Restaurants & Bars

Fried Chicken Perfection at Ad Hoc

Morton the Mousse | Aug 14, 200712:46 PM     4

This is it, the holy grail of fried chicken. It puts every other piece of fried chicken I have eaten to shame. Vastly better than Nellies, Farmer Brown, Front Porch, Maverick, 900 Grayson, Bakesale Betty, Pizzaiolo, Gregoire, need I go on?

Perfect crust. I mean perfect. Thick and crispy but not at all greasy or oily. Spot-on balance of pepper and fresh herbs.

Perfect meat. Tender, juicy, flavorful. Every piece was cooked to exact doneness. The breast meat was as good as the thigh.

Big portions. The two of us had a whole chicken to share, but we couldn't finish it. I'm eating leftovers as I write this, and the chicken is still wonderful cold. The truly gluttonous can get seconds, even thirds, gratis.

How do they achieve perfection? Small farm birds, 12 hour brine, long buttermilk soaking, fresh herbs in the batter, perfect fry technique. I may never eat fried chicken anywhere else for as long as I live, because I know it will not live up to Ad Hoc.

Rest of the meal was excellent. Fantastic baby iceberg wedge salad with hobbs bacon, exquisite cherry tomatoes, house pickled onions and a luscious herb cream.

Chicken was served with two sides : a delicious creamed spinach (more cream than spinach) topped with fried onions, and some ho hum roasted potatoes that went untouched.

Cheese course was a generous wedge of the marvelous Beecher's Reserve Cheddar. Better than all of the Engligh and Wisconsin Farmhouse Cheddar's I've bought at Cheeseboard. Our server lovingly described how the round gets a daily butter wash from the cheesemakers. But what really impressed we was how well the cheese paired with the housemade plum-blackberry jam and the toasted almonds. So often, cheese course accompaniments seem extraneous, these were an important element of the whole course.

Dessert was assorted cupcakes. I dunno, I've never had a cupcake that wowed me. Frankly I don't think they exist. But these were a step above standard cupcake mediocrity.
Perhaps I was just too stuffed from the rest of the meal to really appreciate them.

They even had a good beer list, an exception for wine centric napa. Had a German weisse beer with the salad, and a shiner bock with the chicken. I think it would be difficult to find a better match with fried chicken than a great beer.

Monday night is fried chicken night at Ad Hoc. $45 for the four course meal. One set menu per evening changes daily. Dishes are available a la carte if you sit at the bar.


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