Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ad Hoc: Family Style

As part of our family get together in the Napa Valley, Michael's cousin Kirsten arranged for the 8 of us to have dinner together at Ad Hoc, a new venture by Thomas Keller in Yountville (just down the street from the French Laundry).

We had a wonderful dinner there. Of course a lot of it was the company and probably the 6 bottles of wine take some credit also.

Ad Hoc is a very unusual restaurant which serves only one four course meal nightly. Kind of like going to a friend's house and eating what they decided to make. For that reason, there isn't a whole lot of point in an exhaustive review of the menu since it changes every day. We had tempura fried vegetables, lamb with potatoes au gratin, a green salad, and a dessert that escapes me now (must have been the wine). All of the dishes were very well prepared; the lamb in particular was outstanding.

The restaurant is bright and comfortable and, not surprisingly, pretty informal in the California wine country manner. Service was excellent, friendly and attentive. Of course the servers' job is made easier by the fact that everything is prepared and served family style so they don't have to take orders and only bring one (in our case two) platters of each dish.

The stated price of dinner is $49 per person which seems quite reasonable for a four course meal of such high quality. On the other hand, somehow it had expanded to $75 per person by the time we left, not counting an additional tip. I'm not sure where the extra $ came from, since we brought our own wine -- either corkage was steep or there were some add-ons there. Still not outrageous but realistically one is looking at $200 per couple with wine for a place where you don't get to choose what you eat, so check the menu carefully (it's posted every day at 2 pm) before you go.

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