• CHRISTMAS EVE FOOD REVIEW: Ad Hoc Fried Chicken at Bouchon, Beverly Hills

    By James Sved on December 24, 2014

    Christmas tree at Bouchon Bistro, Beverly Hills

    Christmas tree at Bouchon Bistro, Beverly Hills

    BEVERLY HILLS (Herald de Paris) —  There are few rewards better than a great meal.  The only possible exception might be a great meal of comfort food – food that both delights your palette and warms your insides.  We were invited for such a meal, at Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, Beverly Hills.  The dinner?  Chef Keller’s famous Ad Hoc Fried Chicken, and a recipe lifted directly from the innovative chef’s Ad Hoc Restaurant, in Yountville, California.  The methodology at Ad Hoc is simple – the menu is determined by the freshest food available that day, locally sourced and farm-to-table fresh.  The formula has been so successful that Chef Keller, who intended for the Ad Hoc project to be temporary, had to make it permanent.

    And with that success, Chef Keller, a French-trained American epicurean, decided to bring his Ad Hoc American comfort food to his very French Bouchon Bistro, in Beverly Hills.

    348sHow does one prepare for an American comfort food dinner at a famous French bistro?  By also going to the Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills for lunch, as well.  Over a two hour business lunch I had more traditional French fare, Onion Soup and an exquisite Salade Niçoise – I wanted to save my appetite for the dinner, but truth be told, my lunch was pretty fantastic in its own right.  Returning several hours later for part deux of my all-day Bouchon experience, I was not disappointed.

    I have been to Bouchon on quieter days in the past.  On this day, there was a bustling lunch crowd, which was only surpassed by a full house for dinner, as well.  Bouchon staff told us that the restaurant is usually filled when Ad Hoc Fried Chicken is on the specials board, and this was certainly the case.

    Even in anticipation of American comfort food, we started our dinner with Burgundy Truffle Gnudi.  It’s truffle season, and it would have been a crime not to sample the Burgundy truffles.  Bouchon paired the subterranean delicacy from the Burgundy region with Gnudi, a Gniocci made predominantly from Ricotta.  It was exquisite.  We followed that with a proprietary selection of Castelbetrano, Niçoise, and Luque olives with olive oil, thyme, and lemon zest.

    bouchon-fried-chickenThe Ad Hoc Fried Chicken arrived in a large, silver dish, accompanied by creamed spinach, roasted squash, and corn bread.  I lived for many years in the American South, and have had my fair share of southern fried chicken, and Chef Keller’s is the best I’ve ever had.  Brined to perfection, the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken is battered in pure buttermilk, and fried to a deep golden brown.  In the American South, fried chicken is oft paired with collard greens, but true to the Ad Hoc principle of fresh and available local fare, the creamed spinach was a more than adequate replacement.  In fact, I usually don’t like creamed spinach, but I loved Keller’s.  The cornbread was authentic, not too sweet but just sweet enough, and the roasted squash was pure bliss.

    There was no room for dessert, but the staff at Bouchon, Beverly Hills made sure we didn’t miss a thing, sending us home with a selection of macarons and brownies.

    A full day’s worth of meals at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills is highly recommended.  If you can pair your all-day event with an evening when Chef Keller is serving his Ad Hoc Fried Chicken, all the better.

    Joyeux Noël.



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