Fried Chicken Nights at Ad Hoc Now Every Week

Watercress and radish salad 

When diners time their reservations specifically for when fried chicken makes an appearance on the menu, and when lines snake out the door midweek as late as 9 p.m. in sleepy Yountville just for a taste of it, you know that’s got to be some darn good bird.

Since Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc opened a year and a half ago, the storied fried chicken has been a hands-down favorite. After all, who can resist chicken brined for 10 hours in honey, salt and lemon, then dipped in buttermilk, flour, and cornmeal, before being fried crisp and golden? The fried chicken used to be available only every other Monday night at the casual restaurant, where there is only one set menu each day and everything is served family-style. Now, due to overwhelming demand, Ad Hoc has declared every other Monday and every other Wednesday, of alternating weeks, to be fried chicken nights. If that’s a bit confusing, bear with us: It means fried chicken is on the menu this coming Wednesday night, and then the following week on Monday night, April 21. Then it reappears on the menu again on Wednesday, April 30. Whew, got that?

For fans of the melt-in-your-mouth short ribs (cooked “sous vide” or in a sealed pouch in a temperature controlled water bath, for 48 hours), you’ll still have to take your chances on when those beauties pop up on the menu because it all depends on when the meat is available.

As you can tell, none of these photos are of fried chicken, alas. My hubby, aka Meat Boy, and I missed fried chicken by mere hours. You see, we went to Ad Hoc, 6476 Washington Ave., to try its new Sunday brunch. Like dinner ($48 for four courses), brunch also is one set menu each Sunday (three courses for $38). And fried chicken and sourdough waffles (oh my, oh my!) were supposed to be that Sunday brunch’s main attraction. That is, until the restaurant decided to go with fried chicken only at night. Sigh.

Even so, we had a marvelous brunch. It started out with the lovely salad you see above with watercress, and Easter egg, watermelon, and black and white radishes, all tossed in a light lemon chive vinaigrette with toasted pine nuts. The stellar veggies were picked from the “farm” across the street from the French Laundry. Alongside the dish were lady-like cucumber mint finger-sandwiches.

Steak 'n' Eggs

Next came “steak ‘n’ eggs,” beef sirloin tips alongside Clark Farm’s hen eggs cooked like an omelet and then cut into pappardelle-like ribbons. Alongside was a colorful, flavorful medley of fava beans, roasted red peppers, and super crispy and creamy Yukon Gold potato hash.

The finale was D’Anjou pears poached in white wine and dolloped with vanilla whipped cream; and served with buttery shortbread cookies.

 We enjoyed brunch on one of those really perfect, sunny days in Yountville, where locals and tourists were strolling about. And where a chef or two could be spotted, including a sporty Richard Reddington of Redd, the one-Michelin-star restaurant just up the block. Reddington cruised by on his bicycle, stopping briefly to check his pulse rate just outside of Ad Hoc.

Possibly next year, look for Keller’s Burgers and Half Bottles (as in wine) to open in the same building. The burger joint will share the same kitchen as Ad Hoc, and a wall will be pushed out from the building to accomodate the 19-seat, largely take-out adjunct eatery.

 Meantime, you can enjoy dinner (seven days a week) or Sunday brunch at Ad Hoc by calling (707) 944-2487. You can learn what the next night’s dinner menu is by listening to the recording after 10:30 p.m., and by looking on the restaurant’s Web site.

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  • Hi Food Gal,

    FYI…the actual schedule for the Fried Chicken is every other Monday and every other Wednesday. They’re not doing it twice week. 🙂

  • Mmmmm, I miss good fried chicken. Anyone know where you can get it in the South Bay? (I don’t mean the fine dining version, but gooood fried chicken has been eclipsed by the Colonel.)

    And I had to comment about “Clark Farm’s hen eggs” on the Keller menu. As opposed to, uh, rooster eggs? Sigh, food marketing.

  • Arnold, you are correct that it is once a week, but on different, alternating days. My apologies for the confusion, but it was what our server originally told us. In any event, the post above has been corrected to reflect the true dates that fried chicken lovers can indeed satisfy their craving.

  • Hi Moe:

    I haven’t yet tried it, but my buddy Steve Chae gave a rave review last year in the Mercury News to 99 Chicken, 2781 El Camino Real in Santa Clara. It’s a bare-bones Korean joint that fries the chicken to order, so you’re sometimes in for a bit of a wait. But he swears it’s worth it. You can order the chicken unadorned or with spicy sauce. The chicken comes with iceberg salad, and Korean pickled white radish. Five pieces of chicken will set you back $6.99.

  • I suppose it helps to be a sucker for fried chicken as I am, but 99 Chicken is definitely worth a visit.

    The sauced chicken is worth trying, but the plain is a must. Very light, crunchy coating. No post-KFC gutache/regret. Plus, it’s an interesting place and the hosts can be really charming if they’re not overwhelmed.

    No mashed and gravy, but the lemon soju is nice.

  • Next week my foodie friend (well, one of them) and I will be at 99! Will let you know. Thanks, gang.

  • I have been 99 Chickened!! Stephen Chae, I bow at your feet!

    Sitting under Mr. Chae’s reviews, prominently and repeatedly posted, my fellow foodie, Butch, and I feasted on their combo. My comments are redundant, since they match Stephen’s review. Crispy and light coating over steaming hot, tender moist chicken, devoid of excess grease.

    Surprising bonus is the free salad bar which was very fresh with mixed greens, corn, bright green broccoli, slaw, and this terrific lightly-pickled diakon.

    I will be back!!

  • This weekend, my hubby, Meat Boy, and I tried the fried chicken at Hard Knox Cafe in San Francisco. Super crisp, nicely seasoned, with white meat that’s really moist, this chicken is superb. Even better, you get your choice of two sides AND two warm, sweet and wonderful corn muffins. Take a look at

  • I have finally been 99 Chickened, too! Steve Chae, my friend, you are a god for finding this place. Went with my two gal pals, Joanne and Lisa, for lunch today. The regular fried was crisp as can be; and the spicy sauce version had a real kick and was finger-licking fabu-licious. Yes, it’s messy, but it’s sooooooo worth it.

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