ad hoc

6476 Washington Street

Yountville, CA 94599

(707) 944-2487


Escarole salad; di Stefano burrata, Marcona almonds, Delta asparagus, red radish, bacon lardon, lemon vinaigrette

Double R Ranch New York strip loin; peas & carrots, creamy polenta

Crispy onion rings; ad hoc A4 sauce

Andante Dairy’s Bel Canto cheese; semolina crackers, rhubarb compote

Huckleberry clafoutis; vanilla anglaise


2011 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvée Theo


1981 Ridge California Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County  


Out of the corner of my eye I spot Chef/Proprietor Thomas Keller having dinner with friends at a nearby table. It’s always a good sign when the chef eats his own cooking.

Ad hoc is one of my favorite places in Napa Valley. The food is always delicious, the service is friendly and the ambience is low key. Each morning a four-course menu is posted on the website (with an optional fifth middle course) and that’s it. Simple.  The basic framework is salad, one savory course (two for diners who add the optional middle course), cheese and dessert, all served family style.  Ad hoc’s wine list is small but well chosen. One of the strong suits is a focus on some of the harder to find, artisan wineries of Napa Valley and Sonoma such as Arbe Garbe, Failla, Liquid Farm and Radio Coteau.


Double R Ranch New York strip loin; peas & carrots, creamy polenta

The escarole salad pretty much disappears off the plate. Ad hoc’s Double R Ranch New York strip loin is classic American comfort food at its best. The flavors are deep and bold, while the meat is cooked perfectly. Seconds are ordered quickly. And the onion rings? Deadly. The huckleberry clafoutis is acceptable, but I’ve had more satisfying desserts at ad hoc.

I have to admit, Riesling is my secret passion. If there is one grape I wish I could spend more time with, Riesling is definitely it. Weinbach’s 2011 Cuvée Theo is a delicious, nuanced white that pairs nicely with the escarole salad. The green pear, lime and jasmine notes are refreshing, especially after a long day of tasting 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from barrel.


Paul Draper’s back label notes for the 1981 Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon

Ridge’s 1981 California Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County shows nicely for such a humble wine. The Napa County can’t match the 1981 Monte Bello or some of Ridge’s best Napa Valley Cabernets, but it is delicious, fully mature and totally resolved today. Although a bit frayed at the edges, with hints of brett creeping through, there is good complexity and plenty of tertiary nuance. The 1981 has certainly aged nicely and probably better than Winemaker Paul Draper imagined it would back in 1983, when the wine went into bottle.

Readers visiting Napa Valley should not miss ad hoc. Reservations are a must though, as the small dining rooms are always packed. Locals speak highly of the buttermilk fried chicken that is served on Mondays, although I have never had it. There’s always next time.

-- Antonio Galloni