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June 17, 2007


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Hi --

Thanks. I've been very fortunate to have been to most all the ones listed in France. Glad to see they are still making 'best' lists. As for the others, 'so much to do, so little time.'

BTW, people in my orbit have sworn off the French (money) Laundry. Way overpriced, under value. Back in the day, Keller said TFL would be his only deal. He did break new ground, but now he is just another Las Vegas sell-out.

There are some signs 'TK' may be getting his groove back. See Ad Hoc in Yountville.

Keller's 'temporary' Ad Hoc

Thomas Keller's eagerly awaited temporary restaurant, Ad Hoc, opened on Saturday in Yountville in the old Wine Garden spot.

The cuisine: Home-style American, Keller style: one four-course daily changing menu for $45. Family-style earthenware platters come with perfect amounts to share. The first night boasted an heirloom tomato salad fresh from the French Laundry garden and made-that-morning mozzarella; tri-tip smothered with a mix of olive oil-poached mushrooms served with corn on the cob and roasted piquillo peppers; a cheese course with Humboldt Fog, jewel-ripe figs and Marshall Farms honey; shortcakes with a bowl of stem-on strawberries and whipped vanilla bean cream.

The team: Thomas Keller, who also owns nearby French Laundry, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery. He and Bouchon chef Jeffrey Cerciello will oversee the kitchen, putting out soulful renditions of favorite childhood classics, such as beef stroganoff, fried chicken and pot roast.

The vibe: Minimalist space with brushed chrome tables, white walls and wood accents. Servers wear jeans, Chuck Taylor's and gray "gas station" utility shirts emblazoned with Ad Hoc. Get there quick; this joint's jumping for just six months.

Ad Hoc Restaurant, 6476 Washington St., Yountville; (707) 944-2487. Dinner Thursday-Saturday, early Sunday supper. Beer and wine. Reservations for parties of 10 and more. Credit cards accepted. Prix fixe, $45. -- Amanda Berne


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