Thomas Keller’s Ad Lib Pop Up Restaurant
Why Ad Lib and what’s the story: The moment I heard that Thomas Keller, one of the best known Chef’s in the Culinary world was opening a “Pop Up” restaurant while the infamous French Laundry underwent construction I was beyond excited. I immediately called The Ad Lib Pop Up hoping to snag a reservation. However, I was too late. I was told they had booked up completely but I could be added to the wait list. So, you can imagine my delight the day I received a call saying a spot had become available off the wait list. Would I be able to join for dinner? Yes, yes, yes!!
My sister Jeannine was in town visiting the day of the reservation and we were planning to head to Sonoma’s Wine Country. So, dinner at The Ad Lib Pop Up Restaurant after wine tasting at Scribe Winery & a Wine Club pick up party at Rams Gate could not have been more perfect!
Upon arriving to the Silverado Resort & Spa where the Ad Lib Pop Up Restaurant is located we were warmly greeted and seated in the dining room. The dining room has spectacular views of the gorgeous golf course (picture below).
What do I recommend ordering: We were promptly greeted by our server Robert. With some help from Robert we landed on sharing a Chop Salad to start, Chicken Schnitzel as our entrée (he assured us it was more than enough food for two people to share) and a variety of sides that all sounded amazing. After hearing Robert’s recommendations on the sides we landed on the Mac and Cheese, Roasted Peanut Potatoes (a daily special), and Braised Garden Greens (the vivid color vegetables shown photographed below). We both saved room for dessert. How can you not at a Thomas Keller Restaurant and during a fabulous girls weekend where there were no limits! I had the Meyer Lemon Chiffon Pie and Jeannine had the New York Style Cheese Cake. As you would expect, everything was fabulous. As we were told, the Schnitzel was a large enough portion for two (great to know so you don’t over order). The sides were reasonable portions to split for two or three people. I highly recommend ordering a bunch of sides as they’re all so unique and delicious you’ll be very happy. The Mac and Cheese was extremely light with a subtle lemon taste to it. The potatoes were also divine and the Braised Garden Greens were perfection.
How was the overall experience: On top of the food being delicious the service was spectacular. Robert and his colleague Joe were exceptional. One of the easiest ways for me to access a restaurant’s service is by my water-glass. As someone who drinks a ton of water I typically run out before a server notices or has the chance to refill me. Not at Ad Lib. Joe was on it and my water didn’t get below halfway before he would graciously come by refilling it. I pointed this out to him thanking him for the attentiveness and he replied “I refuse to let it get past half way”! Wow, it’s service like this that is so enjoyable to receive. It was not only the little things like the water but every server we interacted with was genuinely pleasant, knowledgeable and engaged making you feel like they really cared about your experience.
My sister Jeannine thoroughly enjoying our girls night out!
The Chopped Salad
The Chicken Schnitzel entrée
The Mac and Cheese easily my favorite dish
After enjoying the fabulous meal I swung by the open hot kitchen (it’s only a few feet from the dining room) to thank the team for their amazing work and say hi! Part of the fun for me dining is getting to know who’s preparing my meal and sharing with them my enjoyment and love for food. The Chefs were extremely friendly, approachable and gracious. You would think in a stressful Thomas Keller kitchen environment there wouldn’t be time to say hello but they were very calm, organized and willing to chat for a few seconds in between dishes. It’s experiences like this plus fabulous food and impeccable service that make me want to return to Ad Lib. I am still waiting for the perfect occasion to visit French Laundry, another Thomas Keller Restaurant still on my bucket list. Thank you Mr. Keller, Chefs, Robert, Joe and team for the amazing perfect experience visiting Ad Lib. Silverado Resort & Spa. 1600 Atlas Peak Rd, Napa, CA 94558.
The awesome team in the “hot kitchen”. Chefs David Hodson, John Green and Max Robbins
One of my favorite views of any restaurant. Especially when you see how tiny this kitchen is and how productive the amazing team is in creating all the hot dishes for a restaurant of approximately 50 seats