The concept of ‘family-style’ meals, a single simple but appealing menu at reasonable prices, has become more popular than ever before. For example, the family-style dinner option at Martini House has been very successful since its launch last year resulting in expanded number of days during the week and times it is offered. Chef Thomas Keller recognized the appeal of family-style meals even before economic tides turned, back in 2006 when they set up the restaurant as an ‘ad hoc’ use of recently acquired space as they considered permanent options. The casual concept was so popular not only among locals but also visitors that they decided to make Ad Hoc a full-time endeavor in 2007.
Ad Hoc’s fixed price four-course menu changes frequently and features comfort food that appeals to a broad range of appetites. On Monday evening, the main entree on the menu was a Kansas City barbeque plate consisting of tender beef brisket, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, perfectly cooked buttermilk shrimp over an apple slaw and deeply flavored white beans on the side. The wine list is food-centric with a good diversity of local and international selections at reasonable prices. While the usually crowded venue adds vibrancy, the warm lighting and casual but stylish atmosphere makes the dining experience intimate.
As part of the Thomas Keller group of restaurants, the quality and provenance of ingredients at Ad Hoc are predictably high, as is service and wine selection, but offered in a low-key environment.
Ad Hoc, 6476 Washington, Yountville. (707) 944-2487. $49 fixed priced dinner served from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every night except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and for Sunday brunch. Reservations recommended.