mustard vinaigrette dressing. The entree was chicken fricassee. The chickens are small; two of us shared two breast halves, a thigh, and a drumstick. As you’d expect, the mushrooms were tasty, having soaked up flavor from the braised chicken.
The cheese course was a local goat cheese with homemade blueberry jam and toast. The jam was lovely, but the goat cheese was, well, goat cheese. Our palate for goat cheese and sheep cheese still needs to be developed… Dessert was a glazed cream puff. Pretty, but the glaze was too thick and hard.
Ad Hoc serves buttermilk fried chicken for dinner every other Monday. We’ve wanted to try the fried chicken for years, but heavy traffic makes it hard for us to get to Napa for Monday dinner. Addendum, an informal Thomas Keller restaurant behind Ad Hoc, sells the same fried chicken for lunch Friday to Sunday, so we stayed overnight to have fried chicken at Addendum for lunch Friday.
The fried chicken was moist and tender — very good, but not great — served with cole slaw and a potato salad. But we enjoyed this $16.50 fried chicken lunch much more than driving hours in commute traffic for a $52 dinner with the same fried chicken.