Thomas Keller Launches Ad Lib, a ‘Temporary Restaurant’ Specializing in American Classics

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Fruitwood-smoked kielbasa with beer mustard served on top of sauerkraut.
Fruitwood-smoked kielbasa with beer mustard served on top of sauerkraut. Photo: Meg Smith

When it was announced that Thomas Keller had adopted Nick Kokonas’s ambitious Tock system last month, it seemed as if the chef didn’t necessarily adhere to the idea that the forward-thinking ticketing platform was something entirely new in the restaurant industry. “It’s a reservations system,” he told Inside Scoop matter-of-factly. A similarly polite Keller-esque rejection of trend comes with the materials released with Ad Lib, the French Laundry’s pop-up at Silverado Resort and Spa, which opens January 21. Ad Lib is a “temporary restaurant concept,” its website states, serving “a classic American menu of traditional recipes prepared with the same quality ingredients and execution our guests have come to expect.” It’s scheduled to stay open at least until the spring, when the under-renovation French Laundry is expected to open a makeshift fine-dining kitchen inside repurposed shipping containers. Just don’t call it a pop-up.

The restaurant serves dinner only from Thursdays to Mondays and has a full bar and wine selection, with select old-world bottles from the recently purloined French Laundry cellar. The L.A. Times reports menu items cost between $30 and $60, and dishes include short-rib “Wellington,” fruitwood-smoked kielbasa with beer mustard, a Black Angus chop, and root-vegetable potpie. There’s even a private dining room that seats 14.

Ad Hoc, Keller’s previous temporary restaurant concept, ended up as a full-fledged brick-and-mortar location, but the chef hints that his latest project in Napa won’t end up as a permanent addition to his restaurant group. “We’ll be in our new digs, 100% complete sometime in September, or maybe October or November,” he tells the paper.

[LAT]

Thomas Keller Launches Ad Lib, a ‘Temporary Restaurant’ Specializing