So I'd been rather excited about the prospect of Ad Hoc ever since I heard about it a few months ago. Seeing rumors of a September 16th opening on chowhound, I found their number and called to check. Sure enough, they were to open on the 16th. I decided that this weekend
would be the best time to go since it hasn't been publicized very much yet. So with much excitement, I went up with two friends for an early Sunday dinner.
Ad Hoc is open from 3-8 for supper on Sundays. I had been a little concerned that there would be a long wait, being opening weekend and all. But when we arrived at 5:30, there were a number of open tables and we were seated right away. The interior is very bright and open
and the decor is stylish without being pretentious. Actually a bit classier than I was expecting for a 'casual dining' establishment. All of the staff was very friendly and unimposing. They make a conscious effort to make things low key. All of the waitstaff wears Dickies workshirts with the Ad Hoc logo across the back and sneakers. So the overall atmosphere was very laid back.
On to the food. Ad Hoc does a 4 course prix fixe menu that changes each night. Everything except dessert was served family style. We started out with a Big Ranch Farms Heirloom Tomato Salad. It was very flavorful, but it's pretty hard to go wrong with an heirloom tomato salad.
Our main course was the Fra 'Mani Italian Sausage with peperonata rustica, rice pilaf, and fried summer squash. It was definitely tasty, a solid dish, though nothing out of the ordinary. It was very hearty, and maybe would have been better suited as a winter dish. The roasted peppers and sausage was a great combination, but not unexpected. I suppose I was expecting a bit more inventiveness from a Thomas Keller establishment, even if it's meant to be homey comfort food.
The cheese course was a St. George Matos served with toasted walnuts and fresh figs. The waiter described it as somewhere between a cheddar and a jack and I think that's about how I would describe it as well. The cheese was incredibly tasty when combined with the texture and sweetness of the figs.
Dessert was panna cotta with macerated strawberries on top and a thin sugary crust underneath. This was pretty spectacular. There was a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. The crust underneath was unexpected and gave it a great texture as well as enhanced the flavor of the panna cotta.
All in all, it was a great experience. Very fun, low key atmosphere (plus they play pretty good music), solidly good food, friendly, unimposing service. So the final verdict is that I would definitely go back. Not sure I'll drive 100 miles each way just for dinner next time, but I'd consider it.
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