Monday, May 24, 2010

Ad Hoc . . . Finally

Anyone who knows me knows how I revere (to put it mildly -- worship maybe) Thomas Keller. When holidays roll around James feeds my obsession with signed cookbooks, products and tidbits he finds about the chef's coming and goings. Last November we snagged reservations to the new Beverly Hills outpost of Bouchon, Thomas Keller' bistro style eatery. But I have been dying to try one of the stand alones -- The French Laundry, Per Se. Ad Hoc is on that list.More from the weekend food journal.
Ad Hoc is Keller's family style casual restaurant serving one pris fixe 4 course menu per night, and a 3 course brunch on Sunday. The menu for dinner is posted online (or recorded on the restaurant's phone message), brunch is pretty much a secret until you walk in the door. We scored big with chicken fried steak and eggs.
To start there was a parfait of citrus yogurt, house-made granola, and fruit salad with simple syrup alongside mini soda breads with swoon-inducing compound honey butter.
The star of the show: flaky, crisp, crunchy, deeply browned chicken fried steak. Thinly sliced flatiron steak elevated these beauties from the more run of the mill roadhouse version with tenderized round steak (still pretty good). Next to the steaks, gently scrambled eggs -- soft and moist and a great counterpart to the crisp steak. Beautiful green asparagus (what did they do to make that so delicious?) and white cream gravy finished this family sized platter. My only complaint? We could have used a bit more of the delicate gravy but only because it was so delicious.
For dessert? Individual banana cream tarts -- custard and banana purée with thinly sliced bananas in a crisp and crumbly pastry crust topped with vanilla flavored chantilly cream. Soft as silk and twice as light I can't imagine how they created this etherial texture . . . but I'm going to try.

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