I have found the best fried chicken. It’s in Yountville in Napa Valley fifty miles north of the Golden Gate. It’s served every other Monday night in Thomas Keller’s amazing Ad Hoc. The fried chicken is by far the best I have had. The skin is crispy, the meat is moist, the chicken is perfectly fried with an incredible aromatic flavor, which I was told comes from lemons, the key ingredient used in the chicken brine. They brine their chicken overnight before they are coated in buttermilk and spices and then deep fried.
Ad Hoc offers a topnotch 4 course family style menu that changes everyday using the freshest, local and seasonal ingredients. The wine list is accessible and outstanding. The staff is accommodating and friendly. The dining room is casual yet elegant: hardwood floors with tables lined with a metallic top that beautifully reflects the light toward the ceiling. Our dining experience truly reminded us of the warmth of dining at home.
Our fried chicken night started with a salad of baby mixed greens: living watercress, shaved brussels sprouts, red radish, nantes carrots, polenta croutons and sweet fennel vinaigrette. The greens with a light drizzle of the sweet fennel vinaigrette was refreshing but the real star of this dish is the polenta croutons, which is simply fried polenta, a delightful discovery.
The chicken was served family-style with roasted cauliflower and carolina gold rice, hot smoked pork and cranberry beans. The roasted cauliflowers came with capers, golden raisins, and pine nuts. The dish was so simple yet so delicious. And the rice, pork and beans dish was amazing as well.
The cheese course was Pedrozo Dairy Northern Gold with sweet butternut quickbread. And a trio of cupcakes, devil’s food, lemon curd, red velvet nicely capped off the evening.
Ad Hoc is an hour and a half away from the city but saying that it’s well worth the drive is seriously an understatement. I highly recommend the place to both locals and visitors alike. Fried chicken night is every other Monday night. You can check out Ad Hoc’s daily menu at their site to find out what’s for dinner.